Universities Rapidly Expand Online Learning Programs with Mediasite
MADISON, WI â€“ April 4, 2005 â€“â€“ Sonic Foundry Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), a leading rich media solutions company, today announced the addition of five customers to the growing number of higher education institutions who use its Mediasite rich media system to power their online distance education initiatives. The new customers are: the University of Colorado College of Engineering and Applied Science, Florida State, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Northwestern University and the University of Houston. By delivering unmatched ease of use, versatility and reliability, Mediasite has become the preferred technology for higher education institutions seeking to use the power of rich media to drive Web-based distance education and improve in-class learning.
Mediasite is a complete rich media recording and publishing system that automates the capture, management and delivery of multimedia presentations. With Mediasite, every aspect of a presentation is recorded transparently in real-time, can be accessed immediately and is ready for distribution instantly.
As a fully integrated system, Mediasite eliminates the adoption barriers to online teaching and learning by transparently recording instructors in the natural classroom environment without interfering in their teaching style or content. For students learning remotely it provides an exceptional online representation of the classroom experience, complete with audio, video and synchronized instructional materials, as well as polling and Q&A. Rich media course content is available live or on-demand with the benefits of anytime/anywhere convenience. A synchronized slide index lets users quickly navigate to and replay any portion of a lecture for improved understanding of complex concepts.
Northwestern Universityâ€™s School of Communication installed Mediasite in Fall 2004 to support the first, and so far only, distance learning program available at the prestigious Illinois university. The two-year masterâ€™s in Communications Systems Strategy and Management program features a real-time blended learning environment that brings together in-class students with their distance education classmates learning from as far away as California and Tokyo. The students and professors communicate live via a state-of-the-art video conferencing system. Mediasite digitally records the audio and video of professors and students, and automatically synchronizes those outputs with any instructional content presented or projected in the classroom. This combined product is then streamed live and archived for student review.
As an executive program designed for working professionals, the classes meet for one full day each week on alternating Fridays and Saturdays. Mediasite allows the university to transparently create a rich media archive of each class that students can review anytime via the Web. Advanced navigation capabilities let students quickly locate the exact information they need, and many students use the Mediasite recordings to supplement or replace hours of detailed note taking.
â€œMediasite consistently creates the type of high-quality experience Northwestern requires and expects, without any extra work on the part of faculty or students,â€ said Dennis Glenn, assistant dean of distributed education, Northwestern Universityâ€™s School of Communication. â€œWe have one Mediasite unit now and are getting a second one shortly as we expand our distance learning initiative.â€
University of Houston
The University of Houston selected Mediasite to help further its transition to a Web-based rich media streaming delivery. Mediasite has enabled the university to broaden access to its undergraduate and graduate programs, while being more responsive to student expectations for the conveniences of online learning. Meanwhile, professors appreciate the fact that they no longer need go to broadcast studios to teach online courses. They simply teach their traditional classes, and Mediasite transparently captures and streams that classroom experience to students learning remotely, whether live or on-demand.
â€œRich media streaming carries with it so many benefits and is so much easier and more economical than traditional broadcasting and video tapes that thereâ€™s no excuse not to use it,â€ said Sara Baber, director of academic technologies at the University of Houston. â€œWe prefer to use Mediasite to further our digital streaming initiatives because it is a complete and automated system that provides us everything we need from a technical and educational standpoint. Every once in awhile you come across something that makes you say â€˜Why didnâ€™t I think of that?â€™ and for us, itâ€™s those little Mediasite boxes.â€
Growth in Online Learning
In its 2004 report, Online Distance Education Market Update: A Nascent Market Begins to Mature, research firm Eduventures predicts that the number of fully online distance education programs will grow by at least 20 percent for the next three years and that tuition revenues from these programs currently represents more than $5 billion annually. Further, although the early years of online learning were dominated by for-profit entities, Eduventures believes that traditional institutions will overtake the lead based on brand strength and awareness.
â€œAs higher education institutions grapple with the technical challenges and costs of trying to deliver a quality experience for online learners, they should consider starting with their strength â€” an accomplished faculty comfortable standing at the front of a classroom,â€ said James Dias, vice president of marketing and sales for Sonic Foundry. â€œUsing Mediasite to transparently record and stream courses eliminates the technical, economic and psychological barriers to distance learning, while maximizing AV and IT infrastructure investments already made to create dynamic learning environments.â€
About Sonic FoundryÂ®, Inc.
Founded in 1991, Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO) is a provider of rich media communications technology for the enterprise. The company’s high-performance rich media presentation systems are trusted by Fortune 500 companies, education institutions and government agencies for a variety of critical communication needs. Sonic Foundry is based in Madison, Wis. For more information about Sonic Foundry, visit the company’s Web site at www.sonicfoundry.com.