University of the Western Cape is one of South Africa’s leading higher-education providers, with campuses around Cape Town and an enrollment of more than 23,000 students across arts and humanities, health, economics, education, law and natural sciences. As class sizes grew, the physical campus wasn’t always able to meet the expanded demand from students. UWC Audio Visual Services created a dual-classroom functionality, with content from the lecture theatre shown bi-directionally across multiple overflow rooms.
UWS’ campus experienced a fast-growing student body over just a few years. Architecturally stunning and historic learning spaces weren’t always able to cope with the increased numbers, leaving some classrooms tight or at capacity. As social distancing became increasingly important during the Coronavirus pandemic, an emphasis on providing greater space for students came to the fore.
UWC Audio Visual Services, the in-house AV technology management group at University of the Western Cape, devised an ingenuous solution to facilitate overflow space. With high-quality audio and video systems in their primary teaching spaces, content could be bi-directionally relayed between rooms. This enables lecturers to communicate interactively with students in the local room and remote facilities in the same building, or even across campus.
All students receive the same learning experience, regardless of their location. Xilica Solaro QR1 micro-format processors sit in each classroom, providing HearClear acoustic echo cancellation and noise reduction that keeps participants sounding like they’re in the same space.
Integration with leading soft-codec platforms enables quick ramp-up time and mute status sync as required. Microphones distributed around the classrooms pick up lecturer voices, as well as students with questions, comments and input to add. The Solaro QR1’s small size meant mounting in discreet locations without requiring the installation of an equipment rack was a significant benefit. Exceptional audio could be integrated into the room with little disruption and no-need for a dedicated space.
From two classrooms linked together to twelve, UWC’s Audio Visual Services team met the mark on this challenging project. By deploying cost-effective, high quality audio products that require minimal in-room space, they made the best use of valuable real estate and delivered a great experience for students and teachers. HearClear AEC technology brought people together by removing artefacts and noise that would normally impede frictionless communication and facilitated many more students than originally possible to get a great education – even in the midst of a global pandemic.