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AV within IT at a small college

At Martin Luther College, an AV division created itself within the IT department
University Business, December 2016

With only 775 students, the need for a dedicated AV department was low at Martin Luther College, a teacher and pastor training institution in southwest Minnesota. The IT department handled the installation and wiring of emergency broadcast systems and of classroom AV technology, including projectors.

But as the school’s music program grew, an AV division created itself within the IT department.

“We always recorded concerts, but then five years ago, the desire arose to live-stream concerts and recitals,” says James Rathje, director of instructional technology.

With a “do-it-yourself to save money” philosophy, a faculty member in the music department handled the streaming on his own. IT got involved simply to pay for the streaming service. It was not until the music faculty member retired that Rathje became aware of just how much time and effort went into the streaming.

“We realized we needed to hire someone in IT who was solely in charge of AV,” Rathje says. “That person now handles all of the streaming and some of the classroom technology work.”

Rathje hopes to expand the AV skills of his IT student workers. “We train our students so they can get experience without having to take a class,” he says. “Now they can handle streaming without the AV services coordinator.”

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