Multimedia Tools Make the Chalkboard a Thing of the Past

With thehelp of more than 100 LCD projectors from Sharp Electronics Corp., Wake ForestUniversity is building on its reputation as one of the most wired liberal artsuniversities in the country. Wake Forest University has more than 140multimedia classrooms equipped with computers, VCRs, DVD players, videodocument cameras and Sharp LCD projectors, including over 70 Sharp XG-E3500s.Integrated LCD color touch systems power 80% of the classrooms, allowing eachinstructor to control the entire room from his or her desk.


Initially, only about 40 classrooms approachedclassification as “multimedia.” Len Waldron, WFU business and developmentmultimedia manager, has carried out the university’s commitment to integratestate-of-the-art technology into Wake Forest classrooms. “Some classroomsoriginally had monitors, some had projectors. But the projectors were dim andcouldn’t keep up with the scan rates of computers,” says Waldron. “The linchpinof each of these new classroom multimedia systems is the Sharp LCD projector.”


High Tech Shoot-Out

Moving on his plan to update the university’s equipment,Waldron conducted what he calls “a shoot-out” among the leading brands,including Mitsubishi, Sanyo, InFocus, Epson and Sharp. “They all came and didtheir presentations,” Waldron reports. “It came down to a choice between Sharpand one other brand. We chose Sharp not only because their product wasexcellent, but because we felt their service record was better. They also gaveus a very good price.” According to Waldron, Sharp projectors are an integralpart of Wake Forest’s effort to create a totally wired university. Since 1996,every entering freshman is provided with a laptop computer. Today, all of theuniversity’s 3,800 undergraduates are equipped with up-to-date laptops that canbe used in conjunction with Sharp projectors.


“The Sharp XG-E3500 projectors are wonderful,” enthuses WakeForest Business Professor Gordon McCray. “They’re so bright that I don’t haveto turn down the room lighting. This is a great advantage for me, because onceI dim the lights, the students’ attention spans go down.” McCray and otherprofessors in departments as diverse as English, physics and political scienceuse multimedia tools as part of every lecture. “I never pick up a piece ofchalk,” Dr. Robert Swofford, Wake Forest professor of chemistry reveals. “I canproject CD-ROMs and PowerPoint presentations from my computer to help studentsvisualize molecules. With the camera trained on my demonstration desk, I canliterally mix chemicals, and the SharpXG-E3500 projector d'es the rest. Students in the rear of the room canobserve the reaction as if they’re standing right next to me. The best thing isthat I can always face my students.”


Wake Forest’s commitment to wired classrooms is ongoing. Ina new 88,000-square-foot building, 32 classrooms are fully equipped with thevery latest multimedia technology, including Sharp XG-3500 projectors. “Eveneight- to 10-seat seminar rooms are now being equipped with Sharp projectors,”Waldron adds.


Sharp Electronics Corp.
Mahway, NJ
(201) 529-8200

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.