The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa continues to prepare for a challenging fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic that includes more online and hybrid course offerings. UH’s Information Technology Services and Center for Instructional Support staff have been preparing “zoom compatible” classrooms where students can rotate between attending in person or remotely.
“I am really proud of the many ways our staff has come together to handle the many challenges that come with the increased adoption of online and hybrid learning,” said Garret Yoshimi, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “Preparing classrooms for better flexibility in remote or in-person learning is a vital step for faculty and students to return for the fall semester.”
“Zoom compatible” means a classroom can be used for video conferencing with a camera, microphone, speakers and a large display. In the first phase of classroom preparation, 74 general use rooms of varying capacity in 20 buildings were selected for modification.
The plan is for faculty to be able to log into any room they teach from. While the modifications are referred to as “Zoom” compatible, multiple video conferencing platforms will be supported.
The biggest challenge for making classrooms remotely capable is capturing white board content. Zoom provides white board sharing capabilities, but some faculty members are not used to this method of instruction. Document cameras—electronic overheads that capture anything written on it—will be available in classrooms. This option is critical for math and/or science-based instruction where formulas are written out.
The preparation team hopes to finish these classrooms and have the resources to modify more spaces by the beginning of the fall semester.