Automated camera tracking for unparalleled learning experiences at Queen’s University Belfast
Queen's University Belfast is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland. It is ranked 200 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021) and is a member of the Russell Group of UK research intensive universities, combining excellence in research and education with a student-centered ethos.
“Before the Pandemic, the university had the vision to see that we needed to update our teaching venues and a program was underway that would offer enhanced collaboration and lecture capture facilities”, says Patrick Daly, Assistant Director for Learning and Teaching Support at Queen’s University Belfast. “When the Pandemic hit, we realized we needed to go further and turn our spaces into connected learning and collaboration venues that offer an inclusive experience to all our users across every setting.”
The project team within the Learning & Teaching Support division of Information Services developed a concept to enable the capture of the entire teaching and learning experience within a classroom environment, allowing real-time participation and seamless bidirectional engagement between lecturers, in-class students and remote students. The subsequent pilot project covered the upgrade of seven teaching spaces, divided into small, medium and large categories. The spaces needed to create the best experience for remote and local learners and make sure that no student is disadvantaged due to location or when they access the learning content. The objective was to create a connected and flexible learning space where the academic and students can fully engage, whether in hybrid or face-to-face setting.
“As an academic, the technology is intuitive and permits those ‘in the moment and spontaneous’ creative teaching experiences.”
The solution implemented by Pure AV and the University’s Learning & Teaching Support Division ensures that the traditional, familiar tools of the lecture theatre remain a fully accessible part of the teaching experience, whether running in-person, pre-recording or live hybrid classes over a range of lecture capture and live collaboration platforms. In addition, the system adds the ability to capture and live stream interactions between the lecturer and audience, including audience voice and video which dramatically enhanced the remote and recorded experience.
A central part of the solution is automated camera tracking, not only of the presenter but also to capture audience contributions. To manage the audience capture, the design by Pure AV uses the impressive coverage and clarity of the TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphone arrays combined with the built-in control processing of a QSC digital sound processor. A dedicated software plug-in, developed in partnership by the two brands, processes directional information from the microphones. It uses this data to automatically point the audience facing camera to the student asking a question and contributing to the lecture or learning event. This automated audience tracking process works alongside the main Extron AV control system. The example of Queen's University Belfast's shows how easily technologies from different vendors can work together for an unparalleled user experience.
Learn more about the benefits of the TeamConnect Ceiling 2 touchless microphone solution, such as easy installation, freedom of movement and high speech intelligibility that create unprecedented learning and teaching experiences.