Chapman University offers its student body exceptional in-person learning opportunities. Through the pandemic, we made a huge investment in adding technology to learning spaces that allowed faculty members to teach from their classrooms and laboratories to remote students. The fall semester of 2021 brought most students back to campus so that they could continue the campus life that is a hallmark of Chapman’s University Experience.
These classroom upgrades included high-sensitivity ceiling-mounted microphones and wall or ceiling-mounted PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras.
We call these Zoom-room enabled learning spaces our “Prime” rooms, and they allow for robust interaction between the faculty member, in-class students, and remote participants. In the case of laboratories and small classrooms, we developed a flexible, boom-mounted 4K camera and microphone. We call these our “Flexcam” rooms and they excel at capturing close-up work on the whiteboard and any place where the camera view can be adjusted as needed. These ‘flexcams’ are connected to the classroom computer with a 15′ cable and are nearly perfect for capturing laboratory experiments for both in-classroom, remote participant, and recorded uses.
While the AV enhancements were critical during the height of the pandemic’s remote learning, we realized that these systems provided many expanded opportunities as hybrid learning spaces. Chapman University’s Fowler School of Engineering’s new home is the Swenson Family Hall of Engineering and opened during the fall 2021 semester. In this new building, the teaching laboratories incorporated many of these hybrid-learning systems, including multiple PTZ cameras (both instructor and student views), ceiling-mounted microphones, and a super-high-resolution ceiling camera to capture the instructor’s table (replacing the table-top doc cam).
In responding to the immediate teaching needs of the pandemic we have made technology improvements that will increase the quality and flexibility of these learning spaces for many years to come.