In University West’s recently inaugurated hybrid teaching rooms, students learning remotely and on campus can communicate on the same terms. Photography: Andreas Borg
This week, six new hybrid teaching rooms were opened at University West. They are part of the University’s investment in hybrid teaching, whereby students can be taught in different ways – on campus, wholly online or using a blend of both options.
The new teaching rooms make use of advanced technology to give all students a comparable experience irrespective of where they are. Microphones in the ceiling, multiple screens on the walls and smart control systems mean that everyone can hear and see each other and can be involved in the course on the same conditions.
“We’ve done a few test lectures in the hybrid rooms and I’m really pleased,” says Maria Erlandsson, who teaches on the Social-Psychiatric Care programme offered in both Trollhättan and at Campus Västervik. “The students feel they can communicate with each other and with teachers more naturally.”
Maria and her teaching colleagues have also been able to test out some new educational approaches in their teaching.
“The technology opens up some entirely new possibilities and it’s particularly valuable for those of us with students on two campuses,” says Maria. “Teaching in the hybrid rooms helps make the students feel more that they are part of the same class, rather than there being an “us and them” situation.”
“It’s also easier to bring in external lecturers when there is high quality audio-visual provision. And if I get a cold I can decide to teach from my computer at home. In the future we’ll be able to let students have that flexibility too.”
“We will develop our educational methods and our courses as we discover new ways of using the technology. And alongside that we will monitor what the students feel about it and evaluate new setups.”
The new hybrid rooms project has been an opportunity for several of the university’s units to work together in a new way. The IT department, Campus Support and the ICT and Media Support department (IMS) have taken an integrative approach to everything from technological solutions to furnishings.
“The project has been led by IMS’s Learning Technologist Erik Malmsköld, who has put a lot of effort into ensuring there is widespread buy-in within the university,” says Johansson. “We also decided to run a number of pilot projects, and have had valuable feedback from those from teachers and students.”
“I’m convinced that this way of working will enhance our ability to create a good model for flexible teaching.”
The university’s six new hybrid teaching rooms can accommodate between 20 and 120 people. There are plans to build another two hybrid teaching rooms and a number of hybrid group spaces for 4-8 people by 2022.
“This investment in new teaching environments falls within our major infrastructure project,” says Johansson. “It’s part of ensuring the campus is developed to maintain the university’s attractiveness in the future.”
“Our aim, where possible, is for teaching to be accessible in a more flexible way. “That allows us to make higher education accessible for more people.”
Contact: Lars Johansson, University West
Further information: About the design of the hybrid rooms (in Swedish)