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:
- an added chat function on various UK sites (e.g., Tech Help Center at https:techhelpcenter.uky.edu, https://learnanywhere.uky.edu, https:workanywhere.uky.edu and Account Manager at https:ukam.uky.edu) so you can chat with an ITS Customer Services agent;
- in-person assistance by reservation at Tech Help @ The Hub;
- online consultations and media support from the Student Media Depot via Zoom.
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 email@example.com.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.