The Learning Management System (LMS) at Utah State University is playing a unique role during COVID-19, and even more now that fall semester is about to start. The Teaching and Learning Technologies team at USU has built four unique Learning Tools Interop...
Amazon Alexa has been installed in 11 classrooms at Utah State University in Logan. In 2017, Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT) built voice experiences, or skills, allowing a blind instructor to control the classroom technology with a series of commands. This proof of concept was successful and is now being installed in more rooms by TLT and the Classroom team.
“Having Alexa in the classroom allows faculty and students to engage with the technology and course content without having to touch anything,” said Kevin Reeve, director of TLT. “This makes the classroom more accessible and gives a professor more freedom to move around the room without being tied behind the desk to control the technology.”
Instructors can move throughout a classroom freely while maintaining audio and visual control. They can easily access course content while engaging their students. This impacts the quality of instruction, especially in active-learning classrooms.
We are the first to implement Amazon Alexa in learning environments to impact and improve the student and instructor experience.
According to Reeve, USU is leading the charge in incorporating voice-commanded technology in university-level classrooms. “So far, there are others using the technology, but not in classrooms for instructors. Generally, other universities are using it in student living spaces as a resource to ask about registration and so forth. We are the first to implement Amazon Alexa in learning environments to impact and improve the student and instructor experience.”
Tyler Clair, instructional tools administrator, built the skills to incorporate Alexa in the classroom with the help of student developers Andrew Jouffray and Jack Thomas. Jim Wellings, classroom technical professional, has programmed the Crestron touch display to work with Alexa, making it possible to add Alexa to more classrooms.
During fall semester 2019, faculty will have access to the use the Amazon Alexa in the following rooms:
- RWST 113
- GEOL 308
- FAV 262
- FAV 264
- EDUC 131
- LIB 302
- LIB 405
- RWST 306
- MAIN 119
- MAIN 121
TLT will be working with faculty to get feedback on how to make the technology better for future use.