Hybrid Seminar Room
Under the Distance Learning and Distance Assessment initiative of the MyScore project, the Department of Physics at RWTH is collaborating with two of its IDEA League partners to share courses at the Master’s Level. To ensure interactive online participation of the partner university students in such courses held in Aachen, as also to facilitate courses with hybrid format in general, a seminar room was recently converted into a hybrid seminar room via the MyScore project.
The seminar room is equipped with a video conferencing system. A high-quality microphone array integrated into the ceiling enables audio transmission from this room without any necessity of additional handheld, lavalier or headset microphones, for both lecturers and on-site students. Its automatic detection and amplification of the speaker (lecturer/students) makes it possible to arrange any sitting order/table constellation etc. in this room. The video transmission is enabled via two cameras, which show both the lecturer and the audience, and also allow usage of the analogue whiteboards in this room. The on-line students, joining via Zoom, can be seen on a screen and heard via the sound system. For talks/presentations/slide-shows, an already integrated smartboard can also be used and screen-shared with the online participants.
This first two courses held in this room were the Bridging Courses in Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Physics, organized by the Master’s College – a joint venture of the Department of Physics and the RWTH International Academy for the current and new students of the Master’s Program, to aid clearing admission conditions. These courses comprise of lectures, tutorials and Hands-On exercise sessions on a daily basis for a total duration of two months starting mid-August. Though typically in-person courses, this year a hybrid format for both were offered, especially to accommodate the new students who could not reach Aachen in time due to the pandemic. The usability of the seminar room was readily recognized and appreciated by both on-site and online students (joining from India, China and Taiwan), as it facilitated interactive participation and extensive communication on all fronts. Both the courses and the hybrid seminar room were rated positively by the students in an evaluation that was conducted later.