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Technology for hybrid teaching in UCL classrooms

Overview of the technology available in UCL teaching spaces to support a basic approach to hybrid teaching.

Last updated: 2 September 2021

Hybrid teaching can vary a lot in sophistication, from using lavish custom-built classrooms to adding some new technology into existing spaces.

UCL has a hybrid lecture theatre but we also need a broad, more basic approach to hybrid teaching and learning that can be applied in the hundreds of teaching spaces across campus. 

This page outlines the existing and new technology available in UCL teaching spaces to support a basic approach to hybrid teaching. 

Want to know more about hybrid teaching?

For an overview of what is meant by hybrid teaching and some strategies and tips for implementing a basic approach at UCL, read the Toolkit on 'Basic hybrid teaching'.

Additions to UCL teaching spaces

Many of our teaching spaces already include a range of technology, with a standard teaching station at the front of classrooms and lecture theatres. We are adding equipment to these in various ways depending on the size and existing facilities of the spaces:

  • In spaces which already have Lecturecast, which tend to be the larger ones, we are adding equipment to connect the managed PC, or your own laptop, to the existing in-room Lecturecast camera and audio equipment
  • In many spaces which don’t have Lecturecast, which tend to be the smaller ones, we are adding a Logitech Brio webcam to the managed PC to act as a camera and microphone for teaching sessions.
  • For very small spaces, or where other departmental rooms are being used, we are providing departments with webcams and speaker/microphone units so that they can ‘bring your own hybrid’ to wherever teaching is taking place.

We are also adding ‘Lecturecast Live’, so that where Lecturecast is installed, teaching events can be streamed live as well as recorded. This has previously been used with a few departments, but live streaming will now be able to be set up using the Lecturecast Scheduler.

See a list Rooms supporting basic hybrid teaching 2021-22 that are being upgraded over the summer of 2021 to be ready for the start of term. More details on each are given below.

See the

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Teaching Spaces with Lecturecast

We have about 180 spaces that include Lecturecast, UCL’s lecture capture system. These are being upgraded to allow the existing camera and audio to be used within a Teams or Zoom video call with remote students. We recommend you use the managed PC in the room where possible to provide a stable wired network connection.

For the managed PC in the room, we have produced video guides for using Teams and Zoom.

Video guide to using Teams from the managed PC (this video has captions):

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/cfHBBD68

Video guide to using Zoom from the managed PC (this video has captions):

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/Hg7bfEE8

You can also connect your own laptop in the in-room audio and video system using a new labelled blue ‘hybrid teaching’ USB 3 Type A cable that is being provided.
 

Video guide to connecting your laptop in a Lecturecast-enabled space (this video has captions)

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/8252chaE

In summary, for most teaching events in Lecturecast-enabled rooms, the outline instructions are:
  • Log in to the networked PC, or connect your own laptop display output e.g. HDMI
  • If using your own laptop, connect the blue ‘hybrid teaching’ cable to a USB 3 socket on your laptop
  • Start Zoom or Teams, and choose the correct camera, speaker and microphone as per the instructions below
  • Start your video call, and share content such as slides or your desktop as you would do normally
  • Use the volume control on the console to change the volume level in the room

The devices you need to use are:

  • Camera: UVC USB3.0 CAPTURE DEVICE (managed PC) or eEver USB 3.0 Capture (your own laptop)
  • Microphone: UAC USB 3.0 CAPTURE DEVICE
  • Speakers: ExtronScalerD or HDMI

Lecturecast Live

Lecturecast in these spaces works as normal, and sessions can be scheduled, recorded and made available to both local and remote audiences. A new feature is ‘Lecturecast live’ where classes are not just recorded for later view, but can be streamed live (with about a 10 second delay) by selecting this option in the Lecturecast Scheduler.

We know that Lecturecast is very popular with students, but compared to Zoom or Teams, the experience of watching remotely can feel isolating. We think that in most cases, using Teams/Zoom for the live session, but still recording with Lecturecast provides the better experience. The exception here is probably for those that use the active learning features in Lecturecast already, and want to continue doing so.

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Teaching spaces without Lecturecast

We are installing a Logitech Brio webcam in around 180 teaching spaces which do not have Lecturecast. These webcams will be mounted on or near the monitor. This is an excellent quality webcam with good dual microphones and built in echo cancellation. The camera will normally be attached to the top of the monitor.

This webcam allows Zoom/Teams calls to be made from the managed PC in the teaching space for the purposes of bringing in remote students to see and hear the lecturer, and see any content they are sharing within the call. Lecturecast is not available in these spaces, but calls can be recorded using Zoom and will automatically ingest into the host’s Lecturecast personal library, provided that the host is an existing Lecturecast user with an account already created. If they do not have an existing Lecturecast account, the recording will be stored as a Zoom recording and can be linked to or downloaded from Zoom.

Video guide on using Teams or Zoom in webcam-enabled spaces (this video has captions):

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/cdC2IJgi

A summary of this process:
  • Log in to the networked PC
  • Start Zoom or Teams, and choose the correct camera, speaker and microphone as per the instructions below
  • Start your video call, and share content such as slides or your desktop as you would do normally
  • Use the volume control on the console to change the volume level in the room

The devices you need to use are:

  • Camera: Logitech Brio (normally this will be the only option)
  • Microphone: Logitech Brio (normally this will be the only option)
  • Speakers: Realtek (normally this will be the only option)

Note that there is no facility to connect your own laptop to the Logitech Brio webcam in these spaces, and we ask that you do not disconnect the camera from the managed PC. If you do need to use your own laptop, we are providing equipment to departments to enabled this, detailed in the next section.

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Bring your own hybrid

For teaching spaces that don’t have existing technology and will not be receiving additional technology, we suggest a ‘bring your own hybrid’ approach - that is, using portable technology to produce a workable experience for face-to-face and remote students.

See the 'Basic hybrid teaching' toolkit for more about how to 'bring your own hybrid' and technology available from ISD to departments. 

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