West Virginia School of Nursing Selects Sonic Foundry to Enable New Web-based Distance Education Program
MADISON, WI – July 15, 2003 –Sonic Foundry® Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), a leading rich media solutions company, today announced West Virginia University School of Nursing has purchased two of its Mediasite Live™ real time rich media Web presentation systems for its distance education program. After a successful trial using Mediasite Live for select classes during the spring and summer semesters, WVU School of Nursing will put all of the core courses of its graduate nursing program online starting this fall. The lectures will be captured and streamed from the Charleston and Morgantown campuses allowing students the convenience of live and on-demand viewing from their desktops.
As part of the largest university in a largely rural state, WVU School of Nursing has a long history of providing some form of distance education as an attractive alternative to professionals seeking an advanced nursing degree, but for whom attending a traditional campus-based program is prohibitive. Most recently, the School had a grant to use a video conferencing service, but it required students to go to one of six locations in the state in order to participate. It also was fairly expensive, and with that grant about to expire, officials went looking for a more cost-effective solution with broader access.
“Delivering the courses via the Internet was the next logical step for us. We’re committed to distance education and Mediasite Live is the best approach for us as a faculty and provides the most convenience for our students,” said Rose Ann DiMaria, assistant professor of nursing at WVU School of Nursing. “We tested a lot of different systems, but they were very complicated and just didn’t work the way we wanted. When we saw Mediasite Live, we thought ‘Wow.’ We knew immediately it could take us where we wanted to go. It’s just so easy to use, and it provides the real-time capabilities that we need.”
In fact, DiMaria and other faculty members have noticed that students are more engaged and more willing to ask questions with Mediasite Live than they were with the video conferencing system. In part, she said, because they can type the question versus asking it on-camera. In addition, because the rich media Web presentation system captures and streams on the fly, it allows the professors to be spontaneous in their lectures, and review a concept when there are questions.
For students, the convenience of lectures-on-demand is further enhanced by Mediasite Live’s navigation function, which makes it easy to review complex concepts. Students simply view the list of thumbnails of a lecture, click on the desired thumbnail slide, and the audio, video and accompanying graphics are quickly synchronized to that portion of the presentation. These archived lectures are particularly popular when reviewing for exams.
“For the WVU School of Nursing, this is an affordable way to scale up and expand the breadth of the program without adding complex infrastructure or cost centers,” said James Dias, vice president of marketing and sales for Sonic Foundry. “By eliminating any pre- and post-production work of publishing a lecture to the Web, Mediasite Live removes the technical and the operational barriers to distance education for both the professors and the university’s IT department. For the students, it provides access to a truly rich media learning experience – that can support the requisite variety of medical imagery – when and where it’s convenient for them.”
A grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission allowed the WVU School of Nursing to purchase two complete Mediasite Live systems. The School is now marketing the program through direct mail and also has developed a promotional Webcast to demonstrate the availability of the online nursing degree program to prospective students. To view the Webcast, go to http://webclasses.hsc.wvu.edu/wvusonrecruit/index.asp. School officials are hoping the online program, and others like it, will help address the critical nursing shortage, as well as the nursing faculty shortage.
“We need more nurses and we need more nurse educators to teach the next generation,” said DiMaria. “By using Mediasite Live to provide Web-based education, we’ve opened the possibility to getting that advanced degree to more people both here in West Virginia and beyond. Today’s students need this flexibility because typically they are trying to balance career, family and education, and they are very comfortable with this kind of technology.”
About Sonic Foundry®, Inc.
Founded in 1991, Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO) is a leading provider of rich media solutions for the enterprise. Its complete offering of tools, systems and services provides a single source for creating, managing, analyzing and enhancing media for government, business, and education. Sonic Foundry is based in Madison, Wis. For more information about Sonic Foundry, visit the company’s Web site at www.sonicfoundry.com
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