UT upgrades classroom technology to improve learning both on-campus and off

Teams worked to integrate Zoom with a collaboration and presentation system, Cynap. They said it will help professors teach hybrid classes.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Classes at the University of Tennessee are being upgraded with new kinds of technology, according to officials.

Teams worked to integrate Zoom, a teleconferencing software, with a kind of tool that helps teachers present materials. Officials said that the system will help make sure students continue learning, regardless of whether they’re learning in-person and online.

They also said the new technology will help professors teach hybrid classes. Around a third of all classes will be held in-person when the semester starts — the rest will have some kind of online element, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No matter where a student is living or studying, we want them to be able to actually participate in the instruction, so that means having appropriate spaces, updated technology, and robust internet access,” said UT Libraries Associate Dean Teresa Walker, who helped lead the efforts.

A committee of employees from the Office of Information Technology, the UT Libraries, Facilities Services, the Haslam College of Business and the Tickle College of Engineering worked together to plan, order and install audio and video technology.

They said they wanted to make sure instructors had the tools they needed to reach the entire class, including both in-person and online students. Officials also said they are continuing to give laptops and hotspots for students who need them. Since March, they gave students around 600 hotspots and 400 laptops.