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About Curtin University Singapore
Curtin University is one of the world’s top institutions for tertiary education. In 2016, it was ranked in the top two percent worldwide by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Established in 1987 as Curtin University of Technology, it was then Western Australia’s third university and Australia’s first university of technology. Today, the University has around 50,000 students spanning 12 locations including Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius. With a rich diversity of cultures among its students and staff, and a commitment to international engagement, Curtin University offers its students a fresh, global perspective.
Delivering its programmes in Singapore since 1986, Curtin University reinforced its presence in the city state with the inauguration of its own campus in 2008. The S$20 million campus is located in the heart of Singapore city and has 10 lecture theatres, 36 classrooms, student discussion rooms, four computer labs and recreational facilities.
Curtin strives to research and educate in ways that address international issues and challenges. Towards this end, the University aspires to leverage the diversity of cultures among its student populations across the campuses, so as to create a unique opportunity for enhanced learning through cross-cultural connections, interactions and collaborations.
Professor Robert Evans, Pro-Vice Chancellor and President of Curtin Singapore explained, “Today’s workforce is changing. It is becoming more globalised and success is measured on the ability to engage across boundaries. So we want to create a “One Classroom” where our students in Singapore and Australia and the lecturer can engage seamlessly in group discussions during the lesson, despite being geo-located separately. With cross-border and cross-cultural interactions and collaboration, our learning is richly enhanced.”
The only obstacle in creating this global classroom is physical.
How to link groups of students from the various campuses seamlessly and simultaneously within a classroom environment without incurring too much cost and time on commuting?
Technology is the enabler of this ambition with two-way video conferencing as the chosen solution.
But Professor Evans reiterated that the solution is not so simple. There are three prerequisites which the solution has to fulfil: clarity of sound and voice for discussion and lesson listening, quality of visual display for the presentations and reliability for a seamless experience.
With those in mind, Curtin tested and used several solutions but found that most were either too complex with too many steps needed to get the video conferencing started or that the quality was inconsistent.
After much research, Curtin finally selected a system based on the Cisco SX80 Video Conferencing Solution. Logicalis was appointed to manage the project, including the implementation of the solution to put in a complete facility.
On the appointment of Logicalis, Professor Evans said, “We have chosen to work with Logicalis because the team has a good understanding of our needs and has a reputation for quality and service. The company gave us an integrated solution that provides a good user sound and image experience, yet is easy to use and operate.”
Logicalis worked closely with Curtin and various suppliers to install a “One Classroom” using hardware which includes the Cisco SX80 Codec, Speaker Track 60, Touch 10 and 2960 switch.
Managing the project, Logicalis was tasked to ‘Discover, Design, Develop and Deploy”.
In the discovery phase, the team did a site survey for environmental requirements, reviewed solutions for business and functionality and mapped out an implementation plan. Thereafter, Logicalis worked with the various suppliers on the final solution design before moving on to the development phase where it had to ensure that on-site implementation was carried out without incident and in a timely manner. And, lastly, Logicalis had to ensure proper deployment and knowledge transfer.
Since the full installation and commission of the two-way video conferencing solution, Curtin Singapore has tested the system with its Australian campus. The results were excellent, as evidenced from the feedback by the staff and students involved in the user acceptance tests. Discussions were conducted seamlessly and the applied technology successfully enabled the sharing of knowledge between the two campuses.
Professor Evans reaffirmed that the University has been satisfied with the video conferencing solution and impressed by the expertise and professionalism demonstrated by the Logicalis team on this project. He was excited that the students will be able to leverage the solution for a much enriched learning experience. Looking forward, he is confident of the success of the solution and that Curtin will possibly equip another one or two classrooms with similar two-way video conferencing capabilities.