One of the last challenges I have faced in this project is integrating audio from remote participants in such a way that classroom students can hear them clearly. To solve this issue I’ve patched the Yamaha mixer into the room sound system by disconnecting the sound system from the projector. Now students in the classroom can hear clearly the remote students, my own voice is amplified, and the mixer through a loopback feature is able to include that audio in the recording made by Zoom. We have now solved both the video problem by using an iPad monitor connected to the projector and we have solved the audio problem by bypassing the projector and plugging directly into the amplifier on the ceiling.
In all my classes, students may freely choose whether to attend in person or remotely and switch between those modalities. It seems to me, that this kind of multi-modality provides not only an advantage during the pandemic but also opens up possibilities for expanding enrollments in classes, especially under-enrolled classes like Greek, in a post-pandemic context.
Now that the audio and video basic problems have been solved, I’m going to be monitoring feedback from students to tweak approaches and work on improving effectiveness. I do want to explore the possibility of adjusting equalizer settings so as to improve the ability of students to hear upper tones and consonants from me as I’m speaking through a mask.
One of the challenges of this work over a longer period is the setup time. It typically takes me a good 20 minutes to unpack, put in place, and double check the equipment settings and the equipment itself prior to class. Since it is best to open the Zom session at least 10 minutes before class, that means I need to access the classroom 30 minutes before the start of class. That of course is not a viable operational approach in classrooms that need to be used to the max. Therefore some kind of dedicated room or dedicated storage in a room will be necessary to speed the setup process.
Overall, I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to do so far. It is a lot of work. but it has given distinct options to students.