Ross University

Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite helps Ross University make a global impact.

Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite helps Ross University make a global impact. Ross University wanted to develop an online learning program to enhance the traditional classroom experience. Staff members were leery of technology that would require them to change their teaching style or improve their technology skills, but students wanted a way to review complicated course material online before exams. Through a previously established partnership, Ross chose Mediasite to enhance online learning programs with minimal effort.

Students view over 500 recorded lectures more than 100,000 times each month. After Mediasite’s immense success in the medical program, the college plans to implement the technology into its veterinary programs. Instructors appreciate Mediasite’s ability to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching, and students benefit from reviewable multimedia content. As a school specializing in international education, the university envisions increased Mediasite use in the future.

At a glance

  • University sought webcasting technology to personalize instruction
  • Mediasite gives students the ability review complicated course material before exams or if they are unable to make a class, improving comprehension.
  • Teachers present online without altering their natural teaching styles and can review their performance from the student’s perspective

Challenge

Ross University’s IT department houses 32 employees, serving all 3,200 full-time graduate students in both the veterinary and medical schools. Tom Gardner serves as vice president and chief information officer of Ross University’s IT Department. In this role, Gardner is responsible for both strategic and tactical plans for the use of information technologies as well as day-to-day technical operations and suppport for three campus locations and an administrative headquarters in New Jersey.

In 2005, school officials were in the process of crafting a curriculum for advanced students that would allow them to engage in more personalized instruction in tandem with class lectures. An online lecture solution would provide members of this elite Scholars Program an opportunity to participate in an advanced curriculum as a simultaneous adjunct to the standard lecture series. Additionally, students in the University’s rigorous medical and veterinary programs wanted a way to review complicated course material before exams.

Leery about having to alter their teaching style to accommodate online courses, teachers sought a system with convenient playback on-demand without being forced to update their technology skills. They wanted the freedom to incorporate any type of graphic into a presentation with near-zero startup time and no complicated tools or post-production. Additionally, they wanted students to be able to access classes via any Video Graphics Array (VGA) source.

Ross University’s classroom AV design firm, York Telecom, already had a relationship with Sonic Foundry. Because Ross University had been using York Telecom’s services since 2003, Gardner and other IT department executives trusted York when they suggested a Mediasite demo.

“After viewing the Mediasite demo, we felt it was such a good fit,” Gardner said. IT Department officials were impressed with Mediasite’s ability to provide rich media offerings to students without the effort involved in coordinating audio, video and graphic elements in-house. The team also appreciated the flexibility Mediasite afforded viewers, allowing them to stop, start and fast-forward through slides.

In 2005, the IT Department provisioned four classrooms with two integrated systems (RL) and two portable Mediasite recorders (ML). Within a month after viewing the Mediasite demonstration, the IT Department purchased the system. Within two weeks of its purchase, they installed and immediately began recording. “Mediasite’s ease-of-use and cost-effectiveness made it particularly compelling,” Gardner said.

Solution

“Mediasite was purchased to complement the lecture series and to enrich the academic program, and to that end it has exceeded our expectations,” Gardner said. “Students are taking advantage of the Mediasite offering at a level we did not anticipate. Our advanced students in the new Scholars Program are using Mediasite when they cannot attend portions of the lecture series. They are viewing classroom content at a time that is convenient for them. Students who are not in that program are also using Mediasite to review lecture material before exams.”

Approximately 50 Mediasite presentations are captured per week for on-demand viewing. “Students report great appreciation for Mediasite features such as the function that allows them to repeat a teacher’s statement for reinforcement or to fast-forward through a lecture section they already understand,” Gardner said.

Result

Ross University reports Mediasite has improved student retention. Additionally, Mediasite promotes collaborative efforts among faculty to improve content development, presentation skills and lecture continuity. Plus, more advanced students are now able to explore deeper, more complex areas of study.

In January alone, 487 lectures were recorded with Mediasite with more than 100,000 student views. Ross University students view Mediasite course material an average of 1.5 times per student per day.

Although Mediasite is used exclusively in the medical school, academic officials plan to expand its use to the veterinary school. By 2007, the University intends to use Mediasite as part of an extracurricular academic retention program for at-risk students.

Ross University also plans to use Mediasite for faculty development and administrative training purposes later this year. Gardner said, “Instructors have indicated that they already see the tool as a personal developmental opportunity. With Mediasite, they are able to view themselves from their student’s perspective and evaluate their effectiveness when presenting material.”

About Ross University