U.S. Naval War College College of Distance Education Celebrates Hybrid Classroom Opening

Rear Adm. Shoshana S. Chatfield and the Classroom Committee host a ceremony for the opening of a hybrid classroom

(Jan. 26, 2022)

Rear Adm. Shoshana S. Chatfield, president of the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) and the Classroom Committee host a ceremony for the opening of a hybrid classroom Jan. 26. The hybrid classroom enables both guest speakers and students, who cannot physically attend in person, to interact with participants in the physical classroom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tyler J. James/Released)

Newport, R.I. - U.S. Naval College (NWC) College of Distance Education (CDE) celebrated their hybrid classroom opening with a cake cutting ceremony and open house, Jan. 26.

Faculty and staff gathered virtually and in person to hear remarks from Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, president, U.S. Naval War College.

“The hybrid classroom expands the traditional classroom experience beyond the walls of the building. It gives us the opportunity to access guest speakers who we might not be able to bring to the campus or to access otherwise,” said Chatfield. “It allows students who would not be able to participate in classroom discussion, which is an essential part of the learning process, to attend classes and participate and learn from their peers. This classroom represents the best of the future. It is a leap forward for us in distributed synchronous education.”

The hybrid classroom program began in 2019 to improve technology in the classroom. Initally, classroom designers conceived that these upgrades would improve the reach of our distributed, remote students who were enrolled around the global. However, when COVID-19 occurred, the campus closed providing an opportunity for NWC to evaluate the facilities and the technology that NWC had already started to identify and take the lessons learned from classroom upgrades and implement NWC’s investment in the technology.

Amanda M. Rosen, associate director, NWC Teaching Excellence Center, provided insight into the hybrid classroom program.

“The hybrid technology is a tool to facilitate and support learning where faculty can engage both physically present and remote students in a wide-ranging discussion. They can share annotate slides, maps, videos and other materials,” said Rosen. “Guest speakers from around the world can join the class without having to invest the resources in travel, and faculty innovations will drive the use of this technology to enhance the learning experience for students and ensure that every student receives the full benefit of the curriculum—even in a pandemic.”

The CDE’s Fleet Seminar Program at Newport uses hybrid classrooms to allow students the option to attend remotely via Zoom, and the resident academic program uses the technology for better effects in the classroom and reaches students that quarantined in the past, or isolated due to exposure or symptoms because of COVID-19. It also enables both guest speakers and students who cannot physically attend to interact with participants in the physical classroom. Six of the 17 hybrid classrooms have completed technological upgrades.

Established in 1884, the U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 75,000 students have graduated since the first class of nine students in 1885.

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