As students across the U.S. begin to return to the classroom – both physically and virtually – Cisco is releasing new offerings to help educators connect with students.
On Tuesday, Cisco announced a preview of Webex Classrooms, a new education offering leveraging Webex meetings for educational purposes to meet the needs of the hybrid classroom.
In a press release, Cisco says Webex Classrooms provides a classroom structure for students and teachers to organize classes, review syllabuses, shceudle and launch classes, host virtual office hours and more.
Students can connect with one another and access course resources, and parents can use it to schedule virtual parent-teacher conferences. Webex Classrooms works together with Webex Meetings, which is already being used for hybrid learning.
Cisco has also added new capabilities for Webex Meetings to help teachers, students, parents and IT staff manage hybrid learning. That includes more tools for educators to control the class and create an engaging virtual room, including the ability to lock the meeting for only verified students, breakout rooms for small groups, more muting and hand-raising controls and new devices that can help keep the focus on the teacher.
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For students, new features include live transcripts and recorded class sessions and the ability to collaborate with other students via Webex Teams.
Parents have access to virtual parent/teacher conferences with Webex Teams and a deeper understanding of their child’s schoolwork via Webex Assistant.
Webex says the platform is secure and integrates with Schoology, Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard and other learning management systems, easing the burden on the school’s IT staff.
In a blog, Javed Khan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Collaboration, said many educators are forced to use “administrative-oriented systems” that aren’t as engaging or intuitive as other solutions.
“With Webex Classrooms, teachers can set up online classes, schedule virtual office hours, and automate note taking and attendance,” he wrote. “Students go to a single space to connect with each other, view schedules, class recordings, notes, and assignments – whether they are at home, on mobile, or on campus. And parents can stay involved more easily.