Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Jan/Feb 2024 - 29

Pace-ing the AV Track
" George and I always [have] prided
ourselves on being futuristic thinkers,
and [we like] testing the limits of what
we can do, " begins Miller, IT director and
adjunct professor, Pace University, as well
as one half of the Bald AV Guys. " With
our forward-thinking approach, we really
wanted to push our limits when it came
to AV education. " According to Chacko,
director of IT and adjunct professor, Pace
University, who is the other half of the
Bald AV Guys, certifications (e.g., the CTS)
were of course available for AV professionals.
However, there was no proper
education degree that catered specifically
to those in the AV sphere.
" We wanted to develop a traditional
learning process, " he explains. " And
so, when the pandemic hit, we took the
plunge and developed a syllabus. " From
there, Chacko reveals, the Media Communications
and Visual Arts (MCVA) department
chair, Paul Ziek, took an interest in
crafting a course that focused on audiovisual
skills. " He recognized [our course] as
a need and immediately jumped onboard
to partner with us, " Chacko adds.
That partnership led to the formation
of a three-credit course, MCA 165, entitled
" Introduction to the Audio Visual Industry
in the Media. " It provides students with a
hands-on view of the AV field as it relates to
the media, communications and educational-service
industries. " We reached out
to AVIXA - a great partner - and they
provided us with a ton of material at no
cost for all students, " Miller states. " They
also gave us access to their AV Technologist
Certificates so that students could walk
away with a certificate right off the bat. "
Only the Beginning
From Miller's perspective, this is only the
beginning. " We want to keep building this
100-level course to an eventual major, "
he reveals. " We're actually excited to
launch our 400-level course, which is the
AV apprenticeship, where students have
the opportunity to work as an intern at
a warehouse. " As part of the apprenticeship,
Miller adds, students actually get
to work directly under Chacko and him,
while receiving credit. " Most importantly,
Crestron is committed to forging a tangible
career path for students, whether they're
attending a university, high school or trade
school. Chris Fitzpatrick, who attended the
Pace summit, is a champion of this effort.
they will have a full, hands-on experience
of the AV world, " he enthuses.
According to Chacko, the biggest
highlight of the current 100-level course
is the " AV Olympics, " which is a culmination
of all the topics covered throughout
the course. " We divide the students into
groups and then basically dump all the
technology in the middle of the room, " he
explains. " Each team has a different project,
and the project manager is responsible
for ensuring that the right technology
is brought to the team in one shot. "
Chacko explains that students are allowed
to step outside and come back with more
equipment, but they lose points for doing
so. In essence, the AV Olympics tests
the students' skills across all technological
categories, including video, audio,
streaming and project management.
Both Chacko and Miller further
opine that the AV Olympics challenges
students, while allowing them to
envision several innovative strategies.
" One student was extremely smart, "
Chacko reveals. " Once she was outside,
she never came back in. She essentially
broke the system! " In fact, Chacko and
Miller have been continually impressed
by student performance, despite the
challenging assignment. According to
Miller, " We threw many curveballs -
[we] even included AV math (because who
doesn't love math?!), - and they took it all
in their stride. "
Chacko and Miller agree that the AV
Olympics was a huge hit among the students.
" It gave [the students] a glimpse of
a real-life AV scenario and truly built their
knowledge and confidence, " Miller says.
" We definitely look forward to incorporating
and expanding it for our other courses. "
Jan/Feb 2024 | Commercial Integrator+Security Sales & Integration
29
WES BROWN

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Jan/Feb 2024

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