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The Digital Classroom: Put Learning on Display with Wacom

Case Study: Syracuse University

Syracuse University at a Glance



Usage Scenario

Integrate interactive displays into teaching

stations in lecture halls for increased student

engagement and comprehension.


Modernize Syracuse University’s lecture-annotation

capabilities for improved information accessibility

and ease-of-use.


22- and 24-inch Wacom interactive pen displays

with digital pens, directly embedded into teaching

stations across classrooms and integrated with

PCs running the Microsoft Office Suite and additional

annotation and note-taking software.


• Improved annotation experience for lecturers

• Enhanced learning experience for students

• Low-maintenance solution for Syracuse

University Information Technology Services

• Easy installation

Overcome Procedural Inefficiencies:

Implement Modern Technology

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private research university

comprising thirteen schools and colleges. With majors ranging

from engineering to fine arts, Syracuse accommodates over 20,000

students and approximately 5,000 staff members.

Before Wacom, most Syracuse University faculty annotated

lesson documents on a piece of paper underneath a document

camera or used traditional chalkboards or whiteboards. While

effective to an extent, these methods made it harder to share the

course materials with students after the lecture. The University

sought to upgrade lecture-capture capabilities to improve both

the teaching experience for faculty and the learning experience

for students. The new solution would give instructors better

tools to make their presentations more clear and accessible

to students in classrooms.

Implemented technology needed to allow HDCP-compliant recording

and streaming in order to connect to projectors in large lecture halls.

The devices had to be compact yet powerful enough to display clearly

throughout all areas of a large lecture hall. Additionally, the devices

needed to be compatible with the various software solutions

the University uses.


Integrated Displays:

Maximum productivity

Mike O’Mara, Director of Learning Environments and Media Production

for Information Technology Services at Syracuse University,

started the process by installing Wacom’s 22-inch interactive pen

displays into a selection of their classrooms over seven years

ago. After achieving successful results, O’Mara and his team introduced

Wacom’s newest 24-inch displays into more teaching stations

across campus. So far, his team has implemented Wacom devices

in 126 of Syracuse University’s 165 Registrar scheduled classrooms

(75%) with device installations pending for the remaining rooms. At Syracuse University, Wacom’s display devices can be used in a variety of ways, depending on what the instructor needs. The device can simply display computer content or act as a secondary screen for the instructor’s laptop. If the device is installed into a room with a PC, it also can be used with the integrated annotation and note-taking software to work over the University’s standard programs such as PowerPoint or OneNote.

With Wacom, Syracuse University is moving toward its goal to have its classrooms be entirely digital. The digital pen and its proprietary electromagnetic resonance (EMR) technology simulate the actual feel of a pen-and-paper experience. Overall, the digital pen display has proven easy to use, and both the faculty and students benefit from its range of functionality.


Simple Installation:

Exceptional Results

In 2012, Syracuse University started migrating toward a completely

digital classroom experience. Accessibility is essential to Syracuse

University, and digitizing the lecture-capture process helps ensure all

students receive the information they need to succeed in their

classes. Especially in larger lecture halls, relying solely on a whiteboard

prohibits students in the back from clearly seeing the teacher’s

annotations. For physical accessibility, the displays needed to be integrated into the height-adjustable teaching station and set into an articulating arm, so it can be adjusted to whatever position its current user requires. When asked why they chose Wacom, O’Mara explains, “We went for Wacom based on experience... We knew they integrated well, so we didn’t look at a lot of other competitors.” Syracuse University faculty preferred to use a stylus, so Wacom’s digital pen proved a competitive advantage. With Wacom’s interactive pen display, Syracuse University will achieve its goal of being 100% digital in all its classrooms by the summer of 2020.


Modernize Classrooms:

Improve Learning Experience

Integrating Wacom’s interactive pen displays into classrooms allows lecturers to display and easily annotate lesson materials during their lectures, as well as standardize instructor tools across classrooms.

O’Mara commented, “We’ve gotten feedback from several faculty members that this is their preferred device or how they like to do their annotation.” Wacom devices were easy to implement and offered a variety of connectivity options and supported software. The digital format enabled faculty to quickly share up-to-date information with students. Wacom interactive displays are embedded directly into the teaching stations and mounted on flexible VESA mounts, which make the devices easy-to-use and maneuver. The reliability and operability of Wacom devices enabled faculty to spend more time focusing on students and less time waiting on IT support. In addition to helping the faculty teach efficiently and effectively, students also benefit from an enhanced learning experience with Wacom devices.

Lecture halls can hold as many as 500 students, and presentations need to be visible from all parts of the room. “Wacom devices have been great for our large lecture halls, where writing on a chalkboard meant the students in the back couldn’t see,” O’Mara explained. “Using an annotated tablet that’s projected throughout the whole room ensures all students can read the information clearly.” Wacom displays function perfectly in larger classroom settings, making information more visible regardless of class size or seating arrangements. The devices improve access to information by allowing faculty to share up-to-date lesson materials with students. With less time dedicated to IT support, students get more attention from faculty and can spend more time learning. Syracuse University’s IT personnel also benefit from the reliability and durability of Wacom devices. Wacom devices were easy for the IT staff to install and integrate into the classroom’s customizable teaching stations. To ensure the device is accessible, anyone can put it into any position they require. The devices are easy-to-use and require a minimal learning curve, which reduces time spent on onboarding and training requirements for new staff. Durable and easy to maintain, Wacom reduced device downtime and IT’s time spent troubleshooting. “It’s an effective solution for what we’ve been trying to achieve,” O’Mara said. “The devices are low maintenance, very reliable, and we’ve had great support.”

Enabling new ways to teach and learn

As leaders in intuitive, easy-to-use digital pen technology, we’re helping schools and universities keep up with the pace of change. Our products boost collaboration and interaction, creating a classroom feel - even when you’re not in one. Designed to work seamlessly with your IT infrastructure, they’re proven performers in any learning scenario.

Contact a Wacom Specialist to learn more about our products, evaluation programs and special enterprise pricing.

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