To teach SI using ZipDX as a virtual classroom, you must first have a firm understanding of using the system as an interpreter.
The following is guidance for instructors using ZipDX as a virtual classroom to teach simultaneous interpretation.
- Students and instructor are located anywhere in the world, in a quiet place with web access. Each is effectively in their own interpreting booth.
- Initially instructor will address all students in a common language; traditional conference call with Q&A.
- Instructor will play pre-recorded audio passages into the system (selected and prepared ahead of time by the instructor); students will individually activate interpretation function and interpret onto their own audio channel.
- Instructor can move from channel to channel to listen to each student; channels are also recorded for later review.
- Interpretation session ends and group lecture/discussion resumes.
- Process repeats. Students can also be paired so that one listens while the other interprets; critiques can then be shared.
- More advanced topics (interpreting back-and-forth conversation; relay interpretation) aren’t discussed here but can also be practiced on the platform.
- 1. Student Prerequisites
- Must have an email address.
- Must have a computer (Windows, Mac, Linux or Chromebook.)
- Must use Chrome browser.
- Must have a headset.
- Must have a reliable internet connection.
- Not especially fast (500 kbps in each direction)
- Connected by Ethernet (not Wi-Fi)
- Must go through our online self-starting guide.
- Details what’s required to participate.
- Includes a test call to an automated service.
- Test call also allows student to verify correct equipment configuration.
- Verify connectivity from that specific network/location.
- Hear the incoming audio in their headset (not computer speakers)
- Echo test to verify that the headset microphone is the active microphone.
- 2. Instructor Prerequisites
As for student, plus must have computer configured to play prerecorded dialog to ZipDX. This is the speech the students will use for practice interpretation.
When using a Windows 10 PC we recommend the use of VoiceMeeter Banana (VMB) which is a software-based audio mixer. VMB includes the virtual audio devices necessary to route the flow of sound to/from the ZipDX Web Phone. It also includes the ability to playback prerecorded WAV and MP3 files.
The above image exactly reflects a typical instructor setup.
- Input #1 – A Sennheiser headset is used by the instructor. Routed to output B1 – to ZipDX.
- Input #2 – Unused & muted.
- Input #3 – Unused & muted.
- Input #4 – Windows system sounds. Routed to output A1 – instructor headset.
- Input #5 – From ZipDX. Routed to output A1 – instructor headset.
- Output #2 – Unused & muted.
- Output #3 – Unused & muted.
- Output #5 – Unused & muted.
- Audio player – Routed to A2, A3, B1, B2.*
Playback of sample audio is NOT routed to the instructor headset, leaving them able to hear each student’s interpretation in isolation.
Windows Sound Settings
In the Windows Sound settings select VoiceMeeter Input as the playback device, as highlighted in the picture below.
ZipDX Web Phone Device Selection
When connected to a conference using the ZipDX Web Phone:
- For the Microphone select VoiceMeeter Aux Output
- For the Speakers select VoiceMeeter Aux Input
- 3. Creating a virtual classroom template
- Log into the ZipDX web portal using your email address and PIN
- In the Conference Templates section locate the Meeting template
- Looking to the right, click on Copy to new Template.
A page of settings will be displayed.
- Set Template Name to something appropriate
- Remove any existing Conference Code
- Scroll down to Multilingual/Rooms. In the pull-down menu select Multilingual over-the-phone / up to 48 languages
- For language codes enter xaxbxcxdxexfxgxhxixjxkxlxm
- Set Talkthru = minimum
- Set Feedback = off. Return to Settings section
- If the class will be held regularly with the same students, add them to the template.
- Add each student using their email address
- If they show up as “unknown” use the Preregister link to add their details
- Set role for each student to Interpreter
- Click SAVE to store the new conference template
- 4. Scheduling a Class
- Log into the ZipDX web portal using your email address
- In the Conference Templates section locate the desired class template.
- Looking to the right, click on Schedule Conference.
- A page of settings will be displayed.
- Set the desired Date & Time.
- Click SAVE to schedule the class.
- ZipDX will display a page indicating that email invitations have been sent to the students.
- 5. Managing The Class: The Conference Dashboard
- The conference dashboard is an invaluable tool in running the virtual classroom.
- It allows the instructor to confirm that the students are assigned to the correct channels
- Displays the direction of interpretation (Floor to XX) for each student.
- Identifies those who are disruptive/making noise at inappropriate times.
- Allows monitoring of those who have interp on/off.
- Provides a text chat functionality to assist students who have issues with their audio.
- Our knowledgebase includes a series of articles detailing the various functions of the conference dashboard:
- 6. Preparing for Practice Interpretation
- At the start of the class students connect using the web phone.
- For the purposes of training each student must be assigned to a different channel.
- This is done by student setting their PRIMARY language in the Web Phone.
- Channels are designated: xa, xb, xc, xd, etc.
- Student #1 – set PRIMARY = XA?
- Student #2 – set PRIMARY = XB?
- Student #3 – set PRIMARY = XC?
- Student #4 – set PRIMARY = XD?
- Student #5 – set PRIMARY = XE?
- 7. Practice Interpretation
- Use conference dashboard to turn on conference recording.
- Mute your own microphone using VMB input #1
- Do NOT mute the web phone since that will silence the recording, too.
- Uses the audio player to play a prerecorded bit of sample dialogue.
- Clicks Interp On in Web Phone.
- Interprets what they are hearing.
- Instructor can move between channels to hear each interpreter.
At the end of the prerecorded dialogue
- Instructor turns off conference recording.
- Students click Interp Off
- Students click Mute Off to be able to converse
- 8. Retrieving Conference Recordings
The conference recordings are available to the instructor via the ZipDX web portal once the conference has ended.
- Log into the ZipDX web portal using your email address
- In the Completed Conferences section locate the past conference.
- Click on the title to open the conference details.
- The resulting page (pictured above) includes links to Listen/Download an MP3 of each channel.
- Note the example above includes the Floor and two students – XA & XB.
- If the instructor toggled recording on/off during the class there will be a separate set of MP3 files for each time recording was turned on.
- The example shown above includes two sets of files; one 7m2s and another 9m8s long.
- Access to the recordings defaults to the instructor (only you) as the the organizer of the class.
- You can designate access to “Anybody with Link” as shown in the first XA link in the above picture.
- This causes a “Share” option to be displayed, which contains a link you can pass to others.