Transformational change is taking shape at the Natural Science Complex, where state-of-the-art classroom technology provides an unparalleled learning and teaching experience on campus.
NSC’s largest lecture halls (201 and 225), each accommodating up to 350 students, have been completely redesigned around technology that makes teaching more fluid and learning more immersive. Among the updates:
- A 30 foot wide video wall displays up to two inputs at once, side-by-side, on a revolutionary backlit display visible to everyone in the room in any ambient light level.
- Microphones at all other seats, provide students with a direct way, when activated by the instructor, to ask questions or provide answers that can be heard by everyone in the room and anyone joining in line.
- A board camera projects the instructor’s work in front of the class to all students. It also allows instructors to virtually share their chalkboard with students on Zoom.
“These new spaces are truly dynamic learning environments, with the ability to display document cameras, PowerPoint presentations, content sharing from personal devices, and more. says Chris Clune, director of IT customer service, whose team oversaw the transformation. “With the contents of the faculty blackboard on screen, it’s as if a student in the back row is in front of the class.”
UBIT designed the latest technological improvements in NSC classrooms around one goal: to provide an immersive and equitable experience for every student who attends, whether in person or virtually.
With more powerful networks and audiovisual tools making collaboration possible in new ways, UBIT has laid the foundation for the technological revolution in education over the past decade. When the pandemic hit, UBIT leveraged this groundwork to help UB faculty transition quickly to remote learning, while learning from their challenges and successes.
Critically, professors told UBIT that the challenges of teaching remotely are not that different from teaching in large lecture halls: in particular, finding ways to engage students despite the distance. – physical or virtual – between instructors and students.
So when it came time to update the NSC classrooms, UBIT focused on removing barriers to effective teaching in a large student hall, while providing flexibility for designs. course delivery hybrids and HyFlex.
For Brice Bible, vice president and chief information officer, these classrooms are more than just highly effective learning and teaching environments: they are also a powerful symbol of the potential of the UB community.
“[The 30-foot, dual displays] are flagship facilities for the university and are a key stop for visits by potential students,” notes Bible. “The reaction from these prospective students and parents is always ‘Wow – that’s awesome!’ It is truly great to be able to showcase the quality education we offer here at the University at Buffalo.
UB faculty and instructors can visit the UBIT website for detailed guides, as well as step-by-step videos, that walk instructors through all aspects of teaching technology at UB , from unlocking teaching stations to incorporating live virtual guests into in-person conferences.
UBIT also offers one-on-one, hands-on support for classroom technology. UB instructors can request an online consultationor call 716-645-3542 (press “2” for classroom support) to schedule a session with a classroom technology expert.