Extending the London School of Economics’ 100-year-old commitment to the understanding of urban society, LSE Cities runs the Executive MSc in Cities, an 18-month modular education program for senior urban professionals who want to better understand and deliver change in cities. The travel disruption arising from the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that almost all international students attended in person the program’s five-week teaching modules. This challenge became an opportunity to transition the Executive MSc in Cities to a blended remote-teaching format, choosing Shure Microflex Complete Wireless (MXCW) as the ideal solution for fostering the “hybrid-flex” learning model at LSE Cities.
MXCW, combined with the videoconferencing experience and technology of global solutions provider AVer Europe, enables all participants in the classroom to communicate and collaborate with far-end participants in a natural manner. Presenters and students attending teaching in-person are now able to be viewed by remote students and speakers when communicating via an MXCW640, utilizing the AVer PTC310H’s audio tracking features.
The Executive MSc in Cities from the LSE recruits 25-30 students each year, the majority of whom are based in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Thanks to Shure Microflex Complete Wireless system, they can be part of the course regardless of traveling challenges and COVID restrictions. Traditional lectures have been largely replaced with innovative blended learning materials and teaching modules were reworked to emphasize classroom discussion and peer-to-peer information exchange.
The program team was especially conscious of the need to dissolve the boundary between in-person and remote participation to allow natural-feeling interaction during classroom discussion. As such, a fully scalable, flexible, user-friendly system needed to be researched, identified, and delivered quickly to help keep teaching and learning disruption to a minimum—with an added challenge to the project created by a global components shortage caused by the pandemic.
“For me, the biggest accomplishment is that the technology largely goes unnoticed by the faculty and students,” said Jim Osbourne, Executive MSc manager, LSE Cities.
Inputs from the MXCW units were assigned to Dante channels which were fed into the P300, then into the AVer PTZ link software which provides industry leading camera technology, with the P300 also eliminating any unwanted and distracting noise. Relying on trusted Shure partner M&R Communications to provide the kit for a real timeproof of concept for the committee at LSE Cities to use helped keep the project on track.
With around 12,000 students and 1,700 academic staff, the LSE campus occupies a group of around 30 buildings between Kingsway and Aldwych. The LSE Cities is its international research center located in the UK’s capital and the only university in the country dedicated to the study and research of social sciences. The LSE is regularly ranked in the top 10 UK universities and in the top 50 universities globally, and with Shure Microflex Complete Wireless system installed in its research center, can now offer a real remote learning experience.
“The London School of Economics is one of the most prestigious universities worldwide and its educational standards are extremely high. For this reason, it was important to deliver a solution that could help remain the program and lectures with the same quality, but in a hybrid format”, said Carys Green, regional sales manager for UK at Shure. “Microflex Complete Wireless was the most suitable system for the Executive MSc in Cities, and we are proud to help the institution on its transition to a hybrid-flex teaching format by delivering impeccable audio."
LSE Cities now benefits from a portable, powerful, and fully scalable system that brings a best-in-class audio and video experience, ensuring the program team can provide cutting-edge educational material while preserving natural-feeling classroom discussion. By making use of the many features that the MXCW system has to offer, faculty and students can continue the learning journey, collaborate, and communicate efficiently and effectively, both in the classroom and remotely.