Distance and remote learning enable higher education students to take classes virtually—via a variety of methods that include streaming, recordings, and online course materials. To support synchronous and asynchronous methods, you need a variety of technology solutions. An EDUCAUSE QuickPoll revealed that 100 percent of respondents from EDUCAUSE community groups said their institution is in the process of transforming at least one kind of learning space. The top two types of spaces under transformation were small classrooms and spaces dedicated to connecting to synchronous remote classes.
How Schools Benefit. Distance learning supports collaborative learning for all students and lets everyone be included. It also allows students and instructors more flexibility and personalization in their education and careers. It gives the institution the ability to accommodate more students at less expense. Some of the specific advantages of offering distance learning include making it easier to:
- Keep up with work. Students can stay engaged while accommodating other commitments.
- Stay healthy. Sick students and professors can stay off campus but still participate in class if they want to.
- Access coursework from anywhere. Students who live in a remote area or are on the road can continue their education.
- Prioritize mental health. It makes it easier for students to take a mental health day or cope with social anxiety.
- Learn at your own pace. Students have autonomy and learn to take responsibility for their education.
- Save time and money. Students save travel time as well as dorm and transportation costs
- without a commute or needing to live on campus.
- Collaborate easily. Collaborators don’t have to meet at the same time and place. Some can join meetings virtually, and some can work on projects through shared platforms.
- Gain technology experience. Remote students will learn the same collaboration tools and skills that they’ll use in the professional world.
What You Need. HyFlex (hybrid and flexible) classroom technology that supports distance learning includes:
- Auto tracking cameras. Distance learners can feel like they’re in the classroom as the camera tracks lecturers and presenters for livestreamed or recorded classes.
- Microphones and speakers. Microphones should cover the classroom—including body or head-worn ones for roaming professors—so all students hear all voices, whether in-person or remote. Ceiling loudspeakers can ensure students hear voices and other audio in large spaces.
- Projectors and screens or large flat panel displays. These visual tools help class participants see each other and enable presentations to be seen anywhere in the classroom.
- Video conferencing systems. Web conferencing platforms (e.g. Zoom, Webex by Cisco, Poly, Lifesize, Microsoft Teams, etc.)—and the hardware to support them—give remote students an experience close to the one those in the classroom have. They can even work on group projects in virtual collaboration rooms.
- Lecture capture technology. Lecture capture systems can record, store, stream, and help manage lectures. These tools help give distance learners an experience equivalent to the live lecture. In some cases, lecture capture provides an even more engaging experience because educators can add interactive features.
An audiovisual technology partner can help you make smart collaboration investments when transforming existing spaces to meet the needs of all kinds of learners.
Get in Touch. AV Solutions can help you update classrooms and other learning spaces to create the best remote and distance learning experiences. Contact one of our AV experts today.