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As many Australian students returned to campus in 2021, it became clear that the extensive synchronous online learning of 2020, whilst no longer forced in most facilities, was not diminishing in volume. Rather with a little more time to prepare, online learning continues, but it is being used more strategically and selectively applied.
The first few months of 2021 have seen the continued growth of Zoom in many institutions, including the rapidly expanding use of Zoom Rooms as an enabler of easy-to use-hybrid learning spaces, and a cost effective solution for managing the return to the office whilst recognising the likelihood of remote participants for every meeting.
Overall, statistics from across the Australian education sector show Zoom use operating at around 90% of 2020 levels, with the majority of the decrease from K-12 schools, where everyone is back on campus. Many universities continue to show similar usage of Zoom this year when compared to 2020. AARNet’s support tickets and customer advisory meetings reveal an increase in the level of planning for the adoption of new Zoom features such as Live Transcription, Australian Zoom cloud and storage, and Zoom integrations with learning management systems, video recording, time tabling and marketing systems.
The AARNet Brunch and Learn seminar series this year has included presentations on topics such as deploying Zoom Rooms in executive and more complex spaces, configuring Australian storage sovereignty for Zoom, and discussions around the limitations and opportunities for invigilating exams via Zoom. AARNet is grateful for the case studies presented by both the University of Melbourne and University of the Sunshine Coast in recent sessions.
Among the new features released by Zoom in 2021 is the Immersive View – the ability to present up to 25 meeting participants, not as independent thumbnails, but overlayed as a single virtual scene. Of significant value for webinar panels, and smaller meetings, it will be fascinating to watch how creative academics activate this customisable feature, both in its initial release, and subsequent enhancements.
Author: Geoff Lambert, Zoom Customer Advisor, AARNet