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Amidst Pandemic, Clarke Professor Makes Sound Bite to Mimic Classroom Buzz

By Clarke News  |  August 28, 2020

Clarke Professor of Mathematics Amanda Matson, Ph.D., created a sound bite to simulate the sound of classroom noise so that online students can feel connected.

Amanda Matson creates sound bit to mimic classroom buzz

For Clarke students, the fall semester looks a bit different, and students are returning to classes either in-person, online, or in a hybrid format. Matson noticed that as she created her orientation videos for new students and as she began teaching virtually, there was a quietness that was unfamiliar. What was missing was the friendly chatter of her Clarke students. She took it upon herself to ask students to send her some recorded sounds bites of their daily activities, whether that be talking to a friend, drinking coffee, typing on a keyboard, humming, or reading aloud. She then compiled the sounds together to create a sort of “white noise” background for students who are used to hearing the sounds of human interaction around them while they are learning or studying.

Matson said, “At faculty orientation and in online learning settings, I noticed the lack of ‘new year sound buzz’ that typically starts the semester. That’s how we know everyone is back on campus – all of those conversations happening concurrently. When I made my orientation videos in Camtasia for my students, I noticed that I could export just the sound. That’s when it dawned on me that I could mix sounds together. I reached out to my students and asked them to provide me with sounds … voices, noises, banter, etc. They can now play it whenever they want to hear their peers’ voices and remember they are not alone while they are working.”

Matson said there is an ongoing silence in this “new world” we find ourselves in, and we need to find ways to hear each other again. Hearing the sounds of their classmates chatting and coffee cups clinking brings a familiarity back to students’ lives.

Sound Bite

TH Newstory: ‘It helps them be socially connected while they’re physically distanced’