4 minute read

Active learning classroom of the future becomes a reality at UNC

Lavonne Boutcher
By Lavonne Boutcher on Sep 12, 2018 6:00:00 AM
Active learning classroom of the future becomes a reality at UNC

From the moment he started teaching 10 years ago, Gary Kayye knew the traditional classroom was a poor fit for his tech-savvy students. Gary is an assistant professor in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Over the years, he tried many times to move beyond static lectures by enriching the classroom experience with collaboration tools. But virtually every effort proved to be a challenge.

Then the university asked him to design his dream classroom, and that changed everything for him and his students. “We’ve finally built a classroom where we can teach them in the same way that they learn,” says Gary.

Gary chose Nureva® audio for lecture capture and audio conferencing. The results? “It’s a game changer,” he says. Watch to find out more.


Teaching and learning from anywhere

When designing his classroom, sound quality was something Gary knew he had to get right. He spends a lot of time on the road attending technology trade shows and conferences, and rather than cancel classes every time he’s away, he teaches remotely.

The audio equipment in the new space had to provide a high-quality sound experience for participants whether they were in the classroom or not. Gary also live streams and records all of his classes and wanted the sound to be picked up from anywhere in the room so all students’ questions and comments could be clearly heard.

The initial plan was to have the professor wear a microphone, place area mics around the room and then feed everything into an audio mixer. But that option was going to be expensive and complicated. The process was rife with potential problems, from maintenance issues like keeping batteries charged to technical challenges like mixing audio sources.

Advanced audio conferencing at UNC

Clear audio captures every moment

When Gary saw the HDL300 audio conferencing system, he knew it was exactly what he needed. “We said, ‘This is the perfect product to eliminate the entire audio system that we were planning to put in.’ We knew we could integrate this into the room and it would solve all of our problems in one box.”

In the new classroom, the HDL300 system is on all the time and is a core element of everything Gary and his students do during a class. With its 8,192 virtual microphones, the system picks up his voice at the front of the room and all questions or comments from students no matter where they’re sitting.

And when students break into groups, those conversations are captured, too. This ensures students can have the same natural experience even if they have to miss class and watch the online live stream or recording instead.

Nureva HDL300 in UNC active learning classroom

Future classroom meets today’s reality

The official name of the university’s new learning space is the Reese News Lab Collaborative Classroom of the Future, which Gary says is somewhat ironic since the “futuristic” classroom has really just caught up to the reality of today’s learners. And he thinks this is just the beginning and that high-tech active learning classrooms like these will soon be commonplace on university campuses everywhere.

He says so far, response to the new collaborative classroom has been “astounding.” In fact, it’s already inspiring similar spaces on the UNC campus. This fall, construction will start on a new journalism school building with eight classrooms designed for digital collaboration. The rooms will be modeled after the classroom Gary designed and equipped with the same powerful digital tools that are now helping him and his fellow professors rethink their teaching and make it a better fit for the way today’s students learn.

Explore Gary’s active learning space and all its technology solutions with this VR tour.

Classroom audio, evolved

Nureva audio is built for the new reality in higher education. Our systems are quick to install. They automatically adapt to changing classroom configurations. And with thousands of virtual microphones, they let you use every corner of your spaces to be heard – no external mics needed.

Discover Nureva audio


Topics: Higher education Hybrid classroom Hybrid learning Our customers