A curved arrangement of McCann Systems unified communications setup for virtual learning.

Customizing Unified Communications for Educational Settings

In 2020, there grew a pressing demand for virtual learning environments in higher education in St. Louis and nationwide. Four years on, the landscape of higher education has evolved, and distance and virtual learning are now increasingly important parts of the offerings at large and small institutions of higher learning. Decision-makers in educational institutions are tasked with implementing solutions that foster engagement and enhance the hybrid learning experience. This guide explores the four crucial elements to consider when creating optimal virtual learning spaces, offering insights into unified communications solutions that can revolutionize educational delivery.

SEE ALSO: Beyond the Interactive Classroom: Shaping the Future of Higher Education

Audiovisual Quality

While it might seem obvious that a high-quality audiovisual experience is essential in virtual learning, sometimes some aspects are overlooked. For example, the environment should simulate a traditional classroom as much as possible. If a virtual participant asks a question, the instructor should be able to turn to that student and address the question in the same way they would in an in-person environment. That’s where a solution like directional audio comes into play, where that student’s voice comes from the part of the display where their visual appears. This is essential for fostering a classroom experience that feels natural and inclusive to all participants. Audio quality and directional audio can be implemented through specific audio hardware and DSP (digital signal processing) tuning to achieve the desired results. 

Meeting Equity

Equitable participation is key in hybrid learning environments. Meeting equity ensures all participants can contribute equally to the discussion regardless of location. Unified communications technology is key in achieving this by providing tools that facilitate equal facetime, eye contact, and proportionality in conversations. When remote learners can engage easily with in-person participants, the learning experience is enhanced for everyone. For example, the ability to change points of view, tools signaling that someone wants to talk, and careful audio tuning for two-way conversations ensure more inclusive and equitable experiences. 

Interactive Engagement Tools

Interactive tools are transforming virtual learning by fostering active participation. Polling and quizzing functionalities keep students engaged and provide immediate feedback on their understanding. Additionally, cloud-based meeting notes, which can be saved and downloaded, offer content accessibility for attendees and those who might miss classes. Interactive digital whiteboards provide capabilities that extend far beyond traditional boards. They enable instructors to dynamically present lessons, annotate in real-time, and engage directly with digital content, promoting a collaborative educational experience. Students can interact with these whiteboards, accessing and manipulating the presented information, reinforcing active learning and comprehension. These tools are part of a comprehensive approach that makes lessons interactive and inclusive, ensuring students are not passive viewers but active learners.

McCann Systems Proscenium

McCann Systems leverages its unified communications expertise to elevate virtual education, as demonstrated in two flagship projects using our Proscenium solution. In one, an advanced digital classroom was developed for a leading beverage brand’s corporate university, incorporating interactive tools to engage participants globally. Another project involved creating a state-of-the-art virtual classroom for a prestigious educational institution, offering remote participants real-time interaction and a broadcast-quality experience. These projects exemplify how McCann’s Proscenium platform can facilitate a dynamic, interactive, and highly effective virtual learning environment.

If you want to create an exceptional virtual learning environment that encourages engagement and collaboration, McCann Systems is here to help. Click the live chat below, call, or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!