Stellenbosch University
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SU providing a hybrid solution to learning
Author: Operations and Finance
Published: 29/03/2021

With students returning to campus, they will soon be introduced to the new Extended Learning Spaces Project (ELS) as part of SU’s fast-track learning and teaching digitalization strategy, including hybrid learning. 

Our Information Technology and Facility Management teams has been hard at work implementing state-of-the-art video streaming capabilities to all schedulable lecture rooms.  

The project will deliver an integrated and consistent solution to enable a teaching model supporting simultaneous in-class and online learning. Using the Microsoft Teams platform, lecturers can run classes with half of the students being in attendance. The other half will be joining the class remotely and, in this way, both groups having a similar learning experience.

The project will integrate the in-class systems with the Microsoft Teams environment as well as with SUNLearn, seamlessly transmitting audio and video while also maintaining a high quality of content. The sessions will also be recorded for students to review.  The system is designed to be largely automated, and controls will be intuitive and easy to use, minimising the burden on the lecturers. Part of the project is to establish the support and maintenance structures as well as sustainable funding of the solution.

The aim is to equip most University schedulable lecture venues by end of May 2021. The remaining schedulable venues will be equipped in the next phase. The remaining schedulable venues will be equipped in the next phase.

Currently, Facilities Management is finalising the design solutions. To restrict the installation time in the classroom to the minimum it was decided to design a stand-alone Audio-Visual (AV) Console that can plug-and-play into the variety of lecture desks present in lecture rooms across campus. This approach will standardise the installation and limit the disruption time to lecture rooms.