Synchronous Instruction

New technology being installed across campus will allow for synchronous instruction for Fall 2020 and beyond. Each faculty member will receive their own wireless Rode microphone for the Fall 2020 semester. You’ll need to bring your microphone set with you to each classroom. Please remember to charge the microphone set regularly. Batteries last up to 8 hours. The microphones will work with both Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Best Practices for Synchronous Instruction

Both the Owl and Sony cameras function as webcams and can be utilized through Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The Rode microphones are wireless and will allow for mobility in a hybrid or synchronous classroom, especially while taking advantage of the Owl's sound-tracking capabilities. 

Take note of the following categories of tips to help you provide the best possible experience to your synchronous, hybrid classrooms.


Zoom is KU's an online meeting platform that allows for virtual communication with students and colleagues in real time. 

Access KU’s Zoom Portal

View our Zoom Support

  • Tips for Zoom meeting attendees
    • Mute your microphone
      To help keep background noise to a minimum, make sure you mute your microphone when you are not speaking.

    • Be mindful of background noise
      When your microphone is not muted, avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as shuffling papers.

    • Position your camera properly
      If you choose to use a web camera, be sure it is in a stable position and focused at eye level, if possible. Doing so helps create a more direct sense of engagement with other participants.

    • Limit distractions
      You can make it easier to focus on the meeting by turning off notifications, closing or minimizing running apps, and muting your smartphone.

    • Avoid multi-tasking
      You'll retain the discussion better if you refrain from replying to emails or text messages during the meeting and wait to work on that PowerPoint presentation until after the meeting ends.

    • Prepare materials in advance
      If you will be sharing content during the meeting, make sure you have the files and/or links ready to go before the meeting begins.
Owl Camera

The Owl is an in-room, web conferencing camera that provides a panoramic view of the room and displays up to three active speaker panels. The Owl has the ability to show more than one person in the room when multiple people are engaged in conversation. When utilized with Zoom or Teams the meeting host still has the ability to engage participants with all of Zoom's and Teams’ interactive features including screen sharing, whiteboard, etc.

  • Owl Camera General Tips

    The Owl has a 360-degree camera that will show a panorama frame of your entire classroom across the top of the screen. In the lower frame it will auto-track the sound of whomever is speaking and display up to three speakers simultaneously. The Owl camera will not impact any of the functionality of Zoom. You will still be able to choose to share your screen, use breakout rooms, use a digital whiteboard, etc. Below are best practices for capturing classroom activities.

    • Remain as stationary possible and try not to pace quickly back and forth. Although the camera will track your voice, there may be a delay that could be distracting to remote participants
    • You will need to be speaking clearly and loudly for about 10 seconds for the Owl’s camera to relocate you via auto tracking should it have focused on a student asking a question or there was a quiet section of class.
    • The Meeting Owl audio tracking radius is about 12’ – 18’ so it is important that only a few people speak at a time. The camera will focus on any extra noise.
    • Remote students should mute their microphones unless they are speaking to prevent unwanted noise.
Sony Camera

Sony cameras are used in lecture halls and provide a high-definition view of the presenter and the board at the front of the room. Presenters have the option to choose from preset static views or manually zoom or pan the camera. When utilized with Zoom or Teams the meeting host still has the ability to engage participants with all of Zoom's and Teams’ interactive features including screen sharing, whiteboard, etc.

The video below demonstrates the seven easy steps to start your synchronous instruction using an Owl or Sony Camera Classroom.

Owl and Sony Camera Classroom Setup Video Demonstration

Printable written instructions for the Owl and Sony Camera Classroom are also available. All Zoom functions will otherwise work as normal. Documentation for Zoom is available in the Learning Technology Solutions Center and Zoom Support webpage.