To advance the online learning experience, educators need to think outside the box. The video conferencing box that is.
That’s exactly what Narine Hall, PhD, Associate Professor of Data Science and Machine Learning at Champlain College, did when she built InSpace, a video collaboration platform built specifically for education.
“Forget about the squares,” Hall said in a recent interview. “Let's build something where we can move around and run our classes the way we do in the physical space. Technology shouldn't tell us how to teach. It should complement and amplify our process without hindering the experience.”
Canvas LMS + Inspace = Content + Community
Instructure announced full integration with InSpace in Canvas LMS for a seamless flow of content and community. The integration means InSpace’s video-collaboration, synchronous and asynchronous chat functions, and virtual office hours will be available at the click of a button for Canvas LMS users.
Hall spoke with Instructure on why basic video conferencing platforms built originally for business are not enough for online learning. She outlined three ways InSpace’s innovative design brings the benefits of in-person learning to an online environment.
Three Ways to Build an Authentic Digital Campus with InSpace
1. Think Fluid and Dynamic
Traditional video conferencing platforms prescribe a certain teaching style and constrain teachers, Hall said. They lack the social cues and the flexibility necessary for online learning and engagement.
InSpace users are shown in circles and move through breakout sessions and across a digital campus. Hall built this fluid experience intentionally to amplify and advance online learning interactions.
“Information sharing is no longer the point of education,” Hall said. “It's really about creating knowledge with students in the classroom and being able to connect and engage."
2. Always Prioritize Student Experience
It’s easy to get carried away with features when building an EdTech platform, Hall said. But if features don’t enhance the student experience, they become a distraction.
When designing InSpace, Hall said she put the student and teacher experience at the center and built everything out from it. The goal of every classroom technology should be to fade into the background, she said.
“Let's see what is actually happening in the classroom,” Hall said. “Then, let's go build features to support and elevate that.”
For instance, in current video conferencing technology, breakout rooms are disconnected from the larger classroom. With InSpace, students can seamlessly move between discussions without disturbing the conversation and teachers can participate in the entire classroom ecosystem, instead of isolated rooms.
3. Measure Engagement Beyond the Mute Button
Rather than measuring student engagement based on how many students mute or turn the video off, give learners autonomy for how to engage. InSpace users choose where to be on the screen, which conversations to join, and how to participate.
InSpace uses proximity-based audio technology to allow multiple concurrent conversations. Learners can join a conversation by moving closer or naturally exit one by moving further away. This allows students to replicate traditional conversations online for a more authentic experience.
How InSpace compliments Canvas LMS
Hall said integrating InSpace with Canvas LMS is the perfect marriage of content and community. “With Canvas and InSpace, students have one place they go and everything is right there for them, the whole campus.”
Campuses use InSpace for:
- Virtual Classrooms + Breakout Rooms
- Virtual Office Hours
- Virtual Advisor Meetings
- Admissions Office
- Library Reference Desk
- Registrar’s Office
- Wellness Centers
Hear more from InSpace CEO Narine Hall on why she built the platform and how Canvas LMS + InSpace work together to help advance the learning experience.