Colorado State University College of Business MBA Program

Colorado State University College of Business Distance MBA reaches remote students with Mediasite.

A pioneer in distance learning, Colorado State University's College of Business has revolutionized lecture capture by delivering global lectures via Mediasite. Since its inception in 1967 the distance MBA program has distributed degrees to students from more than 45 countries and six continents. The college started by mailing VHS tapes and DVDs to international students, but CSU was looking for a technology that could reach students in a flexible, cost-efficient way. The university turned to Mediasite by Sonic Foundry for a reliable and adaptable webcasting solution.

Today CSU's College of Business Distance MBA program uses Mediasite to deliver classroom lectures to a global student audience. Itoffer itsstudents a sense of independence while fostering an anytime, anyplace MBA program. Graduates have come to rely on Mediasite's high-quality streaming by watching lectures at home, abroad and while traveling to their next destination.

At-A-Glance

  • Oldest distance MBA program in U.S. was seeking a new technology to deliver content to international and remote students
  • Now CSU's College of Business Distance MBA program captures and delivers all lectures with Mediasite, providing the same rigorous content to both in-class and online students
  • Deploying Mediasite for online lectures streamlined the program for an ultra-mobile student population, giving students anytime, anywhere access to multimedia presentations  

Challenge

In 1967 the Colorado State University College of Business became the first school in the nation accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for offering its students a distance MBA program. Students were granted the freedom to design a course specifically to meet their needs, taking up to five years for completion from any location in the world.

In the beginning Colorado State University recorded on-campus MBA lectures and sent the classroom footage to their distances learners. The school mailed VHS and DVD recordings to international students, instructors corresponded with students via email discussion groups and assignments were posted online to be graded.

"We needed a product that would provide us with more functionality," said Jon Schroth, director of technology at the Colorado State University College of Business. "The problem with VHS and DVD is that the resolution isn't the same on computers and TVs. If you're trying to capture writing on a whiteboard through a camera, it's going to come out pretty grainy to the viewer."

The distance MBA curriculum had the same content, rigor, and requirements as the on-campus Professional MBA program. The school was producing and shipping about 15,000 DVDs each semester. International students faced a two to three week shipping delay, and military students in Iraq and Afghanistan weren't receiving some of the content at all. The school sought a lecture capture platform that would accommodate the international students, while providing a richer experience for end-users.

"We were looking for an alternative way to deliver content to students with a comparable level of quality, at a reduced cost, with better productivity, all while maintaining the technological edge our university is known for," said Susan Meyer, former director of the Professional and Distance MBA program at Colorado State University.

Solution

CSU School of Business started a Mediasite pilot program in January 2006, streaming courses to international MBA students. Deployment progressed to students in the U.S. later that year, and now the school is streaming lectures for all of itsclasses - international and nationwide - reaching more than 1000 students in their distance MBA program.

"We tested five or six products before we turned to Mediasite, but they were still labor intensive and cost prohibitive," said John Hoxmeier, associate dean of Graduate Programs. "We wanted to be able to search and synchronize the audio, video and visual aids automatically to create the best experience for the end user. With Mediasite, we don't have to do a thing - it's already done for us."

"Mediasite has had a significant impact on the organization because it helped us to streamline our processes and some of our staffing. As a manager it's reduced my day to day anxiety. The more processes you have in production, the more opportunities you have for things to go awry," said Scroth.

"The distance learners stay in sync with class learners. It's like they're in the classroom but in fact they're in their living rooms," Hoxmeier continued. "We're a hybrid MBA. It's geared toward the ultra-mobile audience because a face-to-face model doesn't work for them, but a purely online model doesn't provide enough richness. The hybrid system is appealing to people because there's a higher quality. There's more rigor, there's more content, yet it satisfies their need for freedom and independence in their learning style."

Result

Today CSU conducts all Professional MBA courses in the same technology-enhanced room to give distance learners the best experience. The room has two horseshoe-shaped conference tables, with a slightly elevated back row. Four television cameras and two shotgun microphones that hang from the ceiling make recording at a professional-quality level easy. A production studio and two production crews capture the learning process, zeroing in on in-class examples and student discussions.

"Mediasite is now a part of what our students expect. They demand this alternative means of lecture delivery," said Meyer. "For some of our students this is literally their lifeblood. If they're traveling, perfect. They can watch their lectures on Mediasite."

The CSU College of Business Distance MBA sees more opportunity for future endeavors with Mediasite. By creating digital libraries and group work spaces, CSU wants to make their remote learners feel like they're part of a classroom.

CSU says they value Sonic Foundry's willingness to listen to their ideas and concepts, and are looking forward to a long-term partnership using Mediasite. "The vision of Sonic Foundry as a company matches where we want to go as a higher education institute," said Schroth. "The professional relationship that has developed between us is an added bonus to an already superior product."

 

About customer

Colorado State University College of Business is committed to the highest standards of teaching education. The College of Business is accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business - and ranks among the top 25 percent of itsaccreditations. The campus is located on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, Colorado, and provides access to modern technology in classrooms and laboratories in the college's home, Rockwell Hall. Its Distance MBA curriculum, the first accredited of its kind, strives to create a small-college environment while being  a global outreach program. Graduates from the distance MBA receive a Colorado State University MBA - not an online or distance degree - as classroom content, rigor and expectations are identical for the programs.