Hybrid Classrooms in the Expanded Academy


New Media


Semester Project

Field of Study

New Media


In two New Media courses students were working on what we called the “expanded academy”.

We had a close look at how this mix of face-to-face, online and hybrid class situations, which became real the last 3 semesters, has influenced our awareness of what defines the identity of Merz Akademie.

Strictly optimistic (!) we developed a concept for a new architectural approach alongst the students’ view on their own studying situation. Rather idealistic with the work of 1960/70s Italian avantgarde architecture and design group Superstudio in our mind.

But also very practical in form of the design of a low-cost and easy-to-use technical setup for a hybrid classroom that allows to mix face-to-face teaching and learning with online participation. Leaving for one moment the pandemic necessity’s framing of the last 18 months we dared to have a look at probable new forms of studies.

Face-to-face teaching is crucial at an art and design school. But as the last 3 semesters showed, there were also positive aspects of online teaching and learning. In particular when this didn’t just mean working at home, but working from everywhere. And if we don’t see it in the pandemic context, this is a positive development. And it’s definitely not new to have a mix of face-to-face and online lessons. The FernUniversität Hagen for example exists since 1975 (!).
Having a look at both, alternative concepts of education as well as alternative forms of educational institutions, we took Merz Akademie as case study and use case to think about how this new balance between virtual and physical space creates an “expanded academy”.

In the courses we discussed the new possibilities offered by physical, online and hybrid presence in physical, online and hybrid classrooms. We will continue to develop our prototype of a “hybrid classroom”, based on the outcomes of the this semester’s outcomes, where we used different devices, like smartphone and digital cameras to create a spatial representation of the physical classroom for online participants.

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