The Wharton School’s new facility is the most media-oriented and leading-edge classroom facility of its kind in the United States. The project involved a variety of lecture halls, classrooms, and collaborative work rooms ranging in size from 60 to 125 seats. Each classroom features tiered seating in a "U" configuration to facilitate interaction among students, and state-of-the-art high-resolution multi-screen display of video, data, and graphic images.
An advanced, graphical user interface unifies control of audiovisual facilities in each room, communication with central services, and certain frequently used instructional applications, on a single desktop device. This will allow instructors to operate technology directly in those classrooms that are straightforward enough for easy manipulation. Other, more elaborate classrooms include a technographer's station to oversee the more complex functions such as conducting multi-point distance learning lectures. This type of room has the added advantage that teachers who are not familiar with advanced display or distance learning presentation techniques can concentrate on the subject matter rather than on which buttons to push.
Wharton is also at the leading edge of distance learning by outfitting each classroom with video origination capabilities for both videotaping of lectures and use in interactive distance learning. All video signals will be digitized for distribution via a networked multimedia system. This utility will allow any classroom, and certain other specialty spaces, to transmit or store video on central servers. Transmitted or stored video may be accessed in full resolution anywhere on the local area network, or at lower resolutions through the Internet and Wharton's modem banks.