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Flinders Uni Pushes Educational Innovation with Sennheiser

Flinders University’s new eight-floor City Campus in Adelaide CBD relies heavily on Sennheiser technology to enable its flexible and collaborative learning pedagogy.

For university AV architects, the challenge extends beyond simply keeping up with new technologies; it requires a commitment to adapting and integrating these innovations into evolving pedagogical shifts. At the heart of this evolution is Flinders University’s new eight-floor City Campus in Adelaide CBD, which exemplifies the use of Sennheiser technology, including the TeamConnect Ceiling 2 ceiling microphone and SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphone, to foster a flexible and collaborative learning environment. This proactive approach ensures that the university not only meets but consistently exceeds the ever-changing expectations of today’s learners, establishing a new benchmark in educational excellence.

Before the design and fit-out, the Flinders University AV team embraced platforms that perfectly complemented modern teaching methodologies. Traditional lecture theatres have been transformed into vibrant, flat-floor, flexible spaces, promoting dynamic and interactive learning environments. Each room is thoughtfully equipped to support both physical and digital connectivity, featuring user-friendly stations for lecturers to easily connect laptops via HDMI for BYOD and USB/HDMI for the Room PC, thereby enriching conferencing capabilities and enhancing the overall educational experience.

Flinders University’s Senior IDS Technical Lead, Leigh Hoppenbrouwers: “All our rooms are designed to be collaborative and flexible, and we have one code base. Speciality rooms, such as the moot court or the boardroom, share the same code, only with aspects added or subtracted. The moot court, for example, has 12 extra channels of wireless and extra displays to simulate a courtroom experience. It means that teaching can happen in any location, and the lecturer will be confident of their ability to work within those spaces.”

In its lecture spaces, Flinders University installed a combination of TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphones and SpeechLine Digital Wireless (SL DW) handheld and lapel microphones.

Daniel Rowe, Business Development Manager at Sennheiser emphasised the company’s long-standing expertise in audio technology. “Sennheiser’s been at the forefront of transducer manufacture for approaching 80 years now, so we have a vast amount of experience capturing and reproducing the human voice, whether that be in the recording studio right through to a boardroom or lectern.”

Leigh Hoppenbrouwers, together with Oliver Taylor, Service Delivery Manager from Diversified—the firm that secured the tender for installation and system integration—explained the careful planning behind the audio setup. They detailed how the chosen technology supports Flinders University’s innovative pedagogical approach, enabling seamless audio coverage throughout their spaces.

“We’re using Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphones as uplift for our lecture capture and for the far-end participants on our web conferencing. Previously we had a little gooseneck microphone poking out the ceiling, or we were reliant on the lapel mic or handing around a handheld. The TCC 2 units mean our lecturers can walk the room and retain crystal clear audio on the web conference or lecture capture,” Hoppenbrouwers added.

“The experience for those on the far end is also great. The feedback we’re getting is tremendous. The other day we held a Teams session with a single TCC 2 in the space and no microphones and the participants on the far end thought it sounded clearer than sitting in the room. And that’s a room with glass walls and a whiteboard at the front.” This positive feedback on the clarity delivered by Sennheiser’s innovative solutions emphasizes their significant contribution to enhancing the educational experience and teaching quality at Flinders University.

In addition to the education spaces, a 25-person boardroom at Flinders University is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to facilitate executive meetings and high-level collaborations. The boardroom features a Crestron Automate VX auto-tracking system. At the front end is a 98-inch NEC C series display then an 86-inch NEC C series display either side of the table, with a pair of One Beyond PTZ cameras.

Olie Taylor explains the audio setup: “We have three Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphones over the space. From a microphone pickup perspective, we could easily have managed with two, or perhaps even one TCC 2, but Crestron recommended three to ensure we achieved the best resolution for the positional tracking provided by the mic arrays.”

“Running hundreds of channels of DECT can create its own problems so we’ve set power levels of our SL DW transmitters to the bare minimum. That way we get great pickup within the room but no chance of cross-floor or inter-room contamination. The SL DW receivers are mounted in the ceiling and make for a well-resolved look,” Taylor added.

The integration of Sennheiser’s Control Cockpit software plays a crucial role in efficiently managing complex audio systems. Paul Raphael, Sales Manager at Sennheiser, elaborates on the importance of this tool: “Control Cockpit is the configuration and monitoring layer that sits alongside SL DW and TCC2. This was a fairly big rollout and for the team to be able to deploy, manage and monitor everything from a central location was key.”

“TCC 2 was amazingly simple to install. And configuration is easy. After we installed all of the TCC 2s and performed the initial setup, we jumped onto Cockpit, selected them all, and put in our global settings (the gain and EQ settings have all largely been identical), and one click later it was all done,” reflects Taylor on the installation process.

Daniel Rowe further elaborated on the company’s design philosophy, “We try to ensure our systems are as intuitive to use and deploy as possible. While there’s a lot going on under the hood and we can really maximise on monitoring and managing vast deployments of technology in very demanding scenarios such as universities, for faculty or for students we want to make sure that interface is seamless and, in many instances, touch-less too.”

Paul Raphael commented on the overall success of the installation and the ongoing commitment to their customers “To see it all come together is a really great feeling. It’s nice to hear the feedback that our solutions were so seamless and simple to deploy. Now that the project is complete it doesn’t mean our journey is over. At the top of the list of our Culture Principles is our customers – everything starts and ends with them. The trust of our customers is the most important thing. They can pick up the phone and give us a call any time of day if they need support, design assistance or if they need a deeper understanding about the products.”

Visit https://www.sennheiser.com/en-au

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