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Columbia Business School Ramps Up Use of Lecture Capture

Columbia Business School has replaced a manual process for doing lecture capture with a system from Echo360. EchoSystem, which automates the recording process by scheduling, capturing, packaging, and publishing rich media lectures and academic podcasts, will be used in eight classrooms.

Columbia Business School multimedia staff members are seasoned in using traditional video production techniques to capture classroom recordings. While the results have been satisfactory, the manual effort to produce a single lecture became unsustainable with burgeoning demand from Executive MBA students.

"The technology design of the EchoSystem was pivotal to making it Columbia Business School's preferred solution," said Chris Bellerjeau, director of multimedia services. "We've discovered that the more classrooms we bring online, the less manual the capture process becomes."

EchoSystem captures native H.264 video, pushes the media encoding out of the classroom to a back-end server, and creates a digital master that can be archived for future repurposing. The system design also allows for flexibility in viewing format; the H.264 stream is converted into the ubiquitous Flash format and multiple podcasting formats. Students can view the lectures on any computer platform through any browser or access podcasts on an iPod or other mobile device.

"We needed the best video solution available. Echo360 provides us with a clear path back to original media, making it the future-proof choice for lecture capture," said Bellerjeau. "We've experienced the trials and tribulations of the format wars, but Flash has 99 percent browser penetration. Since moving to Echo360, we've experienced a great decline in support calls from students."

Although the school emphasizes inclass attendance to foster critical thinking and interpersonal skills, it has begun using lecture capture as a complement to its face-to-face instruction.

"There is documented value to allowing students to review classes online. Echo360 lecture capture gives students a better overall experience at Columbia," explained Bellerjeau. "Likewise, the EchoSystem creates a better environment for those of us responsible for delivering the service. The EchoSystem capture appliance was the deciding factor for us--we simply don't have the time to deal with PCs, which were the drivers of the capture process in the old model."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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