Mexico university designs classrooms for post-pandemic hybrid classes

Guadalajara, Mexico, May 25 (EFE).- With intelligent spaces that allow students to interact and feel they are in a classroom, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology has resumed hybrid classes after almost a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Given the health emergency, the university implemented a program of Hybrid Simultaneous In-Person Remote classes, known as HPRS, with cutting edge technology so that students taking virtual classes can interact with their professors in real time as if they were present in the classroom.

The director of academic services at Tec de Monterrey’s Guadalajara campus, Veronica Rangel, told EFE on Tuesday that they had created the learning system using educational platforms with audio and video technology.

“This is a model that has evolved a lot. At this time we’re working so that the students feel like they’re right here (in the school), although they’re not physically present on campus, and they can interact with their classmates, see their professor, hear perfectly, feel integrated, not only just take the classes” virtually, she said.

The classes are being delivered with a percentage of the students in the classroom who are connected with their fellow classmates via videoconference and the latter can see and hear the professor as if they were in the same place with the help of special cameras with movement sensors and environmental microphones.

In addition, the professor may incorporate videos and other teaching resources into the class in real time so that students inside and outside the classroom can interact with these tools.

“It demands a greater effort by the professor, for example becoming familiar with the technology, redesigning their class, their activities and the tasks that are associated with this new reality and, on the other hand, the students are learning to interact in a different manner than in in-person classes,” she said.

Starting last October, the university began implementing the HPRS classrooms at all of its campuses in Mexico, as well as training the professors to use the system in an optimal way and adapting the educational content to make student learning more efficient.

On May 17, 2021, a number of students at the Guadalajara campus returned to their classrooms after the Jalisco state government authorized the resumption of classes amid strict security protocols.

The institution implemented the HyFlex+ Tec model with which it is seeking to provide students with a hybrid and flexible education with health protocols that can be adapted to any pandemic scenario that arises as per the number of infections in a given city.

In Mexico, the pandemic has caused not only a health and economic crisis but also an educational crisis at all levels.

According to figures from the National Statistics and Geography Institute (Inegi), one million students at the university level stopped attending classes because of the health emergency, which in Mexico has killed at least 221,695 people and where 2,397,307 confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected, according to the Health Secretariat.


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