Lincoln University plans to implement several emerging technologies in its classrooms this fall, with the possible inclusion of virtual reality, the institution announced this week.
Lincoln U., a small, historically Black university tucked in the southeast corner of the state, plans first to ensure that all of its students have consistent access to the basic technologies needed for remote learning, such as webcams, high-quality microphones and laptops, university leaders said. Nicholas Jackson, an instructional designer at the university, told the News Tribune that he also plans to ramp up training programs both for faculty and students before moving onto implementing more advanced technologies.
Jackson said most of the classrooms as Lincoln University already have “smart boards,” which enable students viewing a lecture remotely to easily view what an instructor is writing on the board. Addition features that he plans to add include live commenting and virtual reality, which could be used to virtually visit another country or a museum, Jackson suggested.
“Through the use of virtual reality, if you’re in a French class, you can actually go see France from your classroom and go on a walking tour,” Jackson told the Tribune.
Many technological gaps at universities have been laid bare by the health crisis as institutions widely adopted hybrid or fully online learning models last year. Even the professors that have gone furthest to update their technology admit that student learning is suffering from the rapid transition, while many institutions are struggling to acquire and use even the basic tools of a remote learning model.
Just the same, many higher education CIOs have said they’ve weathered the transition relatively well, and historically Black colleges and universities should get a boost in 2021 as companies like Apple and Google pledge funding to HBCUs and President Joe Biden promises $70 billion for new education grants, research incubators, infrastructure and graduate programs at HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.