Campus Technology News

Big Bend CC Grows Video Presence with Webcasting

Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, WA has expanded streaming media and lecture capture using technology from Sonic Foundry. With about 4,000 students, the college is one of the smallest in the state but covers one of the largest geographic areas, 4,500 square miles. Faced with budget restrictions in 2008, the staff reconsidered how it was doing videoconferencing for its distance learning program.

"Even with that investment it was still really a struggle to maintain a stable environment over an 11-week period of time for the quarter," said Russell Beard, director of information and communication services.

In 2007 the college had also introduced Sonic Foundry's MediaSite for capturing lectures, special events, and internal meetings. Beard pushed the use of the platform as a replacement for its legacy system.

Through the use of grants and with the support of college President Bill Bonaudi, Beard and his team have outfitted four classrooms with video and audio equipment and Mediasite software.

"We've gone from having to beg, borrow and threaten faculty to use these IT classrooms to having a line of faculty that want to use the Mediasite classrooms," said Beard. "I don't think I can emphasize enough how big of a revolution Mediasite has created on this campus. It's far more cost-effective for us. We can invest in a classroom and have it available to every one of our constituents who have a decent Internet connection... We have four classrooms that have Mediasite capability right now. If I had 12, they'd be full."

Beard said he plans to expand the school's Mediasite offerings in 2010, including adding curriculum to help faculty become more effective online instructors.

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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