Drexel University

Mediasite technology meets the needs of both students and faculty at Drexel University.

Mediasite technology meets the needs of both students and faculty at Drexel University. Drexel University needed a webcasting technology that would support its growing demand for online classes but wouldn’t require a complicated set-up for professors. Boasting a history of innovative technology, the university wanted to provide optimal learning for today’s tech-savvy students. They turned to Mediasite for a centralized webcasting system that could incorporate multiple functionalities.

Drexel University hardwired nine classrooms to a Mediasite control center. Students are viewing content both live and on-demand, often from remote locations.  Faculty members can teach naturally, and the system is integrated with the school’s online course management system. As the success continues to grow, professors are on a waiting list for the recording classrooms, and the captured content has doubled every six months.  IT staff are now working to develop Mediasite capture through professors’ laptops, once again placing the university on the cutting edge of new technology.

At a glance

  • Growing demand for online classes leads university to seek lecture capture
  • Mediasite supports in-class learning and web-based distance learning, as well as integrates with WebCT course management system
  • Educators easily record presentations in their natural classroom environment
  • Distance learners provided with an online representation of the classroom experience, including audio, video and synchronized instructional materials, polling and Q&A

Challenge

As a leading university that prides itself on innovation, Drexel desired to find a technology that addressed the needs of both students and faculty. Like many universities, Drexel views online learning as a critical component to its future growth, but considers it more of an evolutionary extension to its tech-laced curriculum than a revolutionary departure from its proven education offerings.

“One of the functions we thought to be most critical was a technology that integrated all the features and functions you need into one complete, highly reliable system,” said John Morris, coordinator of academic technology and web services at Drexel’s Office of Information Resources and Technology.

As a leader in education, Drexel offers hybrid classes that feature both in-class and remote learning components. In an effort to support the greatest number of courses quickly and economically, the university sought a centralized approach to its online program that allowed it to scale to meet increasing demand.

Solution

By taking this centralized approach, rather than outfitting every classroom with a complete Mediasite recording and publishing system, Drexel created a master control center in the building that houses the Office of Information Resources and Technology (IRT). All nine classrooms in the IRT building are hard-wired to the control center where all RGB content, video and audio is captured, encoded, streamed and archived.”

“Mediasite has been so effective that now we’re trying to develop ways to do remote captures from classrooms on campus that aren’t hard-wired by using a proxy machine that would communicate between the instructor’s laptop and a Mediasite in the control room,” said Dr. Jan Biros, associate vice-president for instructional technology support at Drexel’s Office of Information Resources and Technology.

Using Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite system, Drexel is able to provide a complete and convenient online replication of classroom course content necessary to provide an optimal learning experience to today’s tech-savvy students.

Result

Drexel University installed its first Mediasite system in 2003, and then added a second a year later to enable concurrent captures. The university now captures 30 hours of rich media course content a week, and professors are on a waiting list for access to the recording classrooms. Courses range from one-hour undergraduate to three-hour graduate classes, and span disciplines from English to Chemistry. All courses are available live and on-demand and can be accessed by students enrolled in traditional or online learning classes.

“Mediasite makes it easy to do the class live at the same time that you’re archiving it,” Morris said. “The number of classes we’re capturing grows by 50 percent every six months so it won’t be long before we top 1,000 hours of recordings.”

All Mediasite recordings are archived in Drexel’s WebCT course management system, where students can access them anytime, anywhere for one year. Whereas traditional classroom-based students often use the rich media recordings to review course material before exams, remote students stay fairly consistent in their viewing habits.

“The goal for our classrooms is that faculty can walk in and teach in a completely natural way and not be encumbered by the technology. That’s one of the reasons the professors love Mediasite. There’s nothing extra or different for them to do, yet they reap all the benefits,” said Morris.

About Drexel University

Founded in 1891, Drexel University provides a distinguished and diverse academic offering for undergraduate and graduate students and is home to the nation’s largest private medical school. As one of the top universities in the country, Drexel is a recognized leader in the integration of the latest technological advances and has a long legacy of firsts. In 1983, Drexel became the first university to require all entering students to have a computer. In 2000, Drexel became the first major university to operate a fully wireless campus. In 2002, Drexel launched the first mobile web portal service for students, enabling them to access a range of information via virtually any web-enabled handheld device, from anywhere in the world.