• Making a plan for higher education AV in a post-COVID existence

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    By Rob Smith, Senior Director, System Sales, Shure

    It’s difficult to envisage that the education sector would face such a change in less than 12 months, with a move to virtual teaching and remote working as a direct result of the pandemic. Many questions had to be asked; do we have the technology needed to deal with this sea change in teaching and learning? Is the technology a viable long solution? Can we ensure the same level of teaching standards for both faculty and students?

    Many HE facilities needed to face the challenges head-on and plan, design and deploy new systems capable of delivering the learning experience needed in a very short space of time. Students were also faced with the prospect of using their own devices on a daily basis, and while the BYOD trend continues to rise, many had to consider investing in better devices to transition to remote learning.

    The continuing development of AV in HE

    There is a lot more required from an AV system now than a ‘traditional’ system that would have been in operation only a few years ago – flexibility, reliability, intuitive interface – these are all key requirements, along with superior audio quality. A bonus to the new AV technology now being deployed within HE is the ability to record lessons, known as ‘lecture capture,’ providing essential information for a student’s reference material and faculty to create new lesson plans and online modules.

    Voice lift systems, once reserved for corporate boardrooms, has also had a major impact within the sector. The ability to amplify the voice in a natural, effective manner from participants sat socially distanced from each other in a large room, plus engage with students who may be collaborating remotely with intelligible, crystal clear audio, has not only helped meet health guidelines implemented post pandemic, but revolutionised the way lessons are now communicated, creating a much more balanced, comfortable learning experience for both student and academic.

    Investing in the future

    From our customers perspective and the feedback we’ve received at Shure, HE is looking at the long-term solution over a short-term ‘fix,’ with many investing in systems capable of meeting the new demands needed in the modern classroom environment.

    The need is two-fold; to continue to deliver a learning standard acceptable to the individual in the physical classroom experience and for the student collaborating remotely, and also to attract prospective students to the HE institution in the future.

    Scalable solutions have been a key request with a focus on maintaining and exceeding teaching standards. Prospective students are now not only judging HE institutions on the courses that they offer, but how those courses are delivered by the technology invested.

    Collaborative and active learning

    There seems to be a hybrid model whereby collaborative and active learning is rising, but there is also a trend to have flexible, easy to use systems in place that can meet daily challenges quickly and efficiently.

    HE has now witnessed the benefits of this new video conferencing technology and it’s unlikely to be a fleeting moment, rather an awakening of the possibilities now on offer to both faculty and student. At Shure, we envisage further adaptation and development, with HE investment driving AV technology forward to create the ‘smart’ classroom environment.

    As a manufacturer, we’ll continue to respond and support our customers who through their talent and sheer determination have provided HE with incredible solutions that continue to enhance the learning experience and connect academics and students anywhere in the world effortlessly and effectively.


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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