Managing the New Classroom - AvNetwork.com

Managing the New Classroom

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Colleges and universities are increasingly capturing lectures and other instruction for a variety of applications, including distance learning in real time and downloads by students who want to review a particular class. Oregon’s Portland Community College uses videoconferencing endpoints already in select classrooms to produce five to ten minute lecture excerpts, such as a math class demo of an important equation.

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Distance learning at The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, is powered by Tandberg equipment.

“We have a central control room where we do video production and the TV station,” said Robert Schmitt, who managed PCC’s media services department until recently. “We have three lecture capture receive units at each Mediasite. We would route the audio, video and content into that box, so you could use it for a lot of different rooms.”

Drexel University, meanwhile, uses HD videoconferencing equipment to support classes that span its Philadelphia and Sacramento campuses.

“The detail was so good that [the professor] noticed the student in the fourth row was losing focus,” said Robert Rasberry, Drexel assistant director of facility services for instructional technology support. “That shocked the students.”

HD resolution also can help ensure the TEDx production quality that some faculty expect.

“The faculty we work with, their brand is themselves,” said Joshua Kim, director of learning and technology at Dartmouth College’s Master of Health Care Delivery Science Program . “Their presentation online has to live up to that.”

Regardless of how schools implement it, the amount of distance learning is growing exponentially.

“UGA is installing more videoconference systems and sending classes to our remote campuses, especially in the sciences, medicine, public health, pharmacy and agriculture,” said Tom Beggs, classroom support coordinator at the school’s Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Georgia.

The more content that a school makes available, the more valuable—for student and college alike—a content management system becomes.

“It is really important to have a good content management system so people can find the recorded content, restrict access to enrolled students if possible, and get good analytics on usage,” said University of Florida Office of Academic Technology associate director, Mark McCallister. “If you can't tell whether students are watching the material and how they are watching it, you really miss out on the ability to improve usage as time goes by.”

Since 1998, Tim Kridel has covered the tech and telecom industries for a variety of publications and websites, including AV Technology, Carrier Ethernet News, Digital Innovation Gazette, Pro AV, and InAVate. His coverage includes carrier ethernet, mobile apps, speech recognition, digital signage, FTTx, videoconferencing, Wi-Fi, and cellular. He can be reached at tim@timkridel.com.

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