Faced with teaching and learning challenges resulting from the pandemic, Harvard Business School (HBS) needed to provide a learning experience to accommodate both remote and in-classroom students. To meet the challenge, a collaborative team within HBS IT designed novel hybrid classrooms to maintain the integrity of the classroom experience, by accommodating both classroom and remote students within a familiar teaching environment.

HBS audio-visual engineers and instructional designers faced significant design requirements. First, they needed the classroom chalkboards and class materials to be clearly visible to remote students, allowing professors to teach in the classroom the way they did prior to the pandemic. Secondly, they had to capture the faces of individual classroom and remote students and arrange for them to be seen together simultaneously.

They needed a simple pathway to support remote students. The ideal conduit was video teleconferencing, in which the key challenge was incorporating the variety of dynamic content, such as blackboards, whiteboards, cameras and PC presentations, into these videoconferencing sessions. To accomplish this, they used the multi-mage display capability of RGB Spectrum’s QuadView multiviewer, a unique solution that provides a method of delivering a richer distance learning experience.

QuadView UHDx displays up to four switchable sources simultaneously in a consolidated image in a variety of customizable layouts. Each hybrid classroom contains a variety of sources for student viewing. The classroom is equipped with a 4K camera, capturing a wide shot of the educator’s blackboard and front of room and a second showing students in the classroom. Additional sources include document cameras. The QuadView UHDx combines up to four of these sources in windows and feeds a single, consolidated output into the video teleconferencing application distributed to remote students. The multiviewer provides remote students with a correlated view of the classroom, fellow classmates and professor, to foster classroom interaction.

We needed a multiviewer that preserved the high 4K image quality of the cameras plus the flexibility of custom layouts, window layering, and window cropping. The RGB Spectrum QuadView was the only product on the market that could meet these requirements at an affordable price point. It makes remote students a part of the classroom experience,” explained HBS Senior AV Engineer, Justin Fowler.

The QuadView UHDx provides a customizable multiviewer capability that has enabled HBS to address the pandemic-inspired challenges of continuing its teaching in distance learning circumstances. (Photo via RGB Spectrum)

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