Hybrid teaching solution at University of Guelph

June 27, 2022

How we helped

Challenge icon

The Challenge

  • Leading Canadian university required hybrid teaching and learning solution in response to pandemic
  • Needed ability for students to interact remotely with lecturers on campus via web conference

 

Solution icon

The Solution

  • More than 60 Sony PTZ remote cameras, including SRG-X120 with Full HD quality
  • High brightness VPL-FHZ90L and VPL-FHZ70 laser projectors in larger spaces
  • Compact VPL-PHZ10 and VPL-PHZ50 portable laser projectors in smaller spaces
Outcome icon

The Outcome

  • PTZ cameras capture high quality images of presenters and audience for live lecture streaming
  • Laser projectors’ exceptional reliability ensures minimised downtime, reduced maintenance costs and extended product lifecycle

 

Speak to our team today.

Students and faculty members alike have noticed a difference in the quality of the images displayed on-screen. Having a great image is paramount to the student experience.

Christopher Hewitt,
Manager of Classroom Technical Infrastructure, University of Guelph

Close up shot of the Sony laser projector

Re-thinking student engagement

One of Canada’s leading academic institutions, the University of Guelph in Ontario serves almost 30,000 students. In response to the pandemic the university has created a state-of the-art hybrid learning experience, leveraging latest technologies from Sony including PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) remote cameras and high-brightness laser projectors.

The image quality and reliability of the hybrid teaching solution implemented by the university helps to support instructors’ needs while heightening student engagement. “Sony’s product lineup is vast” states Christopher Hewitt, Manager of Classroom Technical Infrastructure at the University of Guelph. “However one of the biggest features is the ability for the technology to integrate with our existing systems, and to be versatile enough to meet my specific needs. Interoperability is paramount – and it’s reasonable to expect that Sony will always deliver a great product.”

“When we choose a new product, we evaluate factors such as price, serviceability, product reputation, quality and ease of use” continues Christopher. “Typically, we look for companies that stand behind their product. It’s also important to have a sales representative that is local to our market, has a stakeholder relationship with our University and can bring experts to the table to talk about product development.”

Brilliant images in every teaching space

Sony camera and projector technologies are deployed across the university campus, from small seminars and lab rooms to large lecture theatres. Specifically, the institute has standardised on more than 150 Sony laser projectors. The VPL-PHZ10 and VPL-PHZ50 portable models are used in smaller spaces, while larger spaces are served by high-brightness VPL-FHZ90L and VPL-FHZ70 projectors, typically with two units in each room.

“We’ve been using Sony’s projectors exclusively since 2015 says Christopher. “When we were looking to make an upgrade we conducted our own shoot-out, testing the Sony projectors against other competitors. We’re confident that Sony outperformed others. Paired with the exceptional reliability that Sony provides, the models offer us a competitive advantage.”

Close up shot of the Sony laser projector
Mounted remote camera in the classroom

Reliability means low ownership costs

Additional benefits for the university include the Sony projectors’ durability. “To have a product that I know lasts about eight or nine years helps me plan for the future and minimise expenditure” says Christopher. “Sony’s ECO mode drastically extendeds the life of the projectors. This has saved me over 40% of my budget in projectors over the years and has reduced the amount that I procure. The tight base funding for replacing projectors has meant I am able to stretch these limited dollars into other products and do not have to worry about the lifecycle of these projectors.”

The University of Guelph has also deployed more than 60 Sony PTZ robotic cameras in rooms where lectures and tutorials are captured. These include the SRG-X120 that offers Full HD image quality, zoom capabilities and an SDI output. “When it came time to choose new cameras, we first went with a competitor’s product, but the image quality was not quite there” notes Christopher.

Instead, we adopted Sony’s SRG series, which successfully replaced our previous units. The attractive Sony units offered better image quality at the same price point while providing us with great support.

Shot of the Sony projector from the back

Strengthening interactivity and collaboration

Technology has played an increasingly important role in enabling interactivity and collaboration, in-person and remotely. “We have in-person lectures that are live streamed using a web conference environment that is platform agnostic” explains Christopher. “In our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, with little configuration we’re able to accommodate anyone’s laptop in the classroom and successfully have it joined to the conference using Sony’s cameras to capture the audience and lecturer’s class.”

“With regards to the technology that we put in place over the pandemic, the Sony cameras have given the ability to live conference from the classroom to students and other faculty members abroad. This has resulted in increased engagement and the ability to have a hybrid lecture that is two-way. It allows participants to not only view the classroom but participate interactively.”

“Students and faculty members alike have noticed a difference in the quality of the images displayed on-screen” states Christopher. “Having a great image is paramount to the student experience, with rich colours, true blacks and deeper contrast – especially when placed in a class where colour and experience matter.”