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Vanderbilt University is making substantial investments in classroom technology to support faculty as the fall semester approaches. The strategy includes upgrading classroom technology to support livestreaming and recording in classrooms, building new video recording studios, and training faculty in both new and existing technology available in the classroom.
“Vanderbilt is a world leader in providing on-campus, in-person education. As we return to classes on campus this fall, we are preparing for adaptive educational design to meet the challenges of the COVID crisis while maintaining our excellence,” said Tracey George, vice provost for faculty affairs. “We will build in adaptability that allows us to fulfill our mission as circumstances shift. Adaptive educational design requires this investment in our infrastructure.”
A number of large classrooms will be outfitted with a new technology package that captures audio and video of the instructor and, in some cases, audio of students. These classrooms were selected based on input from deans regarding priority and by working with the University Registrar’s office to understand the capacity and use of the rooms.
In addition, Vanderbilt University Information Technology and the Office of Faculty Affairs are working together to assure that all other classrooms accommodate primary recording and streaming methods using faculty members’ laptops, which is the easiest, most readily available and most familiar way to capture a class through BrightSpace or Zoom for synchronous or asynchronous remote distribution.
The Center for Teaching and VUIT are collaborating to train and support faculty so they understand how to use the available tools. For example, the Center for Teaching is offering an Online Course Design Institute, a two-week online experience intended to help participants prepare to teach an online course.
“We want to do what we can to meet the learning needs of all of our students this fall,” said Derek Bruff, director of the Center for Teaching and principal senior lecturer in mathematics. “The Center and our partners are working to equip faculty with the pedagogical and technical skills they need to teach effectively across multiple modalities. I am continually impressed at the enthusiasm and creativity our faculty bring to this work.”
VUIT has already installed one of the new technology packages in Flynn Auditorium at the Law School. It will serve as a prototype to enable VU to develop training for faculty on the equipment.
“Given Vanderbilt’s globally coveted position as creators of knowledge, it is imperative that we creatively apply technology to accelerate and innovate in our ability to teach, discover and serve,” Vice Chancellor for Information Technology John Lutz said.