George Washington U Adds Video Tools To Extend Classes Beyond Main Campus

Starting in the fall of 2016, students at George Washington University (Foggy Bottom Campus) will be able to interact with other faculty and students in class in real time.

The campus is improving its digital video equipment so that students in other campuses can fully participate in on the class at the main campus. This distance learning option is the first of many technology-enhanced classes that the university has incorporated. They have already begun replacing analog video equipment with digital ones. Paul Schiff Berman, Vice Provost for Online Learning, mentions that “students would be in both places…the faculty member could speak to students in either location and can see, hear and speak to each other. It is one real-time class with students in two locations.” This also poses a great benefit because it would be cheaper to connect remote classrooms together than create two separate courses and have professors transfer back and forth between campuses.

Some classrooms are being fitted with brighter projectors that can pan, tilt and zoom to different parts of the classroom so that students could get a full view of the classroom when they’re watching online. Microphones were also installed to hang from the ceiling.

Students would also be able to just check in their classes with easy, simple applications such as Skype or Google Hangouts. This would save the university the cost and hassle of using specific teleconferencing hardware.

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However, there are a couple drawbacks – connecting classrooms together would require licensing and server hardware which would add to the cost.

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