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U. de Chile and its 100 hybrid classrooms

U. de Chile y sus 100 aulas híbridas More than 100 hybrid classrooms feature an advanced solution powered by Bose Videobar VB1 all-in-one USB conferencing devices.


Founded in 1842, the University of Chile is the oldest institution of higher education in the Andean country and one of the most important in the Americas. In its classrooms, 21 presidents and two Chilean writers awarded the Nobel Prize have been trained.

It has 15 faculties and five interdisciplinary institutes, distributed in five campuses in Santiago de Chile in which more than 43 thousand students are served. With the aim of ensuring that classes continue to run regardless of distance or any other external factor, the University of Chile began an ambitious online education project and hybrid classrooms in which Bose Professional technology plays a very important role.

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In mid-2020, during the hardest months of the pandemic, the university decided to develop an online learning project based on the integration of hybrid classrooms. The goal was for it to be ready to offer the best teaching-learning experience once the restrictions were relaxed and allowed the return to the classroom, even partially. The project was entrusted to the Vice-Rectory of IT, responsible for the technological strategy of the university, and its execution fell to the Office of Online Education.

Darío Riquelme Zornow, Project Manager at the Office of Online Education and leader of the project, explains that at the beginning they thought of a standardized solution for all classrooms, auditoriums and laboratories, however, the idea was quickly discarded once they understood that each faculty represents a different challenge.

"We talked to teachers to find out how they teach their classes. We asked them to show us the way they move around the classroom, to share with us their way of writing on the blackboard or using the projector. We also asked students to know how they participate in class when they are in face-to-face mode and how they do it in remote mode," explains Riquelme Zornow.

The Chilean company Tecnomove, a specialist in audiovisual solutions, was the winner of the public tender selected to develop the hybrid classroom solution. Tecnomove focused on the design of various solution models to respond to different space needs and class dynamics. After several tests and evaluating the performance of devices from different manufacturers, he decided to divide the project into three solution models: basic, intermediate and advanced.

Advanced Solution Hybrid Classrooms
universidad de chile, aulas híbridasThe so-called "advanced model" offers the simplest and most transparent user experience for the teacher, because its implementation is very agile and in just a few seconds he is ready to start his class, write on the white board, display a presentation or a video and share his teachings both with the students present in the classroom and with those who participate remotely.

For advanced model hybrid classrooms, Tecnomove integrated a solution that includes the all-in-one USB device for Bose Videobar VB1 conferencing, a Kaptivo camera to capture the whiteboard image and a Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub device from where the session is started and the other devices are controlled.

The Bose Videobar VB1 is mounted next to a flat panel on a support cart that offers great flexibility. The Kaptivo camera is located in front to capture the whiteboard image and the Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub device sits above the teacher's desk for easy operation.

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This configuration responds to the demands of having a clean installation, without multiple cables and connections that could become possible points of failure, as well as an agile and intuitive operation.

As of August 2022, Tecnomove, with the support of the distribution company MMT, had installed more than 100 units of the Bose Videobar VB1 in different classrooms, rooms and small auditoriums in the different faculties and institutes.

The concept of hybrid classrooms seeks to make teachers feel comfortable when teaching their classes again and this includes being able to move freely while talking. The technology of six microphones with beam direction and the configuration of capture areas of the VB1 Videobar solves this need, since the teacher's voice is captured with great clarity regardless of whether he moves from one side to another by the front of the classroom.

The audio quality of the Bose Videobar VB1 speakers helps make the voice of remote students intelligible so that both the teacher and classmates in the classroom hear clearly. This intelligibility is essential when it is the teachers who teach their class remotely, because without a clear audio it would be impossible to maintain the attention of the students.

For remote students, it is important to see the teacher's movements, both their movements around the front of the classroom and the gesticulation of their arms and hands. The VB1's 4K Ultra HD camera has a self-framing feature that makes it easy to set the image in an open frame to see the full-body teacher or zoom in for a mid-shot.

Thanks to these functions, students who take the class remotely live an experience much closer to what happens inside the classroom and have the feeling of actively participating with their classmates and teachers.

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Ready to get back to school from anywhere
universidad de chile, aulas híbridasLike the rest of the hybrid classrooms, the more than 100 classrooms that have the advanced solution with Bose, Lenovo and Kaptivo technologies have delivered positive results during the first months of their implementation.

Riquelme Zornow highlights the ease and agility with which teachers start their classes without complications of any kind. In addition, the audio and video quality with which the classes are transmitted is ideal for recording them and creating a library for students to consult on demand.

The University of Chile considers this project as part of its academic strategy for the future. For example, it is evaluated to use hybrid classrooms in postgraduate programs in order to expand the scope and incorporate students from other cities in Chile and have guest professors from other universities.

"Collaborating with the University of Chile represents a great privilege because the impact of these solutions goes beyond technology, we know that in some way we are contributing to the education of young people in our country," says Carol Noches, Sales Manager of Tecnomove.

"I am very satisfied with the progress we have of the project, I feel very calm with what we have achieved. The classes flow and the hybrid experience is very similar to what teachers and students want. I have the opportunity to visit each faculty and learn about the needs of users, so I realize that we are meeting the expectations of the university in terms of the scope of the solution, the delivery time and the budget assigned, "concludes Riquelme Zornow.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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