This spring, Rutgers-New Brunswick takes a big step forward in how students attend class. With the introduction of two Synchronous Lecture Halls, students in ten courses were able to choose between two classrooms on two different campuses when registering for those classes. That is because these new lecture halls allow students and instructors in one room to see, hear, and interact with the people in the other classroom.
Beginning in the fall, Wright Lab Auditorium on Busch and Loree Hall 024 on Cook/Douglass underwent total renovations. The rooms were each outfitted with three cameras, seven laser projectors, confidence monitors, and tech-equipped lecterns from which the room can be controlled. In addition to the installation of new technology, the rooms also received a face lift, including new seating, carpeting, and wall fixtures - all of which are consistent in both rooms. The end result is two classrooms that feel like one. Students in the same room as the instructor can see their fellow students on the opposite campus on in-room screens. Meanwhile, students in the other room view a life-size image of their instructor at the front of their room along with their presentation material and the other students. Camera angles are designed to create the feeling that people talking to each other are also looking at other, so that conversations flow between rooms as fluidly as if they were occurring in the same space.
The Synchronous Lecture Hall are part of an initiative started by President Barchi and Chancellor Edwards to improve the educational experience by moving classes to students rather than bussing students between campuses. It is an approach to connecting people and ideas that has the potential to connect the Rutgers-New Brunswick campuses to not only each other, but to the larger world of academia. To read more about this initiative, visit the Synchronous Lecture Hall page.