Flex@Pitt Hybrid Classroom Technology
Flex @ Pitt is an instructional model that accommodates both in-person and remote instructors and students. Pitt Information Technology and the University Center for Teaching and Learning are implementing hybrid classroom technology needed to facilitate this model.
Hybrid classroom technology is available in more than 180 locations across the Pittsburgh campus that are scheduled through the Office of the University Registrar. These include:
- General-purpose classrooms
- Non-traditional learning spaces, such as administrative or recreational areas
- Some priority rooms that are managed by a department and backfilled with Registrar classes
Visit registrar.pitt.edu/facultystaff/classroom-scheduling for a list of rooms where this technology is scheduled to be installed. This list is subject to change and will be updated as needed.
Pitt IT and our vendor partner, Radiant Technology, are installing the following hybrid classroom technology in each learning space:
- 43” stand monitor: Screen faces the front of the room to allow instructors to see remote participants, giving the feeling of being together in the classroom
- Auto-framing camera: Camera automatically follows the instructor within three pre-set views: podium view, front-focus view, and broad-focus view
- 8” Zoom Room touchpad: User-friendly controller allows for one-button launching and controlling of a Zoom Videoconferencing meeting
- Speaker and microphone: Provides clear audio for Zoom participants, and allows remote participants to be heard by those present in the classroom
- Student-facing camera: In the rooms that support it, a student facing camera has been added and set as the default camera. Faculty who are teaching in these rooms can easily switch back to the forward facing camera as needed. Rooms that have this camera are noted in the above link of the list of rooms with equipment.
Hybrid Classroom Experience
The Flex @ Pitt model is designed to facilitate remote teaching and learning, while also creating a unique in-class experience adaptable to whether or not an instructor is physically present in the learning space.
When an instructor is physically present in a Flex@Pitt learning space:
- Instructors can see and hear virtual attendees via Zoom through a monitor that faces the front of the classroom.
- Students participating via Zoom will be able to see and hear the instructor through a camera that also faces the front of the room.
- Instructors can use Zoom to share content from their device (e.g., PowerPoint slides or video)—that will be visible to remote participants in Zoom, as well as being displayed on the classroom’s existing overhead monitor.
- Students present in the learning space will be able to hear remote participants.
- A video feed of the learning space itself is not available for remote participants—they will be able to see students who are connected through Zoom.
When an instructor cannot be physically present in a Flex@Pitt learning space:
- Instructors broadcast audio/video and share content (e.g., PowerPoint slides or video) to remote and in-classroom participants using their computer and Zoom Videoconferencing.
- After turning on the equipment using the provided instructions, students who are physically present in the learning space will see the instructor's video and shared content on the classroom's existing overhead monitor if the room has one. If the classroom does not have an existing monitor, students will connect to the class on their personal computing device using Zoom.
- Virtual attendees will see/hear the instructor’s audio, video, and shared content on their individual computing device through Zoom.
- Students in the learning space, remote participants, and the instructor can interact with each other using their computing devices connected to the Zoom videoconference.
- In most rooms, a video feed of the learning space itself is not available; students who are connected through Zoom will be visible to the instructor and remote participants in Zoom. However in the rooms that have a student facing camera, a view of the students in the room will be visible and that camera will be the default camera for the equipment.
Technical Support and Training
The Flex @ Pitt technology is designed to be intuitive and easy to use so that the instructor or an on-site participant can turn on the equipment and start the meeting on their own.
- Clear, simple instructions will be posted in each space.
- The 24/7 IT Help Desk will be on call and available during all instruction hours for on-site support in the event of a technical issue or equipment malfunction.
- The University Center for Teaching and Learning will provide instructors with training and documentation on the new equipment. A training schedule, user documentation, and how-to videos will soon be available.