How to Build the Next Generation of Virtual Learning Environments

Extending the campus through technology

New audiovisual technologies are enabling colleges and universities to extend the reach of their campuses. The next- generation virtual classroom takes online learning to a new level, providing live teaching to students anywhere in the world through high-quality video and audio, with the added interactivity of shared video files, live chats, collaborative whiteboards and more.

In this web seminar, leaders from three institutions—California Baptist University, Oral Roberts University and King’s College—described how they are creating this next-generation virtual classroom on their campuses, and shared some strategies and best practices for implementing the same at any institution.


John Copeland
Director of Sales, Education
Barco Education

Joe Way
Director of Multimedia Services
California Baptist University

Raymond Pryor
Managing Director of User Services
King’s College (Pa.)

Michael L. Mathews
CIO and VP of Innovation
Oral Roberts University (Okla.)

John Copeland: Barco provides a wide range of products that fit many needs for education, ranging from wireless presentation to large format projectors and video wall solutions. What we focus on for the education market is Barco weConnect (Active Learning/Virtual Classroom), wePresent (Wireless Presentation/Collaboration) and Overture (AV remote monitoring, management and control) solutions.

With Barco weConnect, we’re typically talking about our active learning solution for on-premise classrooms and our virtual classroom technology, which provides the capability to do blended and flipped learning, as well as collaborative and active learning and to support things such as bring your own device and 1-to-1 initiatives. We help students, we support teachers, and we strive to enable IT and operations.

Barco is continually developing our solutions. We’re looking to the world’s leading schools and universities for their input. Barco weConnect is at the heart of our proposition. And we can transform physical or virtual spaces into the solutions that let educators deliver better learning outcomes for their students.

Joe Way: In 2011 we had 4,000 students, and last year we had 10,486. That’s been a lot of growth, and that meant we had to come up with a plan for how we manage that and how we can continue to push the classroom experience. As we invest in our growth, how can we challenge and move our technologies forward and away from the traditional classroom experience?

“Barco weConnect was easy to adopt. It increased class participation, and we saw better test scores.”

We wanted to push the limits of what you would see online. We wanted to be able to bring in competency, to be able to bring in performance, so that we could actually have a cohort that acted as if they were meeting every day on campus. So I spent four months researching every different type of option of core-course delivery from all of our lecture captures, from any streaming platforms, from our conferencing tools, you name it. I looked at everything I could possibly find. Then we came across Barco weConnect. And it’s been fantastic.

Raymond Pryor: We had an outdated lab. The students were saying the environment looked dark and dingy. At the same time, the business school was looking to upgrade. The IT department had to figure out a way to work smarter given the decline in resources, and we didn’t have any collaboration spaces. So we said, “What can we look for, what can we do, how can we think a little differently?”

What if we looked at this from a strategic initiative point of view and tried to offer some budget relief? Could we find a solution that would allow faculty members to bring a mobile device into the classroom and connect using wireless technology, and then collect and distribute their content? Then we found Barco weConnect.

Within the first six months after deploying the product, enrollment went up significantly and the investment paid for itself. It allowed for more flexibility in the classroom, and it allowed the teachers to think a little differently and get excited about how they deliver concepts. Barco weConnect was easy to adopt. It increased class participation, and we saw better test scores.

Michael L. Mathews: When we take a look at a problem, it’s not a technology problem or a classroom problem; it’s an education problem. So when we opened up a global learning center, instead of flipping the classroom, we wanted to flip a university around the world.

Giving people videotapes is not very advanced, and just offering more plasma screens has not proven to increase students’ success.

So how do we invert almost everything we’re doing to make sure that we address the real problem and to help people everywhere? The answer was to take virtual spaces and connect the triangulation of education in industry and edutainment.

We have been privileged to win over 10 global awards, proving that education can be nudged forward. But it’s definitely not about plasma screens or more LCD panels because you can put in as many of those as you want and they won’t change students’ success.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please visit

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