York University Improves the Educational Experience Using Mediasite

Distance Learning, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

York University Improves the Educational Experience Using Mediasite


Founded in 1959, York University is now Canada's third largest university and world-renowned for attracting students who forge their own unique paths. York's top-ranked programs set international standards. The faculty expands the horizons of its students, providing them with a broad perspective of the world that opens up new ways of thinking. York offers a full range of programs and degrees and is setting the contemporary standard in academic excellence, pioneering research and innovative thinking.

CHALLENGE

As one of the premier educational facilities in North America, York attracts an increasing number of students worldwide. However, its well-earned respect and popularity came with a price: a swelling of the university's classrooms. In addition, a growing percentage of its students are adults trying to balance career, family, and education. A few years ago, the university began delivering online lectures through audio players, and later added video, but it was dissatisfied with the two-dimensional experience this provided its students. The school was desperate for a system that could combine the audio, video, and graphic components of a typical classroom lecture.

"We sought a solution which would allow us to deliver students a richer academic learning experience than just having a professor stand up in front of the classroom and present the same lecture," said Kelly Parke, senior multimedia designer at York University. "We also wanted to make the presentation as user-friendly as possible, allowing our adult learners to view the content at their convenience."

York's professors and directors believed a multimedia online learning solution could address some of its growing pains while improving the quality of students' education, but they needed a system that would not create additional work for the faculty. In fact, that caveat was stipulated in the faculty union contract. As a result, York assembled a research team to find an e-learning solution that: required little or no technical expertise or training; offered live and on-demand rich media via the internet; eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming postproduction, and delivered the highest return on investment in the shortest amount of time.

SOLUTION

The research team evaluated dozens of technologies and found many that met one or more of the criteria, but none that met all four requirements. Finally, after 2 years of searching, York University found one that did: Sonic Foundry's Mediasite.

Educators instantly began envisioning how the versatile Web communication solution could be incorporated into its teaching curriculum to most effectively reach its rapidly growing student body.

"We uncovered immediately upon our purchase of Mediasite that having the right tools in place allowed educators to be more effective and reach a greater number of students, while at the same time relieving some of the pressure on our classrooms and parking lots," said Parke. …

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