HSE Launches VR Live Streaming System for Students
HSE University together with the mobile network operator company MTS have launched a 360° live streaming system that supports VR format for remotely taught courses. HSE students can now attend lectures online both in regular format and, for the first time in Russia, in augmented reality format. Six lecture halls on HSE’s Moscow campus are now equipped with 360° panoramic video cameras and auto tracking cameras that follow the instructor’s movement in the classroom.
Video conferencing using spherical video and virtual reality technologies makes participants feel like they are in the classroom with their instructor and enhances their engagement with course material. On a specially created website, students can simultaneously see their instructor and their presentation materials or a blackboard on one screen. If using VR glasses, you can move around the picture simply by turning your head, since the streaming supports 4K 360° video. Students can also access any lecture for a year after it is recorded. To give students more freedom in choosing their format and programme of study, HSE has equipped more than 150 classrooms to conduct online classes with online viewers. Six of them, all located in the Moscow campus’s Pokrovka complex, are equipped for VR and 360° live streaming. This makes it possible to implement the University’s ambitious Inter-Campus Course project.
Alexey Chukarin, Senior Director for Digital Transformation, HSE University
If an instructor is teaching a course to students in a classroom in Moscow, students who are able to connect to the live stream from St. Petersburg, Perm, and Nizhny Novgorod can simultaneously attend it and include it in their individual curricula. Conversely, students in Moscow can attend lectures of the regional campuses. To this end, a unified timetable has been developed in order to synchronize the educational process at HSE.
‘Virtual reality technologies are gradually becoming a part of life, primarily in areas where an element of presence is needed, such as tourism and entertainment. More than a year ago, MTS launched a live streaming and VR viewing service for public events and concerts, and today at least three concerts a month are held on the MTS platform,’ says Andrey Panagushin, commercial director of the Moscow region business market at MTS. ‘Education is another promising direction for applying VR solutions. Together with HSE, we have done a great job and we hope that this experience with blurring the boundaries between onsite and remote learning will be useful for both students and teachers, and, subsequently, be able to be used more widely in professional and higher education.’