This update is a big one as we’re ready to share our Dual-Mode roll out plan for hybrid teaching and give you a heads up about the upcoming onboarding opportunities that will help you get comfortable with the new facilities.
- From Fri 10 December* staff will be able to get a hands-on experience with Dual-Mode in the redeveloped Eduzone in the Main Library. There will be an online booking system for this which will go live on Fri 03 December. Details to follow.
- Installation will begin across the 50 allocated rooms on Mon 13 Dec, coinciding with the start of exams to minimise disruption to teaching.
- Dual-Mode installation will continue before and after the Christmas break and be complete for the start of Semester 2 (Mon 17 Jan).
Read on for more detail about the installations and the onboarding opportunities.
- Dual-Mode Timeline
- Installation Notes
- Onboarding Plan
- What’s Next?
To start us off, here is the install timeline starting from the publication of this post to the start of Semester 2, where we aim to have all of the allocated Hybrid Teaching Spaces upgraded to Dual-Mode:
Park Place Innovation Space completed
Park place will become home to a project space for experimenting and developing future digital solutions.
Beta Control Panel Completed
One of the final pieces of the Dual-Mode puzzle, the control panel has been specifically designed to make using these rooms as easy and intuitive as possible.
Eduzone ‘Showroom’ Ready for testing
The Eduzone is being fitted to be an open, hands-on space where instructors can come and learn and experiment with both the equipment and their practice. We will arrange early access to support staff and Digital Champions.
The Eduzone will be made available to book and our onboarding plan begins. Read more about this plan later in this article.
Rapid deployment of Dual-Mode begins
With use of teaching rooms significantly reduced due to exams, installation across the designated rooms will proceed at pace.
Enjoy the Christmas break – we all deserve it!
Dual-Mode deployment continues
With the University re-opening, we will continue work on the installations across campus.
50 Hybrid Teaching Spaces upgraded to Dual-Mode
This is the key target. We will have the 50 rooms installed, tested and ready to go for Semester 2.
Semester 2 begins
Early life support kicks in and as Dual Mode begins to be used in classes, we will be on hand to support you.
Remind me what Dual-Mode is, again?
It’s been a while since we talked about what we mean by Hybrid, Capture & Stream and Dual-Mode so let’s do a little refresher:
- Our Hybrid teaching spaces are rooms that enable the teaching of online and in-person students to be taught simultaneously in a synchronous teaching session.
- Capture & Stream was the intermediary solution put in place to support some level of hybrid teaching across Semester 1. It had specific limitations around online and in-person students interacting but does provide the ability for both participant sets to engage with the teaching and access recordings asynchronously where appropriate.
- Dual-Mode is our fully realised hybrid solution allowing online and in-person students to see and hear each other as well as engage with any presentation from the lecturer and later view any recordings.
So, Dual-Mode is being installed to replace the existing Capture & Stream kit in these rooms and will move us from a limited intermediary solution to full hybrid. It represents a complete replacement of the existing kit in these teaching rooms and a brand new, custom design control panel intended to make sure that although the equipment is fancy and new, the experience for lecturers is intuitive and pain-free.
Avoiding disruption to teaching
Those with an attention to detail might recall that we previously spoke about Dual-Mode being installed throughout Semester 1, yet now we are saying it will be installed from the start of exams on December 13th. This change of tac is partly due to delays in our supply chain and partly by design. One example of the supply issues the team has been dealing with is that we had to completely change the originally ordered control panels because the original items could not be sourced for love nor money as the entire world upgrades it’s hybrid meeting/teaching capability, causing significant delay to the key design and programming process. As this delay pushed us further into the semester, we decided that the best strategy was to target all our installation resource into the key weeks before and after Christmas, when room usage is at a minimum. We feel that we’ve landed on a more elegant solution than trying to interweave installation with ongoing teaching and we will strive to see that borne out in practice.
We do recognise that there does continue to be some room use between 13 December and 14 January. We will be working closely with Steve Boarder and the Timetable team to ensure that we identify and liaise directly with any bookings that may be affected. We do not envisage any disruption so long as we see the bookings and plan around them. We will get in direct touch with individuals if required.
Quality assurance and meeting the deadline
The next concerns people will likely have how we will ensure that a) we complete in time for Sem 2, and b) it all works when you start showing up to your teaching sessions – nobody wants to walk into half-finished rooms or find it not even working. Here are some of the key things we are doing to ensure the quality and the timeliness of the installations:
The installation work has been broken down into phases to allow work to be one well in advance of the final install. For example, all but 2 of the 50 rooms already have the ceiling mounted cameras and mics in place as well as the literal thousands of meters of cabling. Similarly, the desks complete with computers, monitors, control devices and various other things with flashing lights have already been constructed, ready to be swapped in and replace the existing old desk. What this simply means is that we’ve already done most of the work and this final install phase we are entering is mostly about swapping out the last of the kit, plugging things in and proceeding with commissioning.
Good planning, multiple teams, long hours
Working with our AV partners, Steamtech (who, incidentally, have been key to making any of this possible) we will be able to action multiple installs per day across campus. We will be starting slow (1-2 per day) but we will progress to a pace much closer to 5-6 per day as we progress. This installation challenge is being thoroughly planned and everyone involved is committed to deliver.
Two layers of testing
To ensure that what is delivered works on the day, we will be doing a two-part quality check. Firstly, once an install is completed, it will need to pass a technical check that looks at things like the connectivity of every device involved and a core functionality checklist. Secondly, a separate person will then put the room through a real-world-use test basically meaning we will run a scripted hybrid teaching session including running a presentation, connecting to a Collaborate room and having someone online engage with someone in the room.
But still… what if something does go wrong?
Of course, It would be naive to try and say that we’re 100% certain that it will all be perfect. However, we are committed to the following:
- We will have a fall-back plan for any room that for whatever reason is not functional for the start of Sem 2. This fallback will simply be the existing Capture & Stream kit, so worst case scenario is that until the issue is remedied, the room will simply be used as it was in Sem 1.
- We will publish updates in the run up to, and after Christmas detailing our progress from 0 to 50 rooms. This way you will be able to track our progress and hold us to account if we fall behind.
- We are doubling our dedicated hybrid support team from 2 (currently the very hardworking duo of Jonathan Walker & Joshua Preen) to 4. This team work alongside the existing EUS on-site team to support the roll-out and use of hybrid.
- If anything does go wrong, we will inform the community immediately detailing the issue and the resolution steps we will take.
We are doing everything in our power to meet our deadline and ensure that when lecturers and students begin using the rooms in Semester 2, everything is functional and supported.
When Capture & Stream came in at the start of Sem 1, there was a relatively short window for the teaching community to learn and get used to the equipment. This time around we intend to improve on that significantly for Dual-Mode with a range of different onboarding options, including uninterrupted access to a bookable test room (Eduzone) starting Wednesday, 08 December.
From 08/12, you will be able to book staffed and un-staffed, 1/2 hour slots in the Eduzone to get direct hands-on time with Dual-Mode.
We will publish a walkthrough video detailing each step of the process. This can be watched along side the guides or as a standalone video.
Online + Print Guides
Concise visual instructions and a troubleshooting guide will be published along with full service description.
Control Panel Simulation
You will be able to access a simulation of the newly designed control panels so you can practice before you even enter a room.
Here are the key communication to look out for:
- Roll-out schedule (26/11): The article you are reading right now!
- Detailed Onboarding Plan (02/12): Detailed schedule for onboarding opportunities including a link to the Eduzone booking system. Published on this blog.
- All-staff Email (02/12): Summary of the schedule and the onboarding plan linking to these articles.
- Progress Update (wc 20/12): Details of how many rooms installed, etc.. Including reminders about onboarding opportunities. Published on this blog.
- Progress Update (wc 10/01): Details of how many rooms installed, etc.. Including reminders about onboarding opportunities. Published on this blog.
- Pre-Semester Update (14/01): Final update before Semester 2 – hopefully announcing complete success of the installations!
There really is so much I could be squeezing into this update, but for now here’s a wee summary of what else to look out for in the new year.
- Mobile hybrid trollies for Architecture and DJCAD
- New Micro-studios including more booking options and full service documentation.
- Redistribution of decommissioned equipment (Dual-Mode will free up lots of cameras and mics for wider distribution).
- Transition of Hybrid ‘Project’ into new Teaching Delivery and Capture ‘Service’.
- New funding has been allocated to start addressing large lecture theatres, hybrid meeting spaces and the remaining teaching rooms outside of the core 50.
There’s a lot of information for you to digest and look out for more coming out next week. I really can’t emphasis enough how much work is going on in the background to make all this happen and continue to be grateful for the positive feedback we’ve received from staff and students. As I’ve said before, our key goal is to deliver this new capability to enhance the student experience without adding undue stress at a challenging time for the University. Please keep telling us what we’re getting right and what we’re getting wrong. Have a great weekend wherever you are!