Resource from UH News
An online teaching investment by the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu comes with heartfelt gratitude from students and teachers alike. Through UH West Oʻahu’s new Synchronous Online Studio (SOS), online classes feel as though they are being held in-person, providing a positive learning experience during the shift to online instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accounting Professor Franklin T. Kudo and Assistant Accounting Professor Katie Landgraf came up with the idea for SOS during the summer, and created it with the help of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Information Technology (IT) Director Therese Nakadomari.
“We both not only enjoy in-person classes, but felt we needed to do more to engage and motivate our online students,” Kudo said.
Located in the Administration and Health Sciences building, SOS is designed for IT-assisted broadcasting. The studio has lighting and a camera manned by an IT technician, who can record faculty as they move around the room, and adjust sound levels as needed. In the studio, there is a side whiteboard with a Kaptivo, a whiteboard capture device that allows faculty to record and save what they write on the board, and a 75-inch monitor so faculty can see their students while they teach.
“I miss being in the classroom, so this studio really gives me and the students the in-person feel we all long for,” said Landgraf.
In addition to SOS, there is a second studio designed for instructor-driven broadcasting. The room has a Meeting Owl Pro (a 360-degree smart conferencing camera) so faculty can broadcast their class, as well as a whiteboard with a Kaptivo.
The UH West Oʻahu IT Help Desk handles reservations for the two rooms on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made online.
A support system for students
In difficult courses, students need to engage with other students to see that they are not the only ones struggling, and they also need to surround themselves with a support system, Landgraf emphasized. Through the SOS, students can engage with their peers and teachers easily to better grasp complex concepts.
“Each student has a different background and knowledge on the subject of accounting and they ask intelligent questions that the professor can expand on,” said Julie Treece, a student of Landgraf’s intermediate financial accounting course. “The interaction and questioning environment is important for students because it widens our scope of knowledge and is not subjected to just the text.”
Both Kudo and Landgraf recently surveyed their accounting students regarding their learning experience with the synchronous course lectures taught from SOS.
“From what I gathered from the data, the majority of students—meaning those who strongly agree and agree—‘learned more,’ are ‘more engaged,’ ‘more motivated,’ and ‘increased their desire to continue their education with UH West Oʻahu’ because of this synchronous environment,” said Landgraf.