“He’s been the technical brains behind this, and he’s just been an amazing partner, and this whole enterprise, I can’t speak highly enough of his dedication and creativity and his technical skill,” says Lon Appleby, a professor and founder of the Global Classroom at Durham College.
Appleby is referring to one man who often isn’t seen by students attending Global Class lectures, but whose work is essential in its operation. He is talking about Stuart Reid.
Reid is an audio-visual technician at Durham College, and the main technician behind the mixing board and cameras in Durham College’s Global Classroom, newly renamed Rotary Global Classroom.
Reid, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, has been a part of Durham College for 15 years. He has worked closely with both staff of the college as well as Ontario Tech University to provide lecture broadcast and capture to students.
“We set up cameras and microphones and we make sure we capture the data as displayed for videos and anything like that. So, that will get broadcasted to students who are viewing it remotely or they’ll also use it for reviews, so if they’re not sure about a lecture they can go back and watch it again,” says Reid.
Reid is serious about the work he does. Providing quality education and giving access to those who may not be able to come to the campus is rooted in personal experiences.
“I have a hearing difficulty. I was born with a defect in my auditory canals. So, when I went to school, the teachers generally would just put me to the back of the class and didn’t bother with me,” says Reid. “So, for me education has always been a very personal passion and I’ve educated myself to a great extent, you know, so for me it’s very personal and I want to give the best experience that I can to students when it comes to education.”
Reid is a busy staff member. Before COVID-19, Reid was aiding in broadcasting an average of six lectures a day and recalls a day when he was one of the last staff members to leave the campus as he was aiding a professor in the nuclear program complete the last of his lecture broadcasts.
“It was only during the summer when I came back and I had a meeting with Lon Appleby that I got an opportunity to work with him in greater detail, and to build the evolution of the Global Class into what it is now,” says Reid.
The Rotary Global Class, located in the approximately $40 million dollar Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE), allows professors and staff to hold events and lectures to over 130 locations around the world. The class is the centre’s jewel in the crown and would not be where it is today without Reid, says Appleby.
“He worked for the BBC before he came to Canada. He brought considerable production experience with him and when he got hired at the college in media services, he began to look for programs and technologies that faculty could use to help make their classrooms more electronic more sophisticated,” says Appleby.
“He’s been kind of like the campus’s best kept secret. That’s how I see it. He’s just full of so many ideas on what we can do and the future of the Global Class,” continues Appleby. “I just love it.”
The work Reid does makes the work of other staff that much easier. Casandra Whyte is the Global Class assistant, she says the technical work Reid does has helped her and other staff minimize potential issues.
“He has come in early many times to set up and perfect the plan before the classes start so we can avoid as many problems as possible,” says Whyte.
While staff like Stuart Reid often go unseen, the work and skills he provides help students learn, even during a pandemic.
“He keeps the rest of the team calm, and is always open to new ideas,” says Whyte. “He brought us the motto ‘We tech, you teach’ and that really exemplifies his approach to the Global Classroom.”
“Working with Stuart has made my job much easier and more enjoyable,” says Whyte. “And I know that he always has my back.”