New HyFlex Classrooms

While classes are fully remote for the Spring semester, it is important that we prepare our learning environments for our return to campus.  Even when classes are in person again, it is likely that many students may need or choose to continue attending classes remotely. 
 
Toward supporting instruction in this environment, ETS has been upgrading classrooms to support courses being taught in the HyFlex modality.  The HyFlex (or hybrid-flexible) course model combines face-to-face and online learning, providing students the flexibility to participate in each class session in-person, online synchronously, or online asynchronously.
 
The new HyFlex classrooms will allow faculty to easily access cameras and microphones that have been installed in these classrooms.  Faculty who bring their own laptops to class need only connect a single USB cable, and both MacOS and Windows are supported.  The Mac Mini installed in the lectern is already connected to the new AV.
 
Each HyFlex classroom will include:

  • One high-resolution camera pointed at the front of the classroom.
  • One high-resolution camera pointed at the student seating in the classroom.
  • High fidelity microphones mounted on the ceiling that will capture all audio in the classroom.

Everything has been designed to be very easy to use.  For example, to use this new hardware in Zoom (or any telepresence software) you need only select the devices in the Preferences for the application.
 
The cameras are also configured for ease of use.  The rear-facing camera aimed at the student seating is a wide-angle camera that will capture the entire classroom without any interaction or control required.
 
The front-facing camera has three pre-set camera shots that can be selected at any time by using the buttons on the lectern control panel.  The camera shots are:

  • The lectern, which also includes the table at the front of the classroom to accommodate faculty who may be sitting in front of a laptop.
  • A wide shot that includes the entire front of the classroom.
  • A zoomed-in shot of the writing surface that at 9’ covers about 2/3s of the board.

The classrooms that have been upgraded so far are:

  • Cowell 413, 414, 418, 419
  • Kalmanovitz Hall 111, 211
  • Lone Mountain 245, 355
  • Howard 154, 155, 156
  • Kendrick 102

We expect that these classrooms will be beneficial for faculty teaching in HyFlex environments as well as improving the learning experience for students attending classes remotely while we navigate the unprecedented challenges from COVID-19.