New technology updates in College of Idaho classrooms have helped improve remote learning capabilities, including new audio and visual technology to help students and faculty until classrooms open back up for in-person instruction.

According to a press release, the college’s Information Technology department was busy over winter break upgrading four classrooms in the Kathryn Albertson International Center (KAIC). The classrooms received upgrades to include “conference-room-style microphones hanging from the ceiling … to improve overall audio quality and new cameras.” The cameras in the classrooms have two separate functions including: one that can provide a closer image of the presenter and track their movements and another that is fixed wide shot of the classroom.

“It essentially gives the ability for a close-up of the presenter, usually the professor or instructor, and then one as well that looks from the back of the classroom, over the whole class,” associate director of IT Alan Price said in the release. “You can actually see your classroom, see your peers.”

To complete this task, Price said that they needed to identify classrooms that could support this technology and find reasonably affordable products because of disrupted supply chains.

The new technology will continue to be of use to the college once the pandemic winds down and full, in-person learning resumes on campus.

While the spring semester only recently got underway, early feedback has been positive, for both remote and hybrid classes.

“I can now move to the whiteboard and students online can see me.  It has freed me from being tethered to the podium when teaching to both in-person and online students,” said Rick Goodwin, a Business and Accounting lecturer. “The new audio equipment was installed so that students online can hear not only my voice but the voice of students in the classroom. This is a game-changer for me teaching as we deal with the pandemic.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.