Synchronous Immersive Lecture Halls
Rutgers University | New Brunswick, New Jersey
Rutgers’ most recent Master Plan (‘Rutgers 2030’) acknowledged that reducing travel time for students would be critical to achieving an improved student experience. Strategies included the provision of distance learning classrooms and the use of pedagogical technologies, which inspired the university’s synchronous immersive classroom prototype.
The goal of this deceptively complex project was for VMA to consider how technology and interior design could be used to create two interlinked, fully-immersive classrooms, one on the Busch Campus and the other on the Cook/Douglas Campus. Each classroom would hold approximately 150 seats and provide students with a similar academic experience as possible, negating the need for those students to travel between campuses for class.
VMA achieved the effect of the immersive synchronous classroom by projecting, or “throwing,” a visual of the presenter and instruction content at life-size to an audience located in a remote classroom. This audience in the “catch” lecture hall is in turn displayed on screens in the “throw” classroom. By way of cameras, large format screens, and effective audio systems, technology gives the presenter the ability to experience the distant audience and to engage, acknowledge, and call upon remote students in real time, creating a truly integrated classroom experience. This required close and careful coordination between VMA, the university’s internal IT department, and specialty consultants.
This project led to several more similarly paired classrooms for the business school, school of medicine and school of nursing. VMA also completed a feasibility study to demonstrate the ideal configuration of these rooms in a prototype.
Size: 3,450 sf
Budget: $3.5 million
Architecture, Interior Design