Case study of

Full Sail University

case study Full Sail Uni Synergy

How Full Sail University Created Hybrid Learning Environments With Synergy

The background 

Founded in 1979, Full Sail University is a Graduate and Undergraduate Degree-Granting Institution offering degree programs in Entertainment, Media, Arts, and Technology to students on campus and online. The University's accelerated, innovative curriculum enables students to attend classes on a professional schedule. With over 78,950+ graduates worldwide, Full Sail alumni have worked on countless award-winning projects with individual recognition including OSCAR®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, ADDY®, Video Game Award honors, and more.

Full Sail Graduate Highlights

  • 59 graduates are credited on 59 GRAMMY®-nominated projects at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards.
  • 40 graduates were credited on 9 OSCAR®-winning films at the 92nd annual Academy Awards.
  • 271 Full Sail graduates were credited on 36 projects across 22 categories at the 2020 Game Awards. 

At Full Sail, the goal has always been to create immersive, project-based learning experiences. Students attending on-campus courses have the opportunity to interact with different types of technology as they hone their skills. Following COVID-19, however, it was Full Sail University’s forward thinking and innovative approach to embracing new technologies, that allowed the university to quickly implement new tech-based educational strategies for how they deliver immersive learning experiences.

The Information Media & Technology team, in collaboration with the Education department at the university, decided that the best solution was to create hybrid learning stations where students could participate in class scheduled labs on-campus and online in real-time. After some rapid prototyping to determine what components were required for their solution, Full Sail University quickly identified the need for controlling multiple operating systems during online learning sessions. That's where Synergy came in.

Synergy enabled our team of educators to use a video conferencing tool like Zoom to accommodate both on-campus and distance students simultaneously."

Michael Orlowski, M.P.S.E. Media Systems Engineer

Creating a hybrid learning environment

To accommodate remote students, the team at Full Sail University built a unique interactive learning system called Multi-Source Zoom. The system was built upon a 4K L.G. display connected to up to four Mac Mini computers. Each computer's video output was displayed on the screen, enabling instructors to sign into separate instances of a Zoom meeting to provide different views of the learning sessions.

The cool part about this setup was that it allowed instructors to give students a feeling of "being there" as they learned the material. For example, in a course about music production, instructors could show multiple Zoom meeting instances simultaneously from the point of view of the recording studio, recording console, live recording room, and vocal booth.

The team successfully deployed 21 Multi-Source Zoom stations across their campus using Synergy to connect multiple computers for each interactive hybrid learning environment.

Synergy enabled our team of educators to use a video conferencing tool like Zoom to accommodate both on-campus and distance students simultaneously."

Michael Orlowski, M.P.S.E. Media Systems Engineer

Transitioning to Synergy

Initially, Full Sail University had considered using a hardware KVM solution to switch between computers. This approach was later reconsidered in favor of Synergy because the software gave educators a very similar experience to what they were already comfortable with — all they needed to know was how to use their keyboard and trackpad. There was no need to learn how to switch between computers using a physical KVM switch.

Synergy also allowed instructors to sign into multiple instances of Zoom across different computers without too much hassle. Whenever an instructor had to sign in, they would sign into the meeting once, copy their credentials and then paste them into the other computers using one keyboard and mouse to get the meetings up and running as quickly as possible.

To make the transition easier, Synergy worked with the team at Full Sail University to provide support along the way as they iterated their solution. When they were ready to deploy their configuration, the software worked perfectly across all 21 instances of their Multi-Source Zoom stations.

The ability to quickly deploy Synergy through our management tools made it a clear choice."

Michael Orlowski, M.P.S.E. Media Systems Engineer

Full Sail continues to utilize Synergy

Program directors, who lead each degree program, provided fantastic feedback on how Synergy allowed students to take part in lectures and labs. By using Synergy, the team was able to deliver on their mission of creating an immersive learning experience where students could experience technology from multiple angles during lectures and learning labs.

Full Sail kicked off a gradual campus reopening in July (2020), then started offering limited on-site experiences for all students beginning in October (2020). As the university continues to welcome students safely back to its world-class learning environments, they’re also staying true to their student-centric mission and are continuing to use Synergy as a solution for hybrid learning environments.

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