Although it has been around for more than 125 years, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) continues to use the latest cutting-edge technologies to innovate and help support its core mission of providing engaging academic programs that unleash the potential of students and have a significant impact in the community and the world. Challenged by a year like no other, UNCG had to adapt to an intuitive and immersive HyFlex teaching and learning model. With financial support from the CARES Relief Fund, UNCG has installed 16 Sony MAS-A100 beamforming ceiling microphones on its campus, with plans underway to implement 40 additional units for the new care building. college nurses.
The pandemic has prompted the UNCG to accelerate its plans to update its learning environments and make them compatible with hybrids. The school’s 250 classrooms were evaluated throughout the summer of 2020 and Larry Darling, director of classroom technology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was tasked with ensuring that each room met a basic level of UCC technology to ensure better outcomes for students and educators. Its main goal was to equip at least one room in every building with transformative technology to enhance the educational experience in person and remotely.
Darling first addressed the lesson capture capabilities of classrooms, that is, when he turned to Sony’s MAS-A100 contactless microphone, optimized for conference and presentation environments. . He explained, “As we searched for a more conversational pedagogy, we recognized that our lesson capture rooms just weren’t equipped for this type of teaching. I remembered a demonstration I had seen of Sony’s beamforming microphone during InfoComm and quickly knew this was exactly what the UNCG needed. Since it would be difficult to virtually test the technology and with a universal need for more accommodating equipment at the forefront, I knew time was running out and we immediately placed an order for 16 microphones.
The flexible and easy-to-integrate MAS-A100 microphones feature advanced clear sound for enhanced speech and the ability to suppress unwanted feedback. As teachers adjust to the new educational paradigm and fewer face-to-face classes, Darling has found that rooms equipped with beamforming microphones are most in demand among teachers. He said: “Despite distance learning, many teachers come to the classroom to teach and take advantage of the tools and technology in place. With the MAS-A100, the sound quality is much better than a standard ceiling microphone or any type of classroom audio system. With the move to a HyFlex model, you need to accommodate conversations between students at home and in the classroom. With this solution, we can easily capture both sides of a conversation, so that students at home can hear what is happening in the classroom and participate in the conversation via Zoom and vice versa. Beamforming microphones really enabled this interactive, conversation-based pedagogy. “
Speaking about the benefits of microphones, Darling noted, “When we first selected them, we mainly focused on value. When you factor in their cost along with their coverage range, this was a hard microphone to beat. Another reason we found these mics cost effective is due to the onboard processing. We can put a Dante USB connection on the computer and there is enough EQ and noise reduction in the mic itself which has eliminated the need for DSP. While using the MAS-A100, we were really impressed with the sound quality and the built-in functionality of the mics, especially for the price. “
Another main reason why UNCG standardized the MAS-A100 is due to Darling and the school’s relationship with the Sony brand. Darling summed up: “Due to the challenges of the pandemic, I had to bring in a company I trusted. I had already formed a relationship with Sony and knew they would support me if anything went wrong. It was a pretty quick decision to choose Sony and I was delighted that the product performed as well as I expected, given that that’s not the way I generally like to try a new product on campus! “