Campus News

New AV Technology Brings Instruction From the Classroom to the Computer

An education course utilizing upgraded classroom technology. Pete Comparoni | UKphoto
An education course utilizes upgraded classroom technology. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2020) — With the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the University of Kentucky was faced with the challenging task of deciding what the new classroom norm would look like. Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all members of the UK community has always been the university’s top priority, so a hybrid delivery method was decided to be the best option, given classroom limitations. To achieve this form of instruction delivery, the Classroom, AV Support and Student Technology Services team of UK Information Technology Services (ITS) worked diligently all summer to install new technology across campus.

“Due to the university’s public health needs, having remote learning technology is very important because it prevents the need for the students to attend class every day,” said Rex Stidham with UK ITS. “It gives more flexibility and provides normalcy to students by giving students the option to have the same class schedule. If students didn’t feel comfortable, we wanted to make sure they had the options to have the most successful semester.”

Of the over 350 classrooms on campus, 90% of them received upgraded technology. This includes two different types of cameras — panoramic cameras, for Zoom and Microsoft Teams classes, and Echo360 capture devices. Both Echo360 and the panoramic cameras enable live-streaming and recording of class sessions. In April 2020, there were 164 Echo360 rooms and only three Zoom rooms on UK’s campus. UK now boasts 210 Echo360 rooms and 139 panoramic cameras for enhanced online learning. 

Stidham also noted the positive outcomes of remote learning. “Having recorded lectures gives the students the ability to review the lecture, something I wish I would have had when I was in college.”

The following is a specific breakdown of UK’s current modalities:

  • Traditional: 37.3%. This means in-person courses are primarily held face-to-face on the main University of Kentucky campus.
  • Off campus: 1.3%. Off-campus meetings are primarily held in-person at a designated off-campus location.
  • Distance learning – hybrid: 19%. Hybrid courses have a blend of in-person and online instruction. They may include “alternating attendance” models (where different subsets of students attend in-person on different days), “flipped classrooms” (where students meet for working problems or discussions after engaging with material online) and other models mixing in-person and online instruction.
  • Distance learning – internet, web-based: 42%. This means online meetings are held fully online and do not require any in-person attendance.
  • The remainder are for compressed video: less than 1%. Simulcast meetings are broadcast live to and from an in-person meeting to designated remote locations.”

“A mix of class formats gives us the opportunity to provide an outstanding educational experience while keeping everyone involved safe,” Stidham said.

In addition to upgraded classroom technology, ITS has also increased their technology assistance efforts. This includes:

Learn more about UK ITS here. For 24/7 immediate assistance from ITS Customer Services contact 859-218-HELP (4357) or the Technology Help Center at http://techhelpcenter.uky.edu. For assistance with non-urgent matters, email 218help@uky.edu.  

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.