August 31, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals (EP) program has created 34 portable, state-of-the-art teaching studios designed to bring an in-person feeling to students taking remote live and online classes.

EP’s Center for Digital and Media Initiatives consulted and partnered with Johns Hopkins Engineering faculty in the design of these studios, which are not only portable, but also can be used in classrooms and other spaces on the Homewood campus with varying ceiling heights, lighting, and acoustics.

These new studios will significantly improve students’ experience taking classes remotely, according to Nathan Graham, director of the Center for Digital and Media Initiatives and lead designer of the studios.

Students will be able to hear and see the instructor more clearly, and the instructors will be better able to see and hear their students, Graham explained. This results in better engagement between instructor and student, and between students and the course content.

The studios offer several key enhancements, including new light panels that guarantee consistent lighting regardless of the space and two microphones that provide professional-quality audio, allowing instructors to move around freely, while reducing pickup of noise from other directions.

The studios also provide multiple camera options, with the main camera positioned to create the feeling of direct eye contact between instructor and students. Instructors use a Zoom Rooms controller, allowing them to switch easily between the main and document cameras and various screens to simultaneously share multiple types of content, from digital annotations to writing on the studio whiteboard.

Ultimately these studios enable flexible, high quality, live direct-to-device content delivery and recording that improves the learning experience for students, said Graham. My team and I look forward to the studios being used this fall.