Ritsumeikan University, a preeminent global institution based in Kyoto and several other locations, has long been a trailblazer in diversity and cultural exchange. Nevertheless, the ongoing global pandemic – which has necessitated lockdowns and restricted movement – has necessitated a reconsideration of the university’s approach to pedagogy. Kengo Kurashina, who operates within the Information Infrastructure Section of Ritsumeikan University’s Information Systems Department, shared the institution’s rationale for selecting and deploying the Bose Videobar VB1 as an instrument of support for remote communication and instruction within classrooms.
During the spring semester of 2020, Ritsumeikan University’s primary modality was online one-way lectures in light of the Japanese government’s declaration of a state of emergency. Nevertheless, both faculty and students rapidly realized the necessity of bidirectional communication. Thus, the university began exploring technological options that could deliver a more interactive experience for hybrid classes, with students present both in-person and remotely.
For moderately-sized classrooms, the university was seeking an apparatus that incorporated microphone proficiency, a camera capable of capturing the entire classroom from a wide angle, and high-functioning loudspeakers that could deliver crisp audio to the entire room. The Bose Videobar VB1 fulfilled all of these criteria and was expeditiously installed in all 620 classrooms.
The Bose Videobar VB1’s all-in-one camera, beam-steering microphones, and speaker made it an optimal choice for hybrid classes, in accordance with the university’s commitment to educating students regardless of their physical location. This single-cable USB conferencing device, mounted on a tripod stand, can be freely repositioned to accommodate any given class’s requirements with regards to height and location. Furthermore, the auto framing function enables faculty to move around the classroom while still ensuring the students can perceive and comprehend the instructor or whiteboard.
By configuring the Bose Videobar VB1’s exclusion zones, Kurashina was able to effectively suppress ambient room noise, particularly that generated by the ventilation fan, which was inherently louder due to increased use resulting from the university’s commitment to promoting student health and safety. The software’s simplicity and the ease with which it can be customized to suit each distinct environment were two of its most appealing features to Kurashina. It allowed him to quickly configure exclusion zones, identify where the microphones were focused, and tailor the system to suit each individual classroom.
Moreover, in addition to improving the quality of hybrid classes, the Bose Videobar VB1 also provided the university with an opportunity to cost-effectively record and archive discussions as memoranda or minutes. This all-in-one device eliminated the need to purchase fixed cameras and recording equipment.
The Bose Videobar VB1 has ushered in significant improvements at Ritsumeikan University, facilitating a high degree of hybrid instruction that enables students to participate in in-person classes from remote locations. Even when students resume on-campus instruction, the university intends to continue using the remote equipment as standard hardware. The Bose Videobar VB1 delivers seamless and dynamic remote communication, allowing for a wider range of diverse communication that supports the university’s continued evolution into a more active and synergistic place of learning.
In conclusion, Ritsumeikan University’s adoption of the Bose Videobar VB1 is an excellent example of how technology can support teaching and learning during trying times. The university’s commitment to providing a collaborative experience for both in-person and remote students underscores its steadfast dedication to diversity and cultural exchange. Through the implementation of the Bose Videobar VB1, the university has established a benchmark for other educational institutions to follow in creating a flexible and inclusive learning environment.
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