CLC adds new technology to improve blended learning

Over the past few years, the College of Lake County has discovered new ways to make the campus friendlier for blended learning.

Armed with this knowledge, CLC is enhancing the technology available in several classrooms across the three campuses through the Technology Enhanced Classroom project.

On the three campuses, 38 rooms, 35 classrooms and three conference rooms will be equipped with new technologies to make it easier for participants to join meetings and classes remotely.

The upgrades are funded by the Federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.

“The changes will enable simultaneous in-person and remote participation,” said Director of Technology Support Dave Aykroid. “It extends video conferencing technology to classrooms or conference spaces. Instructors and meeting leaders can collaborate with people remotely as easily as in person.”

In 30 of the classrooms, the projector is replaced by a 110-inch video wall consisting of four screens. A secondary screen will be added, allowing people to view and collaborate with remote participants.

An overhead microphone array will pick up sounds from across the room while eliminating distracting noises like shuffling papers. A camera at the back of the room will broadcast to students remotely.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

The other five classrooms will have similar technology, but due to their size will retain the projector.

While instructors will have this equipment at their disposal, they will have the freedom to apply it to their program as they see fit, offering traditional in-person, remote, or blended modalities to reach students where they are.

“As an adjunct faculty member, I’m very excited for the next Technology Enhanced Classroom project to come to fruition,” said Scott Rial, Director of Educational Technology and Adjunct Professor.

“One of the main features that I am looking forward to is the inclusion of a ceiling mounted microphone that can cover the room. This would allow me to record live activity in the classroom for the benefit of remote students or just for content portability.”

Aykroid said this technology is becoming a trend in higher education classrooms.

“The new normal provides a way for students to attend classes on their own terms,” Aykroid said. “It takes student success to a new level by providing instructors with powerful tools to be inclusive for students who balance college, work, and family life.”

Norma A. Roth