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CTE - Center for Teaching Excellence: Polycom Classes

CPC's Polycom Classrooms

Central Penn College has a dedicated Polycom classroom for remote learning sessions at both the Summerdale and Lancaster locations. 

  • Summerdale Polycom Classroom: West Wing 24
  • Lancaster Polycom Classroom: Room 109

Faculty teaching sessions in these classrooms need to prepare to provide effective instruction in a hybrid environment that mixes traditional live instruction and remote learning. 

Note: Some Polycom classes are assigned to classrooms that use a portable Polycom unit. For faculty using the portable unit, the Instruction scenarios described below do not apply. Faculty teaching with a portable Polycom unit for the first time should schedule an orientation/training with IT to determine the best camera placement for their instruction. Email the Help Desk ( to schedule training. The best practices described in this guide apply to both the dedicated Polycom classrooms and portable units. 

Polycom Classroom Instruction Scenarios

Instruction Scenario 1

Instructors who are planning to broadcast slides or other media content via their podium computer and projector need to prepare for Instruction Scenario 1. At the instructor site, the computer images will be broadcast through a ceiling-mounted projector. The remote participants will appear on monitors at the front and back of the instructor's classroom. At the participant site, learners will see the computer images broadcast through the projector. Monitors at the front and back of the classroom will display a picture-in-picture view of the instructor and learners who are present at the instructor site. Instructors will not be able to broadcast the dry erase boards in their rooms. Do not forget to wear the lavalier microphone throughout your session and to power down your microphone at the end of your session.

Instructors in scenario 1 who need to annotate their slides or provide content via live drawing or writing should reserve a Splashtop kit from the CTE (email for more information).

Instruction Scenario 1


Instruction Scenario 2

Instructors who are not planning to broadcast slides or other media content need to prepare for Instruction Scenario 2. At the instructor site, nothing will be broadcast through the ceiling-mounted projector. The remote participants will appear on monitors at the front and back of the instructor's classroom. At the participant location, learners will see a live image of the instructor broadcast through the projector. Monitors at the front and back of the classroom will display the learners who are present at the instructor site. Do not forget to wear the lavalier microphone throughout your session and to power down your microphone at the end of your session.

Instructors will not be able to broadcast the dry erase boards in their rooms. Instructors in scenario 2 who need to display writing or drawing should reserve a Splashtop kit from the CTE (email for more information)

Instruction Scenario 2

Best Practices for Teaching with Polycom

Before teaching in the Polycom environment for the first time it is a good idea to talk to your chair and colleagues who are familiar with teaching in this environment. The Center for Teaching Excellence is also available to help you plan your instruction for teaching with Polycom.

  • Schedule an orientation/training to walk through the instruction scenarios for your classroom and to familiarize yourself with the technology.
  • Arrive in your classroom early so you can identify any issues early. Know who to call for support or with questions. 
  • Communicate expectations to your students. Provide them with etiquette tips such as letting them know to limit environmental noises such as shuffling paper.
  • Wear your lavalier/lapel microphone throughout your session (do not forget to turn the microphone power off at the end of your session). 
  • Have an outline/plan for your class session. Consider the materials and resources you will need to share with students and the best method for sharing. Think about how you will annotate content.
  • Create a plan for student engagement and the best method for getting students actively participating.
  • Have a back-up plan for engagement in case your remote location has low attendance or only one student attending.  
  • Provide students with your session plan and relevant materials ahead of schedule. Make sure printed materials have been made available ahead of time and that printouts are available (if necessary) at the remote location. Blackboard is a great way to provide plans, resources, and materials ahead of time. 
  • Inform students of your expectations for participation and have a plan for active engagement in course discussion. 
  • Remember to include your remote students, make eye contact with the camera during lecture, and reference them during discussion. Learn the names of all of your students.
  • Use Blackboard tools such as discussion and VoiceThread to help students at both locations engage with one another. 
  • Have a back-up plan in case the technology fails. Inform your students of your back-up plan and how you will contact them if they are on the remote end when technology fails.
  • Seek student feedback throughout the term and be responsive to all feedback. If your remote students report feeling isolated, take this feedback seriously and seek support. 

Polycom Classroom Help

For technical support, contact the Help Desk

For assistance with designing instruction or activities for your Polycom class sessions or to reserve a Splashtop kit, contact the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).

Video Tips

Chris Roberts works with educators who teach via videoconferencing systems. His video includes well-rounded advice for faculty who are preparing to run remote teaching sessions.


Denise Baffis is an educational technology consultant and in this video she offers excellent advice on the considerations educators need to make before they run a remote teaching session. Watch this video to the end so you do not miss any of her valuable guidance.

Check out Splashtop

Splashtop allows faculty to use an iPad to control the faculty work station computer in the classroom. This provides the ability to teach from anywhere in the classroom resulting in improved classroom management and student engagement. Splashtop also includes drawing tools that can be used to write on any screen content or the Splashtop whiteboard. Use the preloaded backgrounds with the whiteboard or upload your own!