Hybrid Classroom for Three Different Audiences: On-Campus, Synchronous Online, and Asynchronous Online

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Direct and up to date report on a 2 year research project on hybrid learning at the Digital Worlds Institute, University of Florida


A diverse thinker with 20+ years of achievement in academia and the creative digital research and production space. Marko's experience includes a range of educational projects and digital startups, as well as video game titles for major corporate clients . Marko is the Associate Director of Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida, and serves as the CEO of the multi-national video game studio O2D, Inc. He has lectured internationally at schools and conferences in: USA, UK, Australia, China, UAE, India, Serbia, and Norway.

Extended Abstract

Paper Title: Hybrid Classroom for Three Different Audiences: On-Campus, Asynchronous Online, and Synchronous Online
Names: Assoc. Prof. Marko Suvajdzic, M.F.A.
Tech. Supervisor Ethan Tripp

Institutional Affiliation:
? University of Florida (http://digitalworlds.ufl.edu/)
o Associate Director, Digital Worlds Institute
o Associate Professor of Digital Arts and Sciences, Digital Worlds Institute
o Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow - Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Warrington College of Business Administration
? Organic to Digital, www.o2d.com (Video Games Production Studio)
o Co-founder
o CEO/Creative Director

Email: marko@digitalworlds.ufl.edu

Five key words:
Education, technology, pedagogy, online learning, Digital Worlds Institute, University of Florida

Hybrid Classroom for Three Different Audiences:
On-Campus, Asynchronous Online, and Synchronous Online

In this presentation I will introduce the second year data from the Digital Worlds Institute's online education research project. Digital Worlds Institute is a small department at the University of Florida that has been charged with exploring ways in which both online and on-campus students can be served simultaneously and with maximum overlap in resources, thus keeping the costs at minimum. The results of this research will be utilized in UF Online program (UFO), a state of Florida sponsored long term project.

In the academic 2014/15, Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida has started an experimental research program - Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences. In this program all classes are offered simultaneously to three distinct student groups of students: On-campus, Online synchronous (real time video conference), and Online asynchronous.

I will review the challenges of this particular approach; from professor-student related issues to the specifics of making lectures that are efficiently deliverable to all three audiences. The session also reviews the multimedia classroom setup for this specific hybrid model content delivery method, hardware installed, software choices and options, as well as presents the initial data collected from the first generation of the students.

The Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida started experimenting with synchronous online classes in 2013. The first two classes offered," Creating Video Games and Startups" and "Digital Production and Game Design", were taught by prof. Suvajdzic. In the fall of 2014 the Institute started a whole new undergraduate program that enrolls students as on-campus or online, with the online version being divided between synchronous students who attend their classes through video conferencing software and participate in all of their classes in real time; and asynchronous students who attend their classes through recordings and an online learning management system.

Digital Worlds Institute's approach to designing the real time online learning system is based on two distinct aspects of educational technology: education technology as technological tools and media that assist in the communication of knowledge, and educational technology as the theory and practice of educational approaches to learning.

Technical Layout

The Online/On-campus Research Classroom (ORC) requires an operator to run the classroom and online streaming. Each day, the operator uses the equipment located in the ORC to record and stream courses for online students. The technical description begins with the Panasonic Digital A/V Mixer (AG-HMX100, HD, 3D Professional). The mixer is used to execute live transitions from the professor to the content on the computer and questions from in-class students. The mixer is connected to the USB Switcher, video recorder, both in-class cameras and computers. The Extron SW4 USB Switcher allows the ORC Operator to work in between the laptop, ORC Mac, ORC PC, and Panasonic Live Recorder. There is different content on each medium that is presented during class. Digital Worlds uses two Sony Visca HD cameras that are placed near the ceiling at the front and back of the classroom. They are used to view the professor and students. The operator uses the Sony Remote Control Unit (RM-BR300) to control the cameras. The remote control unit gives students a 360-degree view around the classroom and allows the operator to key in on the professor or students.

Picture1 - Online/Oncampus classroom hardware diagram


Out of the 31 participants in our first year survey, 25 were students and 20 of have taken online courses prior to an online course in the ORC at the Digital Worlds Institute. 19 of those took asynchronous courses, with the majority of those having a video element of the course used as lecture. 100% felt that having a video element in the course helped with student engagement.

The Digital Worlds' ORC seems to have had some success in its first year of operation. This graph is a comparison of students experience between a previous non Digital Worlds course, Fall 2014 ORC Course, and Spring 2015 Course.

Of the students who took both Spring and Fall courses, 86% Agreed or Strongly Agreed that the ORC has improved since it opened in the fall semester of 2014. All respondents who added a comment felt that audio was the most notable fix between semesters.
Picture2 - Summery of survey results

After participating in this session, participants will benefit in the following ways:

I. Attendees will gain access to the full set of analyzed data from the hybrid courses offered by Digital Worlds Institute, University of Florida in 2014/15, and early data from 2015/16.
II. Full set of graphs representing results to date will be shared and commented.
III. Attendees will acquire the knowledge of the early challenges in real time online knowledge delivery methods and our current best solutions.
IV. Attendees will learn technical requirements for creating a multimedia classroom capable of delivering high quality real-time online classes.

This multi-dimensional approach has come with many challenges, from equipping the classroom and choosing the software to adjusting the methods of knowledge delivery to better serve this diverse audience. In this lecture I will present the systems design data and review the options we considered. The current cohort of students' behavior and performance will be analyzed and presented for review.