Central Pool Classrooms Technology Standards

General Concepts

  • Technology in Central Pool classrooms is intended to serve a broad range of academic users with general purpose systems.
  • Installed technology should interfere as little as possible with non-technology uses of the room.
  • Faculty members should be able to operate educational technology systems without the assistance of an AV technician.
  • Technology design should be closely coordinated with design of lighting and mechanical systems.
  • Installations should provide easy access to equipment for maintenance and flexibility to change equipment over time.

Design Requirements

For most Central Pool Classrooms the following design guidelines apply. Specific design issues will vary based on a wide variety of factors including: application, available facilities, intended purpose of space and cost.

Projection Screens

  • In order to guarantee legibility of computer text display, the projected image width should be no less than one-fourth of the distance between the projection screen and the last row of seats.
  • The distance between the projection screen and the front row of seats should measure no less than 1.5 times the image width. Ideally, this distance measurement should be twice the image width.
  • The top of the projection screen should be no greater than 35° from horizontal measured from any seating position. Screen size requirements and clearance from floor may compromise this angle for the first row or first and second rows of seating.
  • Multiple projection screens may be mounted to permit simultaneous use of projected video and the overhead projector or to display multiple sources.
  • Projection screens should be mounted away from windows, doors, light switches, and other controls.
  • The projection screen size should accommodate aspect ratios of all media to be used on that screen (indicated as a ratio, i.e., width:height):
LCD video projection   standard (4:3)
wide screen (16:9)
overhead projector   standard (8.5:11)  
35mm slide projector   vertical (9:16)
horizontal (16:9)
Please note that CTS provides legacy 35mm projectors only.
Replacement 35mm projectors are not available for purchase.






LCD Video Projectors and LCD Displays

  • LCD projectors should provide the best possible image quality for all video sources. Motion video should be free of blurring and artifacts. Text should be readable throughout the room.
  • For classrooms with LCD displays, the distance between the display unit and the farthest viewer should be no more than 6 inches for every inch of diagonal picture size.

Film Projectors

  • Optical overhead projectors are still used at Penn and may be included in selected classrooms.
  • Legacy 35mm slide projector(s) are still in use in some classrooms. Because replacement projectors are not available for purchase, faculty are encouraged to digitize their 35mm slides for use with the LCD video projector and/or LCD/plasma display.
  • 16mm film projection is not supported.

Video Source Devices

  • Provide multi-region DVD playback.
  • Legacy VCRs are still in use in some classrooms. Because replacement VCRs are not available for purchase, faculty are encouraged to transfer their materials on VHS tape to a digital format or to purchase these materials on a digital format where required by law.
  • Install a document camera in large auditoria or where the ability to project normal printed content is required. Faculty should be able to view the projection screen easily while working with document camera.

Audio Devices

  • Installation of microphone systems are based on size of room, acoustics, and the need for recording or external transmission of audio. Typically, rooms seating more than 60 students should be provided with microphone systems.
  • Wireless microphones should be provided.
  • Microphone audio works best when distributed across an array of ceiling speakers. Speakers for microphone audio should be separate from speakers for program audio.
  • In classrooms where microphone audio is available, assistive listening technology should be installed as well. Assistive listening receivers for students are provided by the Office of Student Disability Services.
  • Program audio amplification is typically required in any room with computer and video projection. The power, size, and number of speakers depends largely on the size and acoustics of the space.
  • Mono or stereo front-mounted speakers for program audio should be rated to accommodate 1.25 times the rated amplifier driving them.


  • Classroom Technology Services typically installs computers which meet or exceed the base standard established by Information Systems and Computing. Standards are updated annually. These standards are available for review at www.upenn.edu/computing/arch/standards/.
  • The choice of a Macintosh computer, a Windows-based computer, or both depends upon local support policy and space permitted. Normally Windows-based computers are preferred.

Auxiliary Inputs

  • Auxiliary inputs to the projection and audio system are helpful under most circumstances.
  • A composite video input brought to an RCA type female jack is preferred.
  • Computer video input brought to a 15 pin VGA-style female jack is preferred.
  • Stereo audio inputs to the program audio system brought to two RCA type female jacks and an 1/8 inch stereo female jack are preferred.
  • One or more external microphone inputs brought to a female XLR jack are preferred in rooms with microphone audio.
  • An additional active Ethernet port should be available.
  • A duplex power outlet convenient to the auxiliary inputs should be provided.

Switching and Control

  • Switching and control are mandatory in all spaces.
  • Either a fixed LCD touch panel or fixed button panel are provided for user control of the systems.
  • An appropriate user interface choice is based on several issues including level of complexity, cost, and convenience.
  • Control systems are helpful in performing automatic duties, such as ensuring that the video projector and switcher are expecting and sending the same type of signal, controlling audio levels, ensuring that the projector is powered down at the end of the day, and/or controlling power for the many peripherals included in presentation systems.


  • InfoComm Standard wiring practices should be maintained for all installations.