5 steps for making online learning sound great

'Because sound is invisible, people often overlook it'
By: | Issue: May/June 2020
May 6, 2020
At Kansas State University's Olathe campus, several rooms are equipped with automatic tracking cameras and ceiling mics, which means presenters don’t have to worry about attaching lapel mics or using other devices.At Kansas State University's Olathe campus, several rooms are equipped with automatic tracking cameras and ceiling mics, which means presenters don’t have to worry about attaching lapel mics or using other devices.

Online distance learning programs and higher ed videoconferencing can squeak by without stunning video or other flashy visuals. But poor audio is likely a dealbreaker for all involved.

It’s not that the video side isn’t pretty important, but as IT and AV experts know, many factors go into ensuring top-notch sound—everything from hardware to room design to the performance skills of instructors.

“Because sound is invisible, unlike video and lightning, people often overlook it,” says Ian Wilkinson, the director of technology support services at Texas Tech University’s College of Media & Communication.

“One of my ambitions is to bring awareness to people in online education to be mindful of the soundscape around their content,” adds Wilkinson, a long-time speaker at UB Tech.®


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Goals like that are even more important for higher ed institutions working through campus closures and the related switch to all distance learning, all the time.

Here are five key steps, starting with what you need to spend money on:

  1. You need top-notch microphones for distance learning.
  2. Instructors must realize it’s a performance.
  3. So, train those presenters!
  4. IT and AV leaders should stay in touch with instructors.
  5. Instructors must learn to multitask.


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