‘Hybrid Education’ – The Importance of AV in Adapting to Remote Learning at Third Level

Audio Visual solutions | Audio Visual installations | Audio Visual services | AV Maintenance | AV Architecture | Video Conferencing and Support | AV equipment

The traditional lecture hall might be a thing of the past with our plan for the future of third-level education. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have had over a year to plan and implement bespoke Audio Visual systems to allow for colleges and universities to function as a ‘hybrid learning’ environment, with students learning from home becoming the new norm. AV has a vital role in this new approach to education. The phrase ‘hybrid working’ has become a popular one in recent times. This refers to a blend of working in the traditional office in-person for part of the week, and working from home for the remainder of the week, however it does not just apply to offices. Hybrid learning takes a similar approach, and it has become crucial for third-level education. As a result, new products which were not traditionally used as often before have been installed, such as rolling out more video conferencing units for staff collaboration. The use of interactive monitors affords students the opportunity to contribute to a lecture in the same way that they traditionally would, but now, they can approach the whiteboard from anywhere in the world, making remote learning a viable option. 

There are many benefits to a hybrid learning environment, with students learning from home for part of the week. It allows for students to save costs on accommodation and commuting full-time while providing more flexibility in scheduling and attending classes. On the other hand, going fully virtual can be overwhelming for some students, as in-person classes and one-on-one assistance is often needed. That’s why we aim to make the transition to remote learning as seamless as possible, providing lecturers with the necessary tools to marry the need for in-person classes with the need for remote access.

Audio Visual solutions | Audio Visual installations | Audio Visual services | AV Maintenance | AV Architecture | Video Conferencing and Support | AV equipment

How does Fitting Image AV Sales come into the picture? 

All colleges and universities should have the opportunity to implement the facilities for hybrid learning. At Fitting Image, we have extensive experience in fitting out third-level facilities, including Trinity College Dublin, the number-one ranked university in Ireland. Fitting Image provides an on-site service and maintenance team managing the ongoing delivery of upgrades throughout the college. By applying our knowledge from our Trinity fit-outs, we can create cost-effective Audio Visual systems for smaller colleges and retro-fit systems into older buildings to accommodate hybrid learning needs. Our experience enables us to successfully fit out third-level institutions, providing the opportunity for remote learning.

We provide advice across a range of innovative teaching aids, from large-screen projection systems to lecture capture systems. Solutions also include remote room management systems that allow admin staff to monitor the status of Audio Visual systems across an entire campus and receive automatic email notifications should any issue arise. Our onsite training will also ensure that educators are equipped with the skills and confidence to operate the technology in the classroom. We have also rolled out PTZ cameras into many of the major lecture theatres to give students access into the campus from wherever they may be in order to prevent interruptions to their education, regardless of whether circumstances allow for attending lectures in-person. 

Depending on the size of the room, the key pieces of equipment when fitting out third-level institutions include: projectors; an Audio Visual switcher; a control system, with either a button panel or touch panel; input devices, including PC/Blu-Ray player and inputs for users’ laptops; and interactive monitors. Fitting out larger rooms will also include an audio processor for mixing microphones and other audio sources. 

Fitting Image can provide lecturers and tutors with: a user-friendly interface for lecturers with little experience of systems; the use of PTZ cameras to tailor the video sent to students in order to allow lecturers to present in the way that they want; a wide variety of inputs into the system, whether from the house PC on the college network or from their own laptop; and document cameras so that paper documents can be shown both on the large screen in the classroom and remotely. Where an interactive monitor is installed, lecturers can also take contributions from students learning from home through virtual whiteboards.

Above all, when fitting out third-level institutions, it is important to be aware of the learning environment around the installation locations, such as being mindful of noise in the surrounding area that may affect the lectures, as well as scheduling the installation to fit around the lessons are that ongoing within the college. Another important aspect to consider is providing interfaces that are easily accessible for a wide variety of people with different technical abilities.

Through our work with Trinity, we have learned that the rooms in universities are used by a wide range of different people from varying disciplines and backgrounds. To provide a successful Audio Visual fit-out, we always put ourselves in the shoes of the end-user. This allows us to provide intuitive systems that users can successfully utilise to their fullest extent, with very little training or experience. The long-standing relationships we’ve built with our partners also enable us to anticipate the needs of any given room and tailor solutions to a situation quickly and effectively. 

If you require assistance adapting to this new approach of a hybrid learning environment, contact us at Fitting Image and we will be happy to help you!