The Sextant Group

The Sextant Group extends East Carolina University’s reach to a worldwide audience with Mediasite.

The Sextant Group extends East Carolina University’s reach to a worldwide audience with Mediasite. The Sextant Group was hired by East Carolina University (ECU) to integrate webcasting technology into its new Science and Technology Building. The building was designed to house a Global Classroom that would support multimedia distance learning for up to 125 people. Student demand was high for live and on-demand learning via the web, and ECU turned to the digital technology consulting firm for a solution. The Sextant Group was confident that Mediasite was the right application to meet ECU’s needs.

Mediasite delivered an immediate ROI by making classroom content available anywhere, anytime. The Global Classroom structure is flexible and can be divided into four sections with simultaneous Mediasite capturing. Single lectures and entire courses are managed online, and ECU has selected Mediasite as its recommended webcasting platform. The Sextant Group helped ECU expand their reach beyond the physical capacity of the classroom. They can now reach a variety of university constituents and outside institutions.

At a glance

  • East Carolina University hires The Sextant Group to enable schools to expand their reach beyond physical classroom capacity
  • Company recommends Mediasite for faculty ease-of-use and accessibility of content
  • Simultaneous capture in multiple facilities results in immediate ROI
  • Students engage in an online multimedia learning experience – complete with audio, visual and graphic elements

Challenge

The Sextant Group specializes in three disciplines: AV systems, information technology and acoustics. In addition, it handles security and specialty lighting design. As such, The Sextant Group often consults with architects on new building projects, assessing functional requirements and determining AV and IT needs. Sean Weida is project consultant at The Sextant Group and has been in this role for six years, serving as the clients’ main contact.

In 1998, The Sextant Group was retained by decision makers at East Carolina University (ECU) when the school was scheduled to begin design on a new Science and Technology Building. Within this building, the Greenville, North Carolina, learning institution was creating a Global Classroom, a flexible multi-purpose space designed to support webbased distance learning for up to 125 participants.

The Global Classroom was designed to meet students’ need for synchronous (live) and asynchronous (on-demand) distance learning. School decision makers sought a solution that would afford students a multimedia online learning experience complete with audio, visual and graphic elements.

An early employee of The Sextant Group had worked with Sonic Foundry for some time in Pittsburgh. That relationship gave the staff the opportunity to view a beta version of Mediasite before it was even known by that name. “We’ve been aware of and impressed by Mediasite since its inception,” Weida said. Sonic Foundry was one of first companies to make rich media a reality. “Rich media streaming was a rather new application and when it came time to select a product, Mediasite really fit the bill.”

Solution

The Sextant Group needed to be confident that Mediasite was the correct application for ECU as it was making a significant investment in AV technology on the Global Classroom.

The new 260,000 square-foot building project was completed at the close of 2003, and the investment in Mediasite delivered an immediate ROI in that it significantly increased the school’s outreach beyond its physical campus.

“I believe Mediasite has improved ECU’s outreach by making classroom content accessible anywhere in the world and by allowing adult learners to view class content as their schedules permit,” Weida said.

The Global Classroom’s furniture and infrastructure provide great flexibility and allow the room to be used as a single large space or divided into quadrants supporting up to 25 participants each. Each configuration of the room is capable of simultaneous multimedia presentations, videoconferencing and rich media capture and streaming. An adjacent control room houses all of the Global Classroom’s switching, routing and control equipment, including the Mediasite systems. Online Mediasite content ranges from single lectures to entire courses, and instructors can choose to webcast sessions live or archive them for later on-demand streaming.

The Global Classroom is managed and maintained by ECU’s College of Technology and Computer Science, but is used by a wide variety of ECU constituents and outside institutions.

ECU has since selected Mediasite as its recommended web communications platform. “Mediasite allows our organization to deliver to the end-user a seamless solution which incorporates so many other elements they desire,” Weida said.

Result

The project was so successful, The Sextant Group employees specified Mediasite for further ECU projects including its new Allied Health Sciences School.

Slated for completion at the end of June 2006, the new 300,000 square-foot facility will support healthcare education for the University as well as physicians and residents from Pitt County Memorial Hospital. The new facility will include classrooms, observation suites, media creation facilities and multi-point videoconferencing spaces. Fifteen of the building’s classrooms will be outfitted with rack-mount versions of Mediasite RL Recorders for the capture and streaming of classroom sessions, and all other classrooms in the building have been designed to accommodate the future addition of Mediasite systems. One centralized facility, dubbed the Multimedia Lab, will support the storage, editing and delivery of rich media content that originates in any of the outfitted classrooms.

About The Sextant Group

The Sextant Group is an award-winning, full-service, digital technology consulting firm specializing in design, engineering and specification of architectural and environmental acoustics, audiovisual systems, IT, telecommunications, security and structured cabling technologies. Recognized by architects and institutions internationally for the integration of communication technology into the built environment, The Sextant Group was founded in 1995 and now operates offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.