UTexas Health Sciences Center Deploys Multi-Site Lecture Capture System
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston (UTHSC) has deployed a multi-site Webcasting platform that enables students, faculty, and staff in its medical, dental, and nursing schools to search and replay lecture content.
The system--which uses nine Accordent Capture Station (ACS) units--automatically captures video and audio from lectures and publishes them as multimedia presentations that include synchronized slides and other graphics presented during the lecture.
The center also uses the ACS units to create live streaming Webcasts. Doctors and students at international and other remote facilities (including clinics and teaching hospitals) can click on a link to view high-profile events, such as the center's annual Preventive Cardiology Forum.
The capture devices are controlled centrally by an Accordent Media Management System (AMMS), which enables administrators to activate the units remotely by a pre-set lecture schedule or as needed. Once captured, students, faculty and staff can access the lectures through the system's portal, which secures the content by validating the viewer's login against appropriate viewing privileges. Students can search for relevant information using key words located in the lecture title, description, slides, slide notes, and closed caption data. Another region of the portal allows selected content to be made available to the public.
"We'd been capturing content for some time, starting with audio-only and expanding to on-demand lecture capture," said Steve Fath, director of interactive video services, Office of Academic Technology at the center. "With the Accordent solution, we can now extend a live Webcast beyond our videoconferencing systems, enabling medical facilities across the globe to participate--even those with very low bandwidth network connections.
"Additionally, the Accordent Media Management System enables us to track viewer activity. It lets us report on who's watched which presentation, for how long, and their performance with interactive elements, such as online testing," he said.
The AMMS will enable UTHSC to track the identities, viewing habits, and the impact of the programs on global audiences that, until now, have been largely anonymous since they were gathered in a room with a videoconferencing system. These include doctors in St. Petersburg, Russia, who have long logged into cardiothoracic and vascular surgery grand rounds lectures, and US Army medical personnel stationed in Iraq, who have frequently viewed grand rounds lectures covering advances in surgical procedures.
Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.