Kindai University, Japan
The deployment of PTC310U AI Auto Tracking PTZ Camera enables users to perceive a similarity to a face-to-face teaching experience and a decrease in costs for online courses.
Correspondence Division, Kindai University
Following the principle of “providing learning opportunities to those who want to learn” proposed by its founder, Koichi Seko, Kindai University created its distance learning program (business and economics) in 1957, followed by its law program in 1960. Currently, the Correspondence Division also offers courses for public librarians and school librarians, respectively.
Kindai is the only university with a specialized distance learning division in western Japan. Taking advantage of the university’s large and comprehensive faculty, the Correspondence Division offers educational opportunities to students with various needs, contributing to the society by nurturing and developing the abilities and potential of their students.
Exploring the Best Distance Learning Arrangements in Face of Covid-19
Under the guidance of “providing learning opportunities to those who want to learn” from its founder Koichi Seko, who had first-hand experience on the scarcity of education, Kindai University has been offering distance learning programs since 1957. With the mission of providing opportunities to learn, we have developed the “learning-by-playing” approach. For example, in the E3[e-cube] project, all communications are in English. We also wanted to create a learning environment that is always open to students, thus study rooms and various facilities are available for use during both regular courses and in distance learning programs.。
The Correspondence Division has been providing “satellite courses” that organizes special online courses for students living in distant regions even before the Covid pandemic, since as early as 2017. However, due to shortages in human resources, such as the need for one cameraperson in each recording site, the expansion of satellite courses was limited. Furthermore, following the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, we had to move most of the courses online, and found ourselves faced with a range of challenges.
Three Challenges of Online Learning
1Necessity of Camerapersons – Human Resources Restraints
Currently, online courses require the presence of a cameraperson who films the entire teaching process on-site. In order to efficiently manage online learning, we strongly believe practical solutions are needed to address the issues of labor and costs.
2Changes in Delivery Method – Increased Preparation Burden
Online teaching requires the use of PowerPoint and other tools. Some may worry that the change in delivery method would not only increase the burden of material preparation on the teachers, but also undermine the teaching quality, given that the use of teaching material varies from one teacher to another.
3Getting Ready for Flexible Teaching – Need for New Facilities
Flexible teaching means the concurrent implementation of face-to-face teaching and distance teaching, which is usually carried out in a face-to-face environment since some students are on the scene. To date, we have been using a DV camcorder and other equipment for filming the courses. However, I do believe new equipment is needed to provide high-quality courses to the online students.
Perfect Solution with the PTC310U AI Auto Tracking PTZ Camera
Auto Tracking and Preset Features that Make Camerapersons Unnecessary
The pan–tilt–zoom (PTZ) camera can not only auto track the teacher in class, but also automatically switch to a preset area with the push of one button on the remote, allowing the content on the blackboard or the presentation screen to be filmed as well.
Online Teaching as Easy as Face-To-Face Interaction
As the online course is conducted in the same manner as an ordinary class, the teacher does not need to make extra preparations. Online teaching becomes just as easy as face-to-face interaction.
Only Requires One Camera per Room to Conduct Online Teaching
The PTZ camera does not require any sophisticated deployment or configuration. Place the camera in the classroom and hook it up with your PC, and you are good to go for your online teaching.
Reasons to Choose the PTC310U
1AI Auto Tracking – Auto Track the Teacher
The need for a person to operate the camera has long been a burden. Hence, we had been looking for a camera that offers auto operation and auto adjustment.
- AI auto tracking remains fully functional even when the tracked is masked or turns their back at the camera.
2High Performance Camera – Auto Zooming and Auto Adjustment
To capture the content on the blackboard or the presentation screen, the auto switching of the camera’s focus and the high-performance zooming are essential.
- 12X optical zoom and auto image adjustment ensures clear presentation of the blackboard’s content.
3Better than DV Camcorder – High Resolution Output
High-resolution delivery is a must for the students to get the most from online learning.
- Developed on the basis of a wealth of experience and expertise on professional high-resolution video conference systems, AVer offers vivid presentation of paper-based materials.
Voice of the Client
Satellite Courses Diminished Due to Human Resources Challenges
At the Correspondence Division, in addition to online-submission of reports and virtual exams, you could also enroll or audit various “school courses” online, including “online courses”, “video-on-demand courses” and “satellite courses”, all of which provide real-time delivery of actual on-campus teaching content.
Our provision and sharing of online courses have long predated the Covid pandemic. In 2017, we initiated the satellite courses project so that students living in distant regions could also receive education. However, we ran into a number of practical problems at the outset. For example, we used ordinary DV camcorder and peripheral devices to film and share the courses. This meant a cameraperson would have to stay on the scene because each filming would require the manual adjustment of changing the camera angles and switching the focuses. However, with filming lasting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the need of an on-scene cameraperson was far from ideal in terms of both labor allocation and cost control. This made steady cooperation with camerapersons very difficult. As such, the number of satellite courses was limited.
Transition to Online Teaching Due to COVID19 Pandemic
In 2020, due to the spread of the Covid virus, we had to transition from face-to-face teaching to online teaching. On top of the long-term labor cost issue, teachers now faced increased preparation burden brought about by PowerPoint slide-sharing via Zoom or similar software, which is something we wanted to solve. In addition, as PowerPoint skills varied among teachers, those who were able to deliver high-quality face-to-face teaching may be less proficient in teaching virtually. Consequentially, the transition was not as smooth as expected.
Immediate Decision on Using the AVer PTC310U
When I first came across the AVer PTC310U displayed at an exposition, I intuitively felt that “this is the one!” and decided to introduce it at the university. These cameras that came out in July 2021 were then put into use at the admission orientation meeting held in late July. The admission orientation was carried out in a hybrid manner, with concurrent face-to-face presentation and online sharing. As the presentation was conducted on-site with some participants present, the presenter could make real-time interactions with the participants, which was relatively easy to manage. In addition, AVer provided detailed explanations on the settings and configurations of the PTZ camera. The settings were quite simple, and the connection and configuration were a piece of cake. The camera delivered good results at the admission orientation and received positive feedbacks from the users. Therefore, the Correspondence Division decided to introduce the camera into the flexible courses of graduating seminars that were scheduled to initiate in September 2021.
Plans to Expand Video-On-Demand Courses in the Humanities Departments with Correspondence Division’s Experience
The Kindai University strives to digitalize its courses with the “Kindai-DX” project. Specifically, the project aims to transform Kindai’s interdisciplinary courses of the humanities departments into video-on-demand courses. The Correspondence Division has been steadily pushing this project forward. If an individual teaches a face-to-face class with the PTC310U, the course could be accessed online in a real-time manner. As a part of the efforts to implement the “Kindai-DX” project, we are enthusiastically using the PTC310U.
Use of the PTC310U
In online courses of the Correspondence Division, it is the teachers themselves that operate the camera installed at the center of the classroom with the remote. Prior to the deployment of the PTC310U cameras, a cameraperson had to stay on scene to film the entirety of the course. At present, however, the teachers can teach online courses independently, thus lowering the costs for providing online courses in general. In addition, thanks to features such as AI auto tracking and preset focus-switch, materials for an ordinary course could be used seamlessly for online teaching with no extra preparation required, which reduces the teacher’s burden of preparation.
The full-scale use of the PTC310U initiated on September 2021 during the graduating seminars held by the Correspondence Division. The seminars were held in a hybrid manner, with face-to-face teaching and online teaching carried out concurrently.
Unlike “online courses” with no participants on-site, a flexible course allows the teacher to directly observe the reactions of those that are present at scene. As such, the teacher tends to feel the teaching experience as a whole similar to that of an ordinary course, which we consider is an excellent experience.
The PTC310U is placed at the center of the classroom and films the teacher with auto tracking. In addition, two preset areas on the blackboard were defined, in which the teacher may control the camera to switch between the two with a push of a button via the remote. Not only does this mean the teacher can operate the camera by themselves and teach virtual classes independently, a cameraperson is also no longer needed on the scene.
The connection set-up is quite straightforward for online teaching. The PTC310U only needs to be connected to a laptop via a USB cable. Moreover, the online video conference tool “Zoom” may also be used for course sharing. Students using Zoom will be projected to a large display at the front of the classroom.
AI Auto Tracking PTZ Camera
The PTC310U AI Auto Tracking PTZ Camera makes powerful and reliable Pro AV capability available to everyone. Drawing inspiration from the AVer Professional PTZ Camera family, the PTC310U features in-house AI functions like Presenter Mode and Zone Mode auto tracking, thanks to Human Detection processing. Combine the 12X Optical Zoom lens and 4K resolution with hybrid auto tracking and smooth PTZ functions for broadcasting, streaming, or recording. Your exciting journey of audio and video capturing starts here!