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Q-Review camera tracking pilot – Fogg LT and Engineering 3.25

31 August 2018 Posted in: News Tagged: By: Richard Chantler

We’re excited to announce that we will be piloting a camera tracking solution for the capturing of written content on the blackboards/whiteboards in Engineering 3.25 and the Fogg LT. The installations are due to be completed on August 31st, with a later date scheduled to fine tune the configurations as per feedback received.

These wide-aspect rooms, equipped with multiple writing surfaces, shall receive pressure mat installations along the front of the venues. These will trigger the high definition automated (pictured) camera to pan, tilt and zoom to frame the content which the lecturer is presenting from the whiteboards/blackboards. This solution hopes to address the issues highlighted in feedback received from some academics who use the document cameras to capture written content, who feel that in doing so they are bound to the podium and unable to teach in more dynamic ways. Academics who use document cameras however have stated that they like the ability to export images of the written content so that the material may be added to QMplus as lecture notes. A camera tracking solution will also allow presenters to do this, with them being able to screenshot the content and upload the images as notes.

We would like to invite academics to test this new technology and provide feedback on the configurations which have been programmed. We are keen to determine the best means to capture all teaching delivered, whether or not the whiteboards/blackboards are used and to ensure that users who do not wish to engage with the technology are not negatively impacted. We will be receiving further programming from our vendor in mid-September to make any necessary changes, as per the feedback received. Configurations for camera view presets will take the following into consideration:

  • No inputs detected from pressure mats
  • Multiple inputs detected from pressure mats (more than one presenter)
  • Inputs detected, but no movement for extended periods (possibly furniture placed on mats)
  • Default positions should errors arise

If you would like to trial this, please contact us at elearning@qmul.ac.uk or if you would like to see one in action, please come along to the Teaching Space Awareness Session at 2pm on September 12th in the Fogg LT. Please book your attendance via this online form.

A number of other camera tracking options were explored before deciding upon pressure mats being installed:

  • Facial recognition software
  • Heatmapping software
  • Infra-red lanyard tracking

These technologies were not chosen due to the effectiveness of the them in being able to detect the presenter(s), differentiate between the presenter and participants, work effectively when there are multiple presenters and concerns of equipment being required to be worn and potentially going missing or requiring regular charging. We believe that the pressure pad option is the ‘lowest tech’ solution, with the greatest effectiveness and allowing the framing of each writing space presented at, which was not possible with all the other options.

If you would like to see the technology in action but cannot attend the demonstration on the 12th of September, please still get in contact with us. Similarly, if you are interested in piloting this camera tracking, it may still be possible to arrange timetable changes so that you can teach in these rooms (dependent on the size of class and existing bookings) as we can work with the Timetabling Team to ensure the camera tracking technology gets used by as many interested parties as possible.

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