Writing on the display screens in California hall

Tutorial: California Hall Technology

California Hall is a 600-seat lecture hall created with state-of-the-art technology and designed with active learning principles in mind. Here we present a guide to the technology:  Lighting, Using the Monitors, and Choosing Your Display Sources.


At the instructor’s station you’ll find a set of lighting controls buttons. Of the eight options, you will likely use one of these five: pre/post lecture (slightly dark); lecture speaking (brightest); film present (dark); lecture annotation (bright but slightly dimmed to make the annotations screens more visible); Custodial - somewhat dimmed.

Dimming the Natural Light: On the East wall you’ll find a dimmable switch that changes the tint of the windows at the back of the room. This feature is useful if you need the room darkened on a sunny day. Press up for less tint and down for more. It may take as long as 20 minutes for the change to completely take effect, so plan accordingly and be sure to restore the original settings when you’re done.

Using The Monitors

Tap the screen at the instructor’s station to start up the system. Startup takes about 2 minutes. Once the system is started you’re ready to go.

California Hall has a total of 9 screens. Students can view three projector screens -- the large ones at the top -- and 3 annotation screens, which function like electronic whiteboards you can write on. Each annotation screen will project to the project screens above it. Finally, for the instructor there are 3 confidence monitors that show you what the students are seeing.  

Note that the projector screens appear dimmer from closer up, so it’s recommended that students in  the first two or three rows watch the annotation monitors instead.

These nine monitors are organized to form 3 groups -- left, right, and center -- each including one projector screen, one annotation screen and one confidence monitor. All three monitors within each group will display the same content. You can choose to use one, two, or all three of these groups; and you can choose up to three display sources.

Whatever source is sent to this group will appear on all three screens simultaneously.

Choosing your display sources

On the screen selection pad you will find seven different input sources to choose from: HDMI and VGA for laptops, integrated document camera and Blu-Ray player, and three different annotation sources.

When you select a source you’ll be asked where to send it. You can send it to a single group or all three. If you don’t want to use one of the display groups, select the appropriate the Blank Display button on the right. Press the Blank Display button again to restore a display group.

The East wall has a duplicate interface, so a TA can run the show discreetly from the sidelines.

To shut the system down, press the red power button on the top right of this screen. System shutdown takes about 2 minutes. Once the system is shut down please wait ten minutes before attempting to start up again. This lets the projectors cool down and extends their lifetime.

Using the Annotation Screens

**Note: the Annotation System is not functioning properly and IET/AV Engineering is aggressively working on a resolution.**

At the front of the room there are three large monitors under the projector screens. Each is touch enabled and can be written on with a special pen, or your fingertip. First, select “Annotation” as a source from the instructor station. Find one of the magnetic pens, and annotate away. On the monitor, you can choose from a selection of backgrounds, including a grid for graphing. Whatever you mark on this screen will appear on the corresponding large screen.  Please replace the pen when you’re done. There are only 6 of these so please don’t lose them.

Active Learning Features in California Hall

  • Seats that rotate to allow collaboration between rows

  • Table-top surfaces rather than individual desks encourage collaboration

  • Clear sight lines to see instructors and peers

  • Natural lighting to invite creative thinking

  • Read more about Active Learning in CEE's teaching guide.