Common Classroom Issues

This page addresses the most common classroom issues that IT Support encounters.  This list by no means includes every problem you may experience, but it is a good starting point for troubleshooting issues in the classrooms or event spaces.

Remember that instructions are posted in each classroom, which provide step-by-step guidance that is specific to that classroom.  Copies are kept in the Lab Attendant binder in the IT office for reference.

No audio from the speakers

A lack of audio can involve several different components.  Try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • check that the audio cable (usually 3.5mm) is fully plugged into the computer/device, and is in the correct jack
  • check that the amplifier is turned on, has working indicator lights, and that it’s volume control knob is not turned down
  • check that the mixer is turned on, and that the desired input’s volume control knob is not turned down
  • if using a computer/laptop/tablet, ensure that the device’s volume is turned up, and that the content itself (YouTube, media player, etc) is not muted/turned down
  • if the classroom has an accessible wall plate, check that the audio cables are not unplugged/loose
  • if the classroom uses a switcher to select between multiple devices, ensure that the desired device is selected


The projector is not displaying the proper image

Projector display issues are usually the result of incorrect inputs.  Check the following:

  • ensure that the proper input is selected.  Depending on the classroom, this may be done via the projector remote control, via a switcher, or via a Creston control panel.  Most often, the user has failed to change the remote or switcher input selection.
    • Note: each classroom has instructions specific to its equipment, which will tell you how to switch input devices, and if you need to use the remote, a switcher, or other.
  • if you are able to see the computer desktop on the projector, but it’s blank (no icons), you may be in Extended Desktop mode.  Press the Windows Key + P on the computer’s keyboard to open the “PROJECT” menu.  In Windows 10, this appears out of the side of the display.  Use the mouse or keyboard arrow keys to select “Duplicate,” which will make the projector show the exact same view as the computer.  (Extended desktop creates a second desktop area that continues virtually off the right edge of the computer screen.)


The projector is out of focus or the image is skewed

The focus and zoom on all projectors (except the Cafe projector) are controlled by physically adjusting the dials around the lens.  In most rooms, these are not easily reached without a ladder, and rarely need adjustment after they are setup.

If the projection is skewed (not perfectly square or rectangular), you will need to use the projector’s remote control to go into the menu and adjust the “Quick Corners” settings, which allow you to move each corner individually up/down and right/left to correct any distortion or skew.  Directions are as follows:

  1. Press Menu and use the arrow to navigate down to “Settings” and press “Enter”
  2. Select “Keystone” and press “Enter”
  3. Select “Quick Corner” and press “Enter”
  4. Use the arrow keys to navigate to each of the four corner tiles.  Press “Enter” on each to activate it, then use the arrow keys to adjust the four directions.  Press “Esc” to exit a tile when you are finished adjusting it.
  5. When you are done, and the screen is squared-up, press “Esc” until you exit the menu altogether


The projector is cutting off a section of the image in the projection

If you are in a classroom with a Sympodium monitor, you may occasionally see that the projection cuts off a portion of the projection image (ie: the top third of the display is cut off).  To solve this, turn off the Sympodium monitor using the power button in the upper right corner, and then turn it back on again.  When the Sympodium restarts, it will run an auto-setup configuration.  You do not need to touch the projector; once the Sympodium setup finishes, the projection should go dark for a moment, then return with the corrected, full-display image.


The projector is showing a projection lamp warning or error

Once the projectors reach a certain number of usage hours, a warning appears that references a lamp error.  There is no actual malfunction, the lamp usage counter simply needs to be reset in the menu.  You will need a projector remote control to access this: press “Menu,” then use the arrow keys to navigate down to “Reset.”  Press “Enter,” select “Reset Lamp Hours,” and press “Enter” again.  Choose “Yes” to confirm the reset.

Lamp hours will then be set back to 0, and the warning message will go away.  Regular use of the projector can resume immediately.

Should the bulb actually fail, there will be a blinking orange light on the front of the projector, and there will be no image, or even light, from the projector lens.


Cables for using your own laptop at the teaching station are missing

A VGA and 3.5mm audio cable are provided at each teaching station so that users can connect their own laptop to the projector/sound system.  From time to time, these cables are removed by users and need to be replaced from IT inventory.  If this happens, simply get a new cable/set from the IT staff and install them.


The Crestron system is not working properly or not responding

The Crestron touch panels turn on the projectors, control device switching, and also volume and DVD playback control.  When responding to a trouble ticket for a Crestron, first make sure that the user has turned it on; touching the screen will turn it on, and you will see a startup message and loading bar as the system, including the projector, comes online.  Once that completes, you can use the buttons on the left edge to select the device you want to work with (classroom PC, laptop, document camera, etc).

If pressing the various device buttons does not switch the projection, or the projector is not turning on at all, you can try pressing the logoff button on the bottom right edge.  Let the Crestron complete the logoff, and then repeat the startup steps.  If the device/projector STILL doesn’t respond, it may be necessary to reboot the Crestron controller.  Note: if the projector is not turning on from the Crestron, you can quickly get a class back on-track by bringing a projector remote control with you, and using it to turn the projector on.

To reboot the Crestron controller, you will need to wait until the class is over and the room is available for at least 15 minutes.  You will also need the proper key to unlock the instructor’s station and access the IT components within.  Once you have the station open, you will find multiple rack-mounted components.  You need to identify the two labeled “Crestron” and “Extron.”  These are the Crestron controller and the Extron switcher.  Unplug the power cord from the rear of each, wait a moment, and then plug it back in, Extron first, and then Crestron.  Let the devices complete their reboot cycles, and then test the Crestron control panel again to see if it is responding properly now.


Issues with the Polycom

Issues with the in-classroom Polycom systems are uncommon, but may include the following:

  • if the remote sites are unable to see the Scranton room, and the cameras are facing the students, hang up the call and place it again.  (This corrects most issues.)
  • if the remote sites are unable to hear the Scranton room, ensure that we are not muted using the Polycom remote control (an icon will appear on the TV when you mute/unmute our room.  Note: the classroom should remain muted unless someone is speaking, as the mics otherwise pick up every little sound and generate too much “noise” in the overall conference.
  • if Scranton is unable to see or hear a remote site, that site is either muted, or is having an issue, and needs to correct it on their end.
  • if the conference drops (hangs up unexpectedly), it may be a system glitch.  Place the call again and see if it connects.  You may need to wait a few minutes for all locations to reconnect.
  • rarely a remote site will have an issue where they drop the call and are not able to reconnect in a timely manner.  There is nothing we can do to fix that issue, but we can contact that campus’ IT department to find out if they have an estimate for when they will be up and running again.
  • In the case of issues that cannot be corrected on-campus, contact ENCS Operations Center (OC). The OC can be reached at (814) 865-4662, or via the web at ENCS Operations Center.
  • NOTE: conferences MUST be disconnected when they are finished!  Failing to disconnect can cause excessive recording times on the OC servers, and may also cause the local Polycom system to emit a very loud squealing/screeching noise that is very disruptive to the building it is in.


The microphone isn’t working

For a non-working mic, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • check the batteries in the mic and replace them if low/dead
  • if the batteries are good and the mic is on, check that it is not muted
  • check that the mic input volume control on the mixer is turned up, and is not simply too quiet to hear
  • check that the mic is set to the same wireless channel as the transciever unit; if it is not, you can re-sync them, or manually set the mic to the proper channel