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Rockwell Hall's new wing equipped for global communication

June 28, 2010

Besides 36 miles of cable, the storage capacity of 12 terabytes of data on a Hewlett-Packard storage area network, 30 HP blades hosting 70 virtual servers, and an additional 10 physical recording servers in the new expansion of Rockwell Hall, there's something that might surprise you...

Intricate electronic nervous system

A high-powered Mondo III network switcher lives in the Rockwell Hall-West basement.

There’s a giant switcher named Mondo living in the operations room of the basement.

It is a major part of the intricate electronic nervous system that enables classrooms, conference rooms, and common areas to serve the learning and technology needs of the next generation of College of Business students.

Mondo, a CAT5 matrix switcher made by Magenta Research, is unique and right on the front edge for educational institutions, according to the College’s director of technology Jon Schroth. When the College was looking for a vendor to meet its needs in this area, nobody could provide an educational institution as a reference account. So, we turned to casino, military, and investment trading floor technology and are using it on that scale,” he says.

Maximize effectiveness and reach

“As a connectivity solutions provider, we feel very pleased to be a small part of what keeps Colorado State at the forefront of higher education,” explains Bob Michaels, president of Magenta Research.

“Colorado State has an enviable history of implementing technology to maximize its effectiveness and reach. For example, the organization initiated a true global distance learning program decades ago. During our initial meetings, we were really impressed by the vision, focus, forethought and planning effort that had already gone into the project concept. The Mondo Matrix switch and MultiView signal management platform are a terrific fit for the University, and we look forward to discovering the various ways in which the technology enhances the learning experience for both students and faculty,” he says.

The switcher has 80 x 48 inputs and outputs and makes it possible for staff in the operations room to take any content and display it on one or all of the 67 displays in the building. Very few facilities have taken this centralized approach to serving technology needs of the whole building, an approach that mitigates the duplication and extra staff time required when each room’s technology is decentralized.

Instructors enjoy flexibility, simplicity to serve students

Marketing Professor Kelly Martin teaches in a new classroom in Rockwell Hall - West.

“A lot of effort went into offering a great deal of flexibility and simplicity for the instructors. All the complexity has been pulled into the operations room,” says Schroth. Faculty can request help at any time, and either the needed support will be handled from the operations room or a runner will come help if needed.

Eleven areas including classrooms, the auditorium, and the Global Leadership Council conference room are monitored with 44 displays from the operations room, and staff can multitask by working on video editing, post production work, or burning the 300 to 500 DVDs of instructional content that are created each night to send to distance students, especially last-mile students in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

HP partnership continues

Hewlett-Packard and the College of Business have developed a strong partnership over the years. Not only does HP have a history of hiring more graduates from CSU than from any other university, but currently, more than 125 College of Business graduates are employed there. Additionally, the College of Business has exclusively purchased HP hardware for all its computer needs for the last five years.

HP has recently provided funding for installing all HP products including hardware, peripherals, and digital signage in the labs and offices at the College of Business.

Building highlights

Classrooms, conference rooms, and the auditorium

Rockwell Hall - West, a 54,600-square-foot expansion, was dedicated on April 30, 2010.

  • Dual screens and projectors for PowerPoints and electronic whiteboarding
  • HP multi-touch monitors that can zoom, advance slides, and project writing
  • Wireless HP tablets for faculty
  • Custom-built, fifth-generation, ADA-compliant podiums that can be raised or lowered
  • Three to four camera mounts per room with high definition and standard definition cameras
  • Acoustically tailored sound-reinforced paneling with ceiling microphones
  • Network connectivity and plugs for laptops at each desk
  • A cart of laptops that can turn any room into a teaching lab
  • Room-setting controls that include:
    1. lighting
    2. shade control
    3. projection control
    4. A/V selection of PC left/right screens, laptop, and volume; eventually, preset controls will respond to a card swipe outside the classroom so when a faculty member walks in the room, his or her preferred lighting, shade settings, and volume controls will reset.
Trading lab and teaching space

Finance and Real Estate Professor Robert Schwebach works with students Blair Brownlee and Joseph Garcia on the Bloomberg System Database in the new Gary B. Halley Financial Data Lab and Classroom in Rockwell Hall - West.

  • Full-color stock ticker with information display
  • Three Bloomberg terminals
  • Financial software for tracking real-time news, data, and analysis such as MACDs (Moving Average Convergence/ Divergence)
  • Room for three teams to run simulations and perform research
  • Glass between the trading lab and teaching space so students can simulate the trading floor experience with hand signals to buy or sell
  • 30 HP Touchsmart displays
  • Raised floor that creates flexibility for moving technology around
  • Three projectors and screens with back wall mirroring capabilities
Additional building technology
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Team breakout rooms
  • Digital signage outside each classroom to show schedules and targeted messages
  • Stairs in the front entry that double as a stage for guest speakers, with cameras that service the upper and lower floors
  • Kiosks in the lounge and commons for incidental computing, like an Internet café
  • Videoconferencing
  • Laptop checkout station near the coffee shop on the first floor
  • Recording studio

Originally published in the College of Business alumni magazine, The Difference, Spring 2010.