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Classroom Technology

Introduction

While not all classrooms have dedicated cameras and microphones for video conferencing, most have been equipped with basic USB webcams that allow faculty to teach to both in-person and online audiences. This page will cover how to make use of the equipment available in a standard classroom with a webcam to get started teaching.

Classroom photo

(For a short video walk-through of the basic steps to take to teach a class streamed to Zoom with a PowerPoint presentation in a standard classroom, please check out the Quick Start Video below).

Podium

You will likely get started at the podium at the front of the room. The instructor's PC should be on and logged into to a classroom account when you arrive. (If the PC's monitors appear off, just move the mouse to wake them back up.) 

Each classroom PC has the same two monitor setup for instructors to work with (see photo below):

Photo of classroom monitors

Typical monitor setup for classroom PCs

When working at the podium computer, keep in mind the following:

  • These monitors are set up to function as an extended desktop (meaning items can be clicked and dragged from one screen to the next.)
  • The larger, widescreen monitor (usually - but not always - on the left) duplicates what is seen by the students on the classroom displays and/or projection screens. For that reason, this is the monitor to use for in-class presentations.
  • The second smaller screen should only be visible to the instructor and can be used to keep track of Zoom sessions or display notes or anything else that doesn't need to be seen by the class.
  • The larger monitors all have touchscreen capabilities, which can be useful when using the whiteboard functions in either Zoom or Collaborate. Styluses can be used with these monitors, but please note that not all styluses are compatible.

Turning on displays and sound system

To turn on the display screens and sound system in any of the classrooms, you will need to use the room's AV control panel. This is generally (but not always) a white panel on the wall near the podium (see photo below).

AV control panel photo

Before starting a class, you will want to take the following steps:

  1. Make sure that that the "On" button at the the top left is selected. This will turn on the room's display (which will be either a projector screen or a large monitor facing the class) and sound system.
  2. Select a presentation source. For most PowerPoint, PDF, or internet presentations this would be the classroom PC. You can select this by clicking the PC button from the choices at the right (if it's not already selected).

Webcams

Most of the classrooms without separate cameras and microphones will have a USB webcam available at the podium. (If you are teaching in a classroom without any kind of camera, please contact the Help Desk, and they can install a webcam.) These will work with both Zoom and Collaborate and can function both as camera and microphone.

There are some limitations to be aware of when working with a webcam. For one, camera angles are limited to those that can be achieved by moving the camera around the area of the podium. Additionally, while the audio should be of decent enough quality for the students attending online, the instructor will need to be in somewhat close proximity to the camera to be heard well, and sound from the classroom may not be picked up as well as with some of the other setups.

Webcam with stand

Tips for working with webcams:
  • The mics tend to work directionally, so try to be in front of the camera when speaking.
  • The camera need not be mounted on the monitor itself. If you prefer to walk around the front of the classroom, try to position the camera so you will be visible anywhere within that area.

Microphones/Audio

A number of the traditional classrooms have lectern or wireless mics available at the instructor's computer. These only connect to the sound system in the room, but are useful if students sitting in class are having trouble hearing you.

Depending on the room you may have a choice of the following:

  • Lectern mic. These mics are usually on by default. If you are planning on staying within a short distance of the instructor's workstation, this should allow you to be heard by both your local and distance students.
  • Wireless mics: Either a lavalier or handheld. Likely the better choice if you plan to move around as you teach. These should connect to the sound system automatically when turned on.
Lectern mic image Wireless Mics photo
Lectern(left) and wireless handheld and lav mics.
Tips for using microphones
  • For lav mics, make sure mic is placed around the middle of your chest, about four or five inches from your chin, with the mic pointing directly at your face. (The mics swivel on the clips to enable best placement).
  • If using a wireless mic, be careful not to speak directly in front of the lectern mic, as this may cause interference or feedback.
  • While IS makes efforts to ensure all the wireless mics have fresh batteries, bringing a couple AA batteries as a backup is recommended.

Sharing presentations to online and in-person audiences

If you are planning on sharing an on-screen presentation (like a PowerPoint or pdf document) to both an in-person audience and an audience watching online, you will want to be careful that both audiences will see the same thing. To start, you want to make sure you have opened your presentation to the larger, widescreen monitor at the instructor's workstation, as this will ensure it is seen by the local students. From there, the directions vary by which web conferencing tool you are using. Specific directions for Zoom and Collaborate follow below.

Zoom

In Zoom, once your presentation is open, click the green "Share Screen" button at the bottom of your Zoom window. This will open up a window, similar to the one in the image below, which will give a number of options for sharing to Zoom. From here, take the following steps:

  1. Select the whole screen with your presentation on it, (rather than just sharing the application with your presentation, like PowerPoint). In most of the classrooms this will be "Screen 1", but to be sure, look for the large white numbers that appear at the top left of each of your monitors, as these will identify "Screen 1" and "Screen 2" within Zoom.
  2. If you are going to be sharing video content with your class, select both the "Share sound" and "Optimize for video clip" options at the bottom of the selection screen.
  3. Once you are finished with these selections, hit the blue "Share" button. There should be a thin green border around of your widescreen monitor if you have shared the correct content.

Zoom screen share dialog with highlighted areas

Collaborate

Collaborate's screensharing works in a similar fashion. Once your presentation is open, access the Collaborate panel by clicking the purple tab at the bottom right of your screen (see photo below).

Collaborate meeting with panel control highlighted

This will bring up the Collaborate Panel on the right hand side of the screen. From here, take the following steps:

  1. From the bottom of the Collaborate panel select the third tab, labelled "Share Content".
  2. From the options for sharing content that appear, select "Share Application/Screen."

Collaborate Share Content Panel with option highlighted

This will bring up the dialog you see below. From here:

  1. Make sure the "Entire Screen" option is selected at the top.
  2. Select the image from your widescreen monitor from the two choices of screens (this is usually, but not always, "Screen 1").
  3. If you plan to share any video or audio content, select the "Share system audio" checkbox at the bottom.
  4. When done with these selections, hit the blue "Share" button, and you should see the correct content displaying in your Collaborate session.

Collaborate Share Selection Screen

Using the Overhead Document Camera

Overhead document camera

Many of the classrooms have built-in overhead document cameras, located by the instructor’s computer, that can be used to display documents, diagrams or formulas to students in class. To select these cameras as the source for the in-class projector/displays, return to the AV panel and select the button labelled "Doc Cam." The feed from the document camera should now appear on the displays the in-person students can see. Please note: these cameras will not connect directly to Zoom or Collaborate, so you will only want to use them for in-person sessions. Please see the instructions for USB document cameras if you need to share with an online audience.


Adjusting the image from the document camera can be done with the Wolfvision remote (see image below). Use the zoom control (1) to zoom the image in and out, and use the autofocus button (2) to turn the auto-focus on and off to quickly get the image in focus.

Document camera remote with zoom and autofocus controls highlighted

The ceiling-mounted document cameras are all positioned above tables with dry erase surfaces. The height of these tables can be adjusted by using the up and down buttons that can be found on the front side of the table on the right (see image below)

.Corner of dry erase table surface with up and down buttons visible

Using a USB document camera with Zoom and Collaborate

For faculty who would like to use a webcam for both in-person and online students IS will, upon request, provide portable USB document cameras that can be used both with the in-class displays and Zoom or Collaborate.

Photo of USB Document Camera

KODAK NUSCAN document cameras are available from the Help Desk

These will plug directly into the computer at the podium and can then be selected as a camera source within your online meeting software. Instructions for using these document cameras with both Zoom and Collaborate follow below.

Zoom

To share the cameras with your students on Zoom, you will want to select the green "Share" button at the bottom of your Zoom meeting window. This will bring up a window like the one below. From here, take the following steps:

  1. Click the "Advanced" tab at the top right.
  2. Select "Content from 2nd camera"
  3. Click the blue "Share" button at the bottom right.

Zoom share selection screen photo

The video feed should display in the Zoom window on your desktop. For your in-person students to see the document camera, make sure that the window sharing the camera is on the widescreen monitor that duplicates to the larger classroom displays.

Collaborate

To share the cameras with your students on Collaborate, you will first want to open up the Collaborate panel by clicking the purple tab at the bottom right of your browser.

Once the Collaborate panel pops out, you will want to do the following:

  1. Select the third, "Share Content", tab at the bottom of the panel (circled below).
  2. Then, from the choices available, select "Share Camera."

Collaborate panel with sharing options selected

  1. You should see two choices for cameras to share (see image below). The camera labelled "KODAK NUSCAN Q500..." will share the document camera.

Collaborate Camera sharing options

  1. You will get a video preview of the feed from the camera. Once you've confirmed it's the right camera, just click "Share Camera."

Collaborate Share Camera Video Preview screen with Share button highlighted

The video feed should display in the Collaborate window on your desktop. For your in-person students to see the document camera, make sure that the window sharing the camera is on the widescreen monitor that duplicates to the larger classroom displays.

Using the Zoom Whiteboard

A number of faculty find it challenging to use the physical whiteboard in the classroom or lecture hall while also trying to accommodate students watching online. One workaround is to use the Whiteboard feature in Zoom. When shared to the large classroom displays, this feature allows faculty to sketch formulas, notes and drawings that both the online students and in-person students can see. Additionally, since it works with the touchscreen functionality of the widescreen classroom monitors, faculty can draw fairly naturally using the Whiteboard, especially when using a stylus.

This feature can be accessed by clicking the green "Share" button at the bottom of your Zoom meeting window. From the selection screen that pops up (see image below), do the following:

  1. Select Whiteboard from the available options
  2. Click the blue "Share" button.

Zoom sharing selection screen

This will bring you to a screen like the one you see below.

Zoom whiteboard image

As with sharing any presentation, make sure to display the whiteboard on the larger monitor that feeds to the in-class displays, so that your in-person students can see it. The Whiteboard defaults to the "draw" setting and either the mouse or touchscreen can be used to draw on the whiteboard.

Wrapping up

Remember to do the following upon finishing a class:

  1. Turn off the in-class projector/displays. Hit the "Off" button under the "Display" heading at the top left of the AV Control Panel.
  2. Make sure you have logged out of Zoom. If from the Zoom home screen you can still see an icon with your initials or profile photo in the top right corner (see image below), (A) click on that icon and (B) select "Sign out" from the drop-down menu that appears.

    Zoom home screen image

  3. Close all open browsers and applications. This is especially important if you logged into any online accounts like email or Blackboard, as the next people using the classrooms may be able to access your accounts if any browser windows are left open.

  4. Leave the instructor's workstation on and logged in to the classroom account. Additionally, if you made any changes to the desktop's configuration, please set them back to how they were when you arrived.

Quick Start Video

A video overview covering the basic steps needed to run a class over Zoom with a PowerPoint Presentation using a USB camera in one of our classrooms.

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