The move to bimodal teaching in 2020/21 created additional challenges in delivering teaching with some or all students and staff on campus for some of the time. The introduction of new technology to University teaching rooms allows the opportunity to adopt a hybrid approach to teaching; hybrid teaching does not assume that a student will be on campus or online but offers easy student transition between the two. Equipping rooms with enabling technology will give the University the capability to deliver synchronous teaching in the classroom and to remote students at the same time, which has benefits for both students and academics.
In Spring 2021, LRAT commissioned its AV supplier to procure ‘Zoom Room’ equipment for two rooms in the Teaching and Learning Building and a project team was established, which includes representatives from LRAT, HEFI , IT Services and Registry. Academic colleagues were asked to consider key requirements for a hybrid teaching solution against which the equipment could be evaluated. In addition to the equipment installed in TLB, the scope of the project was widened to look at other solutions, particularly those which require less infrastructure works to deploy to smaller teaching spaces
Academics from across the University were offered the opportunity to participate in a series of demonstration sessions, and also invited to utilise the “Zoom Room” set up to deliver timetabled hybrid teaching sessions during the Spring and Summer terms. These sessions have provided the project team with valuable feedback on both the technology and the usability of the equipment in order to report back to Senior Education Team.
In early May 2021, the decision was made to progress with a wider implementation of hybrid teaching spaces and the project team are currently developing plans to rollout the technology across a number of teaching spaces over the Summer in preparation for the 2021/22 academic year.