How universities will adapt post Covid-19

The world of education is changing, and technology is playing a pivotal role.

There has been a drive in using technology within higher education to help create a collaborative and inclusive educational environment.

To stand out from the crowd and to match students’ needs, institutions have used innovative technology like interactive displays, projectors, wireless presentation devices and more to help them stay one step ahead.

Following the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns, the sector is increasingly turning to technology for much-needed solutions to continue teaching.

The University of Cambridge was the first to announce that “lectures would continue virtually until summer 2021”. And with social distancing required until at least the end of the year, many institutions are looking at how they can provide smaller classes and a ‘hybrid’ style of learning - both online and in-person – successfully.

With children returning to school this week, there has been much speculation that some students will return to universities in September – so what can institutions do to ensure a safe and effective learning environment for both students, teachers and staff next academic year?

1. Lecture capture and distance learning
2. Conferencing for interactive smaller group learning
3. Effective digital signage around campus

1. Lecture capture and distance learning

As higher-resolution video technology has become more affordable, many lecture theatres are already equipped with cameras and a microphone system. These systems can be quickly adapted for distance learning.

Requiring a professional PTZ camera, e-learning systems enable high-quality lectures and seminars to be available to students remotely, live, and on demand. This allows students to fully engage in the class as they can pause and re-watch, ensuring they fully understand the topics discussed. Epiphan and Lumens lecture capture systems combine PTZ cameras, teaching materials, and presentations into one solution. The aim is to give remote students the same kind of experience as being in the theatre or classroom.

Vaddio’s AV Bridge 2x1 Presentation Switcher makes it simple to encode, capture and stream high-quality audio and video to remote and on-site students. The built-in IP streaming allows live-streaming to YouTube, Facebook, or virtually anywhere – all with up to 1080p quality.

Major cloud-based conferencing applications, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others, can help students stay on track and connected while distance learning.

Lecture capture and distance learning technology allows for live interaction between local and remote students as well as educators.

Kieron Seth, marketing director at Holdan, said: “Suppliers have seen a marked increase in demand for lecture capture systems. A typical university enquiry can be for up-to 50 lecture halls to be transformed into distance learning facilities before the new academic year starts. Each theatre needs to be fitted with a PTZ camera and lecture capture device and integrated into the university’s learning management system. This may sound daunting, but the new generation learning technology from the likes of Epiphan and Lumens is extremely easy to install, often on existing networks, and requires minimal user training.”

2. Conferencing for interactive smaller group learning

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions for conferencing and collaboration enables users to connect with the room's fixed hardware using their own device. This reduces the need to touch communal controls that have been handled by someone else. Furthermore, it’s a great time saver and makes setting up for an interactive presentation extremely simple.

Vaddio’s EasyIP Ecosystem is an AV-over-IP conferencing system that is easy to use, easy to install, and provides industry-leading video quality. With EasyIP, you can deliver a simple and professional quality BYOD conferencing experience by moving video distribution onto a standard 1 Gb Ethernet network.

Mersive’s Solstice is a TeamSpace Collaboration Platform that improves the usability and productivity of learning spaces with the latest offering of Video Conferencing Integration. Solstice Conference enables users to use their own device with the room’s pre-existing technology.

Taking into consideration the recent pandemic, Mersive are focusing on a pure TouchlessAV platform. Mersive’s Solstice has redefined the meeting space with its soon to be released software update (no new hardware) which will give users a new and unparalleled experience.

Additionally, their Solstice Active Learning software for education supports the collaboration and sharing of content between socially distanced students and their teachers. It was developed with educators to ensure that the user interface was simple and resulted in an intuitive way to collaborate and learn.

The SMART Podium interactive pen display lets lecturers and teachers present while writing notes or illustrations with a cordless pen on the 24" touch screen. By projecting SMART Podium to a large display, such as a SMART Board®, presenters can guide audiences of any size in a variety of room configurations. Teachers can also present from anywhere to large groups and lessons can be recorded for students to watch outside of class.

3. Effective digital signage around campus

Digital signage in universities has long been popular for wayfinding and student announcements. These eye-catching screens can be repurposed to include social distancing prompts and real-time student safety information.

Updated in real-time, using static or video content, these displays encourage students and staff to comply with important safety practices while keeping them up to date with important developments within the campus.

In light of the current situation and with many universities gearing themselves up for a continuation of online lectures and classes for the autumn semester - if not even longer - there has been an increase in demand for professional video and streaming equipment to help provide a safe environment without impacting service levels to their students.

View and download our new guide on ‘How Technology Can Help with Social Distancing Requirements’ now, or for more information on any of the solutions mentioned, please contact your account manager.

 How Technology Can Help with Social Distancing Requirements – Guide