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UNLV Adds Dozens of Hyflex Classrooms

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has rolled out 58 hyflex classrooms.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has rolled out 58 hyflex classrooms. Photo: UNLV

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has introduced a number of hyflex classrooms, capable of accommodating students attending in person and online. In "RebelFlex" courses, as they're dubbed, one group of students meets in the classroom for each scheduled session, while a second group joins remotely at the same time. Everybody interacts with the instructor and classmates in real time using Webex or a similar technology.

According to the university, the new spaces allow for students to enroll in the section that fits their preferred learning style, helps them engage in active learning reflective of current work environments and lets instructors explore new teaching techniques.

The institution piloted the use of the new spaces during the fall semester. Since then, the Office of Information Technology has converted 58 rooms into RebelFlex classrooms, ranging from 25 seats to 179 seats.

The technology includes:

The UNLV Office of Information Technology said the Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 was easy to install and an integral part of UNLV's RebelFlex classroom setup.

The UNLV Office of Information Technology said the Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 was easy to install and an integral part of UNLV's RebelFlex classroom setup. Photo: UNLV

"It was what I like to call the Swiss Army Knife of classrooms because it's a typical classroom, but we added lecture capture and web conferencing into the rooms," said Senior AV/IT Systems Specialist Frank Alaimo, in a press release. "Now the room has synchronous and asynchronous capabilities, recording capabilities, live 'in-the-room' capabilities — it has everything."

One specific requirement from university administration was that each room had to be a technical 'carbon copy' of the others. "While the rooms might be different sizes and contain different furniture, it was important for us to deliver similar functionality in each room," Alaimo explained. "One thing we wanted to guarantee for our instructors was that when they go from one building to another, the touch panel would be exactly the same and they will be able to record lectures while experiencing top-quality AV conferencing."

The school had already adopted Sennheiser's SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphones for faculty and Sennheiser Control Cockpit for AV management. The addition of the TCC2 ceiling microphones added the capacity to capture both students and the instructor, as he or she might choose to move about the room.

The university had also implemented Audinate Dante, for managing audio over IP, and Sennheiser's Control Cockpit, for automating AV workflow.

"Dante with TCC2 makes it a lot easier, because everything shows up as a network device," said UNLV Classroom Control Systems Specialist Michael Theil. "Being able to route all the devices with a simple click of a mouse simplifies everything, and it means that we can monitor the performance with Control Cockpit right here in the office. Also, with the Dante connectivity, I am able to merge the conferencing capabilities of two or more rooms quickly if needed."

Using Sennheiser Control Cockpit, the IT team monitors AV aspects such as battery levels and muting functionality. "This kind of remote monitoring through Control Cockpit gives us added confidence that when someone walks into the room, there won't be issues. We know everything will just work as it should," noted Theil.

To help test pilots get up to speed on the new setup, the IT team provided an assistant in each room to lend support, so instructors could stay focused on their teaching.

In addition to several more RebelFlex classrooms that are currently in the planning stages, the IT team is working on plans to convert a campus auditorium that is currently undergoing renovation: "The auditorium has all the recording features already in place, so if the administration decides to move forward, we'll be ready to roll," Alaimo said.

"We are already getting positive feedback," said Theil. "We have teachers calling us and saying, 'I need you to turn my room into a RebelFlex room by tomorrow.' Additionally, we are seeing a push from our administration to get more and more rooms online."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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