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Teaching A Class From 1,700 Miles Away: How Texas Tech University Leverages Mediasite For Live Remote Instruction

Texas Tech University is using Mediasite by Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), the trusted leader for video content management and webcasting solutions, to seamlessly create a virtual classroom experience three times a week between a professor in Oregon and students in Lubbock, Texas.

Electrical engineering professor Donald Farris moved to Oregon last year but wanted to continue to teach his wind energy class. This led the university’s IT department to create a system that integrates Microsoft Lync, a video conferencing and instant messaging tool, with Mediasite to record and deliver courses and make them available live or on-demand to students.

“I record my live video chats with students on campus in Microsoft Lync and upload them to Mediasite, where I can do my editing. Then, I post a link of the Mediasite presentation to our learning management system Blackboard for students to access. Anything I can show on my screen I make available to students,” said Farris. “The great thing is that the Mediasite presentations are available live or on-demand wherever students have Internet access. It works extremely well.”

Farris surveyed his Fall 2012 students about the new format and more than 80 percent of respondents reported that they watched lectures on-demand to review content. Results also showed overwhelming support and enthusiasm for live and on-demand viewing of his class material.

Farris’ course has been so successful that it’s soon to be replicated and used in other applications on campus. Many professors are already using a combination of Lync and Mediasite to provide on-demand content to their distance students, and live components will soon be introduced.

The university began using Mediasite in 2008, and currently 38 departments are involved. Faculty have created more than 6,000 presentations and 4,700 hours of content which have received 131,000 views. The university recently began using the new Mediasite Enterprise Video Platform to create, manage and distribute all video-based content — whether it was generated by Mediasite or another tool.

Installed recorders in general purpose classrooms make it easy to automate the capture of regular face-to-face classes for later review by students and faculty. By using Mediasite in conjunction with Ad Astra, a software scheduling tool, faculty don’t have to touch any of the technology. They just teach as if there isn’t a camera in the room.

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