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Auto Tracking Camera Systems at Case Western Reserve University

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Auto Tracking Camera Systems at Case Western Reserve University
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Auto Tracking Camera Systems at Case Western Reserve University

In this case study, you can review a behind the scenes look at some of the educational and instructional technology used by Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. Case Western Reserve University is a top-ranked private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio. Just take a look at the beautiful architecture designed by Frank Gehry in the iconic Peter B. Lewis Building. The school’s forward-thinking programs include state of art facilities equipped with the latest education technology where the school has innovated a lecture capture and online learning system that is sure to amaze. The technology in use includes the new HuddleCamHD Simpltrack 2 AutoTracking cameras used to automate camera operation for lecture capture, the Echo 360 video management system and the modern Canvas learning management platform.

With over 11,000 students interacting with more than 3,500 faculty members, a key piece of student learning is the online learning management system. The system has been designed to connect students with a world of online learning tools while maintaining an intuitive hassle-free teacher experience. The campus features a vibrant community of modern educators who are using the Canvas learning management system to manage to populate their online resources with video recordings that feature high definition video recordings with automatically controlled robotic HuddleCamHD cameras.

The technology team at the Weatherhead School of Management has streamlined the process of capturing high definition video recordings of classroom presentations so that teachers only had to focus on making a great presentation. In order to do this, the team schedules the Echo360 video management platform to automatically record each class during the semester. Because many classrooms are equipped with a HuddleCamHD Auto-Tracking Camera the recorded videos automatically follow each teacher and remained zoom into the whiteboard spaces where they are teaching. Students and teachers have noticed a significant increase in quality with the auto-tracking cameras versus the manned cameras operated by student workers. Because the IT team had to budget for a payroll of student camera operators, the SimplTrack2 cameras paid for themselves in the first year of operation.

Today a single IT team member can manage multiple classrooms and remotely view each classroom as needed. The presentation lectern installed by the Dobil Labratories Inc, provides teachers with access to HD document cameras, an HDMI computer input, and even live annotation provided by the Epiphan Lecture Capture. During each lecture capture recording the Echo 360 recording system will capture a high definition video feed from the auto-tracking camera and an HD video source from the Crestron Matrix installed in the lectern rack system.The Echo360 capture systems will pair the Simpltrack2 HD SDI video signal and with the teacher’s video presentation for students to review after class. This provides teachers an intuitive video production workflow allowing them to create content without even thinking about the technology involved. After each Echo360 recording is made, it is automatically made available on-demand for teachers to include in their Canvas online classroom curriculum. The AutoTracking cameras are now made available for teachers whenever required without the need for manual camera operators.For years the University had to rely on their busy IT team or hired student camera operators in order to capture moving teachers and classroom whiteboards via video. With the HuddleCamHD Simpltrack2 automating camera controls the faculty has found that video quality has improved and operating costs have been reduced.

Video Conferencing and Lecture Capture

The Weatherhead School of Management regularly includes busy working professionals working in executive MBA programs. Providing on-demand video recordings allows these students to review course work on their own time. MBA program members find the on-demand video content particularly useful. This flipped classroom style of blended learning is now a proven standard for improving student learning across the educational landscape. The upgrade to High Definition has increased students ability to clearly read teachers handwriting whiteboards with the optical zoom provided by the Simpltrack2. Using the SimplTrack2 management software, the University is able to tune the cameras to make sure the top and bottom of each classroom whiteboard is always in view as the cameras automatically follow teachers around the room.The executive MBA program even uses the auto-tracking cameras with Zoom video conferencing for remote training and distance learning. In these cases, the HuddleCamHD Simpltrack2 can be used to record HD video via SDI to Echo360 and the USB 3.0 video outputs can be used with a laptop running the Zoom software at the same time.


Most classrooms inside the beautiful Peter B Lewis building feature a wall-mounted Simpltrack2 camera which can be remotely managed over the local area network. Using the Simpltrack2 control software the University is able to optimize the cameras tracking capabilities using an advanced combination of motion and facial tracking. With the Simpltrack2s audio line in, input allows the IT team to monitor lecture captures in real-time with live audio and video.

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