The University of Hong Kong engages students in collaborative learning with Voice Lift System and Recording Studio
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is a globally-recognized public research university in Hong Kong, China. As of 2022, it ranks 3rd in Asia and 22nd in the world. Following an Educational Reform in 2012, HKU adopted a new academic structure, offering students more flexible, diversified, and multifaceted learning options. The University established its Chi Wah Learning Commons, a campus hub which provides instructional facilities encouraging students to engage in collaborative learning.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, HKU had to further enhance its student-centered learning activities and address the growing needs of online and offline education. To help students overcome physical restrictions and interact more effectively with instructors and peers, the University defined two upgrade projects: The implementation of an improved audio system to facilitate in-room discussions, as well as the creation of automated studios for recording and live streaming of virtual classes.
To provide flexible lecture and discussion modes, HKU implemented a Voice Lift system at its Chi Wah Learning Commons. The system included four MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphones, each configured with 8 pickup areas to accurately capture lecturers’ and students’ voices throughout the 16x11m classroom. Speech is played back into the room at a natural level through zoned loudspeakers, so everyone is heard evenly in all areas of the room. Additionally, a Microflex Wireless System with handheld and lavalier microphones is available for instructors to reinforce their voice in conventional lectures without group discussions, and as a back-up system if needed.
Four automated studios, or One-Button Studios, for lecture recording and streaming were designed each with an MXA910 Ceiling Microphone and IntelliMix P300 Audio Processor for audio capture and processing, and further integrated with an HD PTZ camera, studio light, projector, and display, all pre-configured and activated via a one-touch control panel.
Project 1: Voice Lift for Lectures & Discussions
Instructors typically used a clip-on lavalier microphone or gooseneck microphone on the lectern to deliver their lectures. With the introduction of the Voice Lift system, they can now walk freely around the classroom and don’t have to handle any audio equipment. Similarly, students no longer have to pass around a handheld microphone to share their views during discussions, which also contributes to a more hygienic and safer environment. Hidden in the ceiling, the MXA910 picks up students’ voices everywhere in the room, encouraging them to actively engage and share their opinions. With individual coverage of group tables, students can also engage in room-wide interactions with other groups. Operation modes within the room are easily changed via a simple touchscreen interface.
Project 2: One-Click Automated Studio
In the automated studio, educators can record instructional videos without the need of learning complex operating instructions. To start recording, users only need to plug in a USB stick and press the control panel. Program codes run automatically in the background to initiate the pre-configured device settings as needed. The studio can also be used for videoconferencing and blended learning, as well as demonstrations and discussions, providing another resource for instructors to flexibly respond to evolving learning needs with clear, high quality audio.
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