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New classroom tech makes hybrid learning easier

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 30, 2022

During the last few years, College of Lake County (CLC) has discovered new ways to make the campus more tech-friendly for hybrid learning.

Student at her computerWith this knowledge, CLC is improving the technology available in several rooms on all three campuses with the Technology Enhanced Classroom (TEC) project.

Across the three campuses, 38 rooms, 35 classrooms and three conference rooms, will be fitted with new technology to make it easier for participants to join meetings and classes from remote locations. The improvements are paid for by federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.

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

In 30 of the classrooms, the projector is being replaced with a 110-inch video wall made up of four screens. A secondary screen will be added, allowing people to view and collaborate with remote participants. A microphone array in the ceiling will pick up sounds from all over the room while eliminating distracting noises like shuffling papers. A camera in the back of the room will broadcast to remote students.

The other five classrooms will have similar technology, but because of their size, will maintain the projector.

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

“As an adjunct faculty member, I am very excited for the upcoming Technology Enhanced Classroom project to come to fruition,” said Director of Educational Technology and adjunct faculty Scott Rial. “One of the main features I am looking forward to is the inclusion of a ceiling-mounted microphone that can cover the room. This would allow me to record a live activity in the classroom for the benefit of students at a distance or just for the portability of the content.”

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

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

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes in 2019 and is a national leader in many areas, including campus internationalization, sustainability and conservation.