Cornell Receives Award from Zoom for Innovative Classroom Technology Use

On September 14, 2021, Zoom awarded Cornell its Zoomtopia Innovation Award for Dynamic Education during the company’s annual Zoomtopia conference. This award was given in recognition of Cornell’s innovative use of Zoom and Zoom Rooms software during the past year.

In concert with other classroom technology—including touch panel interfaces, board cameras, and electronic whiteboards—the Zoom Rooms application allowed instructors to manage shared visual content for both in-person and remote students. In addition, staff from Cornell Information Technologies and other IT groups on campus assembled a team of trained student classroom assistants to support teaching spaces and provide immediate technical assistance where needed.

Meeting Cornell’s Unique Needs

Zoom Rooms’ flexible set of collaboration features gave instructors the ability to provide a range of content and experience that simple web conferencing meetings could not. While Zoom Rooms was originally designed to coordinate conference room audio-visual components with Zoom meetings, CIT staff realized the application’s features could be used in campus teaching spaces as well.

A typical Zoom Rooms setup to support teaching during the pandemic, showing the touch panel controls, the Gallery View monitor, and the instructor’s laptop.

Features provided to instructors included:

  • A touch panel interface running the Zoom Rooms app, allowing the instructor to manage the course’s shared content or active speaker view;
  • A dedicated monitor with Gallery View to provide an instructor with a constant view of the course’s on-line student participants;
  • Flexible classroom technology components coordinated through the touch panel, giving instructors the ability to provide shared content to remote student participants in a variety of ways, not simply as a screen-shared slideshow.

The classroom technology visual options included the ability to share a document camera, board camera, or even a webcam to deliver views of those physically in the classroom space to those participating remotely. Instructors were also able to share slideshows and video clips through the Zoom course meeting and make annotations on slideshows and digital whiteboards.

Zoom Rooms software in a Cornell classroom space running on a touch panel.

To help get instructors up to speed on the features available to them, Cornell’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTI) prepared a series of video tutorials about using Zoom Rooms with classroom technology. These tutorials can be seen on the CTI website at Using Zoom Rooms.

For more details on the award and winners in other categories, visit Zoomtopia Innovation Awards. To see all the video introductions to the award-winning work done by IT staff, watch the Using Zoom Rooms videos produced by Cornell’s Center for Teaching Innovation. To visit CIT’s Zoom Rooms documentation, go to Zoom Rooms.

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