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Case Study: Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore

Established in 1990, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) is one of the leading institutions of higher learning in Singapore. It offers 36 full-time diploma courses in the areas of applied science, business, design, engineering, humanities, social sciences, informatics, and IT. It also offers over 40 part-time courses, up to advanced diploma level. TP students undergo a holistic learning system that combines hands-on experience, character education, and relevant life skills in an enriching learning environment. The school infuses global realities into its programs and develops a mindset that embraces socio-cultural diversity.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the audiovisual system available in most classrooms consisted of a projector and a wireless microphone. Since COVID-19, TP adopted HyFlex learning, allowing students to attend lessons in-person, remotely, and on-demand, addressing the dynamic shift of more lessons being conducted online. TP engaged Digiworz Pte Ltd for AV system design and integration services. Digiworz selected Extron to supply AV system switching, distribution, control, and audio equipment to implement the HyFlex upgrades.

Full Teams Room solutions are rare in Singapore’s educational institutions, so this design broke new ground. Ten learning spaces of various sizes and layouts received HyFlex AV system makeovers. The systems are built around the Lenovo ThinkSmart Core for Microsoft Teams Rooms unified communication (UC) engine. They handle transmission of audio and video between the classrooms and remote students and include built-in Teams application software. The Teams application provides a user interface via a touchscreen control panel to manage interactions between the classrooms and remote students. All Teams application features are available, including session scheduling, session video recording/transcription, screen sharing, chat, file transfer, user reaction emojis (e.g., hand-raising), etc. Classroom AV content processed by the UC engine includes video from the lecturer’s document camera, lesson presentation content from the lecturer’s laptop, video from a classroom interactive display, views of the classroom from PTZ cameras, and sound from classroom microphones. Remote students using computers equipped with webcams have complete telepresence in the classrooms. Remote students are seen and heard by the people in the classroom and vice versa. Completing the HyFlex paradigm, the Teams application records class sessions and saves them on Microsoft OneDrive or Streams cloud storage, allowing students to access classes anytime on-demand.

Each HyFlex room is equipped with an 86” touchscreen interactive display that serves as a whiteboard, a standard 86” secondary display, and a 65” confidence monitor display. The 86” displays are wall-mounted for viewing by the students. The 65” display is mounted on the wall opposite the lectern, providing a direct line-of-sight view for the lecturer.

An MGP 641xi multi-window processor completes the HyFlex experience. It creates multi-window layouts to display up to four video sources on in-room and far-end screens. The multi-window content can include lecture content, images from in-room PTZ cameras, and images from remote students’ webcams.

Ceiling mounted beamforming microphone arrays in each classroom capture the voices of lecturers and students. The microphones provide audio to the UC engine to send to remote students. The directional sound from the beamforming microphones allows for automatic PTZ camera tracking of those speaking. There are multiple cameras to capture student activity around the classroom, as well as the lecturer. A DMP Plus audio DSP processor performs acoustical echo cancellation for remote students. Those in the room hear sound through eight SoundField ceiling speakers driven by a 100-watt four-channel XPA amplifier.

An IPCP Pro control processor integrat es with the ThinkSmart UC engine to perform room AV control. The control processor includes LinkLicense for User Interfaces, which allows the ThinkSmart touchpanel at the lectern to work seamlessly with the control processor to operate the AV system. An IP Link power controller allows the AV system to be turned on and off from the touchpanel.

In line with TP’s Digitalization Plan of fostering a digitally driven educational ecosystem to enable learning in a highly personalized and flexible manner, HyFlex classrooms have given the institution the ability to offer learning options previously unavailable.

TP shared with Terence Toh, Assistant Sales Director, Digiworz Pte Ltd that, “The HyFlex classroom learning system facilitates both face-to-face and remote lessons simultaneously. This provides flexibility and convenience for our students to either attend lessons on site or remotely in the comfort of their home. One of the great features of the HyFlex Teams Rooms is that the lessons are recorded. This is an extremely useful feature for our students because they are able to play back lessons for revisions or to catch up if they have missed a lesson.”

This initiative aligns with TP’s focus to become a fully digital institution through its Digitalization Plan (DP). The core motivation of the DP is aimed at improving student and graduate outcomes. Through the DP initiative, TP seeks to fully leverage technologies to create new and greater possibilities.

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