UNPAD and Logitech make equitable hybrid education a reality

This article is sponsored by Logitech.

Universities in Southeast Asia have been rapidly pivoting to the hybrid learning paradigm due to the pandemic. This new normal has seen universities across the board invest in learning management systems, better connectivity, and digital learning resources.

The deployment of such technologies has even helped introduce analytics and social metrics, to better understand student uptake and hybrid education impact. However, universities in the region are at various levels of maturity when it comes to technology deployment. The decisions to try, test, and adopt solutions that ensure high engagement, uptake, and ease of use along with ROI are crucial for administrators.

By mid-2021, universities in Indonesia started limited face-to-face learning – a hybrid mode of delivery that combines offline and online lectures, seminars, and tutorials. Academic experts in the country see the move to hybrid learning as an opportunity to optimise the learning experiences for students using technology.

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While selecting software and hardware for hybrid learning, the key challenge for academic institution leaders is to ensure speedy adoption and ease of use. More importantly, they must ensure that the hybrid learning tools produce an immersive impact with high-quality video and audio that match or improve the efficacy of face-to-face education. So, how do higher education leaders in Southeast Asia arrive at the best choices of technology products to ensure optimal academic outcomes?

The success of education technology in the region is measured by the uptake of concepts and development of skills. Fundamentally, any technology product used should not disengage students. Likewise, teachers should avoid spending too much time setting up the technology, exploring its operational nuts and bolts, or finding technology as a distraction to teaching.

Clear audio and video: a crucial requirement

Universitas Padjadjaran (or UNPAD), a leading Indonesian higher education institution with 30,000 students across 17 departments, was committed to providing its learners with the best infrastructure for hybrid learning.

The university wanted education technology solutions that could provide a highly engaging learning experience for its students, while ensuring ease of use for instructors. More importantly, UNPAD wanted students – whether on campus or studying remotely – to have virtually the same learning experiences without creating complexity or compromising on the quality of education.

The university required solutions to share whiteboards into virtual classrooms with real-life clarity as a significant number of students would be accessing the lessons remotely. The technology needed to help students see through the lecturer or instructor to give students an unobstructed view of the board that could only create an engaging effect. This meant that the solution had to incorporate artificial intelligence into it. At the same time, sharing video and controlling the viewing experience had to be really simple to avoid user fatigue.

The requirement in the hybrid mode was to transform a regular classroom into a Zoom-powered virtual learning space instantly. Moreover, the solution had to integrate with other productivity tools and offer a one-touch experience. The controls and reporting of room health and utilisation metrics needed to be cloud-based to ensure real-time universal access. At UNPAD, ensuring a superior video and audio experience to remote learners with a front-seat classroom learning effect is the key to equitable hybrid education delivery.

A key priority of the administrators, students, and teachers about hybrid learning was to use technologies that could ensure clear audio and video without any disruptions. For instance, students needed to clearly view and understand what their teachers were writing on the whiteboard screens.

UNPAD’s solution to ensure equal value to all learners

UNPAD leveraged solutions from Logitech Classroom Suite including Scribe which helps students see, hear, and understand lecturers clearly. In addition, Logitech Tap makes room and video control intuitive to achieve these goals, while Logitech Rally Bar, an advanced video solution, makes equitable access to remote learning possible for all students by delivering real-life clarity in video and audio.

“The use of (the) hybrid method has surely posed a challenge for the lecturers,” shared Imanudin Kudus, Lecturer for Human Resource Management at the Faculty of Social and Political Science at UNPAD. In his opinion, the key question faced by UNPAD faculty was how to create the same experience for students who are (physically) in class and those who are not.

“Our concern was solved by the Logitech Classroom Solution. Logitech Scribe converts the whiteboard we use into a digital whiteboard. Any content written on the whiteboard will be clearly captured and broadcast live during video meetings, enabling students to see and understand them despite not being in the classroom,” Kudus explained.

“In addition to Scribe, our classes are supported by Logitech Rally Bar and Logitech Tap,” Kudus added. “We can start a lesson with only the touch of a finger and the resultant video has excellent quality. Students who are learning remotely can hear and be heard clearly, making classroom discussions livelier and engaging.”

UNPAD students also quickly realised the value of the solutions. Masry Nanda Pratama, a student at the Faculty of Social and Political Science, noted that before using Logitech Scribe, writings on the whiteboard were difficult to see and often covered by the lecturer’s hands or body, making it difficult for students to quickly grasp the topics being taught.

Purnima Putri Rahmadhant, another student at the same faculty, echoed Pratama’s views. “Thanks to the Logitech Classroom Solution, learning materials from the lecturer can be clearly seen on my laptop screen with Scribe, making it easier for us to understand the lecture materials,” said Rahmadhant.

The administration and IT department of the university are also able to realise the value they expected from the solution. “The academic community at UNPAD has greatly benefited from the classroom technology delivered by Logitech,” remarked Alan Ridwan Maulana, Head of Information Systems and Technology at UNPAD. “It is easy to use, and the quality of (the) audio and video is excellent. Logitech’s classroom solutions are helping Indonesia thrive in the next normal era.”

UNPAD understood that a truly hybrid education that creates a seamless experience from online to offline required custom-made advanced technology solutions rather than deploying existing improvised or retrofitted solutions. The university administration also knew that not just video but the audio also had to be captured and delivered naturally and without disturbances to ensure hybrid learning success. 

UNPAD’s seamless hybrid education delivery cause was immensely aided by the fact that the solutions it deployed are platform-compatible with other technologies that academic institutions use.

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