When confronted with the need to create safe classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Texas at Austin is taking a rather futuristic approach.

The University announced Sept. 17 that it is exploring new technology for ensuring classroom safety – beaming a professor into the classroom as a hologram.

The McCombs School of Business is working with an Austin-based emerging technology company to create “a new 3D immersive video solution that combines in-person, hybrid, and online teaching to deliver an engaging and interactive distanced learning experience.”

The platform is already being used in accounting professor Steve Limberg’s Executive MBA class.

“This is an authentic experience because I can see all the gestures and the nuances that students are expressing, whether it be raising a hand or nodding, and as a result, it really is very much like being right here in the classroom,” Limberg said.

The McCombs School of Business stressed that this innovative solution ties into the school’s larger mission.

“We knew we could make the digital experience better,” said Joe Stephens, senior assistant dean and director of working professional and executive MBA programs. “Enterprise, tenacity, curiosity, and authenticity are the pillars of what we do at McCombs, and we’re doing all those things right now. We teach our students to innovate, and we’re practicing what we preach. That’s what innovation and the world of business is all about.”

The University said it does plan to expand its use of the new hologram technology in the future.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs