17 Jun Vantage Point
In collaboration with professor in Financial Accounting Alvaro García Soto, we took over a Global MBA class with an exciting tool called Vantage Point. The class included 30 students from all over the world: including nationals from Australasia, South and North America, Africa, Asia and Europe. This tool helped bring the online classroom to the lecture halls of Madrid; initiating virtual face-to-face interactions between teacher and learner, physically up to 10,000 km apart. All of this, not to mention, without destroying the bandwidth. All students were able to achieve a crystal clear connection, regardless of their standard of internet, due to the excellent performance of Vantage Point
After considering different options, we decided to use two big touch-screens because it was of extreme importance to create an environment where the professor would feel immersed in the class, much like the traditional environment with 30 students.
In this particular case, it was Alvaro’s choice to teach the class sitting down, but this type of set up would allow any professor to have the freedom to teach standing up and move around – just like they would do in a normal class. Touch-screens let you interact directly, excluding the need for headphones, a mouse or any other hardware to keep you attached to a desk. Therefore, professors are free to wander, gesticulate and point to important data in the same fashion as they would do in a regular lecture.
On the first screen (to the left of the photo) Adobe connect is displayed, working in the exact same way as in any videoconference. On the screen to the right, Vantage Point (as an add-in), shows the cameras of all the students in the class. By being able to see their faces, the professor doesn’t miss a trick picking up a confused or delighted facial expression and reacting accordingly – adapting their questioning or clarifying a difficult concept. As a result, the students receive real-time feedback and are never left feeling left behind, just like in real life classroom.
Moreover, this add-in uses different tools to engage students and help professors to manage class participation. We, in the Department of Learning Innovation, use the ‘questions settings’ to program a series of queries that are displayed on the students’ screens at different times. Quizzes appear and disappear rapidly, giving the students only a few seconds to answer. This facilitates a dynamic class as the professor is able to receive easy-to-read feedback from the students’ responses. Additionally, they can distinguish, through a series of symbols, if a student is engaged in class, has stepped away or has shown no movement in the last few minutes. Even in an online class you don’t get away with switching off!
Success! Most pleasingly, there were no problems whatsoever with the technology and the professor was able to deliver a motivating and engaging session without interruption. We will now wait eagerly for the hopefully excellent feedback from the students involved. Overall, a fantastic day for Vantage Point, Alvaro and the Department of Learning Innovation.
“I see it as a very positive step towards improving the experience”
“At the beginning we felt a bit observed, but later we got used to it”
“It will definitely help with the level of engagement”
“I was worried it was going to cause connection problems, but it didn’t interfere at all “