How the University of Salford Uses the Meeting Owl to Support Hybrid Learning and Academic Events

University of Salford Case Study Featured Image: Students using technology to study

University of Salford

2,800 staff and 21,500 students

KEY RESULTS

  • Supports hybrid learning and university administrative meetings

  • Enables hybrid campus tours and recruiting events

  • Includes remote participants in research presentations and evaluations

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When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, the University of Salford started investing in video conferencing across the campus to support hybrid learning for students and teachers and hybrid meetings for university administrators. The university started using the Meeting Owl Pro in 2020, and since then has started expanding their fleet of Owls to support different use cases as the 'new normal' on campus becomes one that is increasingly hybrid.

Charles Knight, Associate Dean of Student Experience, shared that the university’s first experiences with the Meeting Owl for hybrid teaching were universally positive.

'When we use the Meeting Owl in class, our remote students feel like they’re there. Other solutions are fixed and not 360°, so students can’t see and hear everyone in the room. They feel left out and like they’re getting a second-rate experience, so it’s important to us that they like our video conferencing solutions as much as we do.'

Students and teachers most like how responsive the Meeting Owl is during classes.

'The switching between active speakers is seamless and engaging for anyone joining class remotely. This way, the class feels interactive for remote and in-person students alike. For teachers, the plug-and-play technology is easy for them to use, and it’s simple to set up and manage so they don’t have to worry about technology during classes.'

After using the Meeting Owl successfully in hybrid classrooms and hybrid meetings with university administrators and staff, Charles and his team started thinking about other ways the Meeting Owl could be used to support the University of Salford campus when people were unable to come to campus.

'Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some people are hesitant about coming to the university campus for tours and to meet the faculty. We recently held a successful hybrid recruitment event, and prospective students who couldn’t come to campus in person were able to participate because of the Meeting Owl.'

Additionally, in European university systems, there are audit processes and panel meetings to assess and evaluate student research and projects, which can involve oral assessments with students presenting to academics and business or industry partners. The university uses the Meeting Owl to record the event so external examiners can review the assessment and see everyone who was speaking or asking questions in the room.

Over the course of his career in university administration, Charles has seen and tried a lot of other video conferencing solutions that he explains don’t compare to the Meeting Owl experience.

'The premium capabilities and the ease of use of the Meeting Owl make a great combination. It’s plug-and-play so it’s simple for anyone to use, but its sophisticated features make the meeting experience immersive and engaging. The feedback from staff has been phenomenal – in fact, when I loan them out to staff members to try out, I have trouble getting them back!'

Looking to the future, Charles thinks there are more Meeting Owl use cases to explore, and that Meeting Owls will stay on-campus at the University of Salford in fixed settings, such as certain classrooms and meeting rooms, and be available to reserve for specific events or presentations where not everyone can attend in person.

The Meeting Owl helps support university students, faculty and administrators in hybrid learning and meeting environments.

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