Technical University of Delft

Delft University of Technology uses Mediasite to maintain international standing in education and research.

Delft University of Technology uses Mediasite to maintain international standing in education and research.TU Delft is steeped in tradition. Founded in 1842 by King Willem II as the Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers, it is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive technical university in the Netherlands. The university enjoys international renown for its high standards in both education and research. However, school officials experienced growing demand to create an efficient, effective digital learning environment to remain competitive in the international market.

TU Delft spearheaded a bold campus-wide initiative, Collegerama, using Mediasite by Sonic Foundry as its classroom capture platform. From a dozen classrooms across campus, the University is mediasiting thousands of hours of lectures, presentations and keynote addresses, which have received well over 115,000 visits within their online catalogs.

At a glance

  • Needed a high-tech solution to address changing course structures, knowledge gap among transfer-students, global recruitment and knowledge-sharing goals
  • Selected Mediasite for quick implementation, ease-of-use and limitless applications
  • Campus-wide installation includes 12 recorders and a growing online catalog, attracting over 115,000 views
  • Students who use Mediasite see better results

Challenge

Over its 166-year history, TU Delft has successfully balanced the tradition upon which it was established, the technology at the heart of its instruction and the changing face of higher education. Yet in 2004, practical challenges emerged with the introduction of a new degree structure that combined Bachelors and Masters degrees.

“Students couldn’t get into required classes. There wasn’t enough room, enough tutors, enough support or enough money. There were simply not enough hours in a day,” said Leon Huijbers, staff manager of the Campus Congress Centre and multimedia department. “In addition, a knowledge gap appeared; undergraduates from other institutes did not meet the expected TU Delft starting level.”

At the same time, TU Delft was also focused on marketing their innovative approach to education to build strategic international partnerships for exploring the global market of potential students. Efficiency was key. This meant handling a global information exchange in a cost-effective manner, while still producing graduates who could adapt to a flexible, ever changing workforce.

“The new generation of students gets motivated in a different way, with different devices. These are non-linear thinkers who get their information from digital sources, such as the internet, blogs and online communities,” said Huijbers. “They react quickly to demands and changes in the marketplace. Knowledge, information, training and further education are vital. Life-long learning becomes essential for their careers.”

The Multimedia Department began researching, seeking to understand what other European schools were doing to stay competitive with technical innovation and demands for better, modern higher education. They interviewed the executive board, deans and tutors, staff members, students, IT and AV technicians, marketing and pedagogical specialists. Huijbers and his team discovered that everyone was trying to tackle the challenges individually, and recognized the benefits of coordinating a campus-wide solution.

He began his search for a standardized, low-cost platform that could capture thousands of hours of lectures and make the content available for teachers and students anytime or anywhere. Further, it would need to be transparent and easy to use for the 800 teachers who would direct their own content, as well as interactive and attractive for students.

Solution

The team selected Mediasite by Sonic Foundry and developed a solution called Collegerama built around the webcasting and content management system. According to Huijbers, Mediasite was the only platform robust enough to meet the online instruction needs of TU Delft as well as highly versatile for use in promotional and informational communications.

“The system had a solid track record in the educational sector and an excellent customer base to build on, but the automation of the work processes using Mediasite was the key. We scaled up to capturing large volumes of information without burdening the workforce,” said Huijbers.

The university expanded its Mediasite footprint in 2005. Classrooms were equipped with robotic cameras, visual aid devices such as digital whiteboards, DVD players, document cameras and computers with internet access. The Recorders automatically capture and synchronize the video, audio and visual aids in a rich media, web-based format. The content is then seamlessly distributed, catalogued and indexed for live or on-demand viewing.

Result

By the end of 2006, TU Delft had again upped its Mediasite install base, achieving a campus-wide installation in 2007. Mediasite and Collegerama have been well received by both students and faculty at TU Delft.

“Our research shows that students watching Mediasite presentations through the Collegerama portal are achieving higher grades and better retention of course content,” said Huijbers. The archiving capability of the platform has helped to eliminate both the knowledge gap with transfer students, as well as any conflicts with class scheduling.

Instructors are excited about the pedagogical opportunities Mediasite offers. Without altering their teaching methods, faculty have incorporated online lectures into their courses and view the technology-enhanced instruction as a positive initiative for the University.

TU Delft was hoping to gain multiple benefits from their Mediasite installation: a return on investment that was not only financially driven, but one that also measured improved knowledge sharing, teaching methods and how the technology contributes to policy implementation and modernization of the educational environment. According to Huijbers, the University successfully reached a breakeven point in under three years, now having webcasted more than 1600 lectures, presentations, learning objects and keynote addresses.

About TU Delft

Founded in 1842, Delft University of Technology is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive technical university in the Netherlands. With over 13,000 students and 2,100 scientists, it is an establishment of both national importance and significant international standing. Renowned for its high standard of education and research, TU Delft collaborates with other educational establishments and research institutes, both within and outside of the Netherlands. It also enjoys partnerships with governments, trade organizations, numerous consultancies, industry and small and medium-sized enterprises.