UCLA Deploys Classroom IP Audio Encoders

The University of California, Los Angeles is continuing its phased deployment of  IP audio encoders for its classrooms. According to information released this week by Barix, the vendor supplying the Interstreamer encoding systems, UCLA's Office of Instructional Development has so far installed the devices in 43 classrooms, with plans for 200 classroom installations eventually.

According to Barix, UCLA has been rolling the units out in phases since late 2005 in an effort to record lectures and make them available to students via podcasts or streaming media (Real).

“With the Barix Instreamer in the classroom, we’re able to economically record lectures in high-audio quality and place them on our website so that students can retrieve them as podcasts or listen to them as streaming media on a Real player,” said Daniel Bustos, instructional technology and design coordinator for classroom services at UCLA, in a statement released this week. “We are finding that podcasting and webcasting are very effective learning tools. Our students love it for obvious reasons--they can go back and review lectures at their convenience from their PCs or portable players.  It’s been particularly beneficial to students with learning disabilities and those that speak English as a second language. Our faculty members are pleased because their students can easily review the lectures and, as a result, come to class better prepared and ask sharper questions.”

In UCLA's implementation, instructors wear a wireless microphone that feeds audio to the PA system. From there it heads to a mixer and thence to the Barix Interstreamer, which encodes audio in real time to an MP3 stream and sends it to a central recording area in UCLA's library. They're then pushed to the university's podcast server "within minutes of class being over," according to Barix.

Students can access the current semester's recorded lectures by course name via UCLA's site.

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David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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