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Western Nevada College Supports Distance Learners with Webcasts

Western Nevada College (WNC) has implemented a video content management and webcasting system to serve its 4,800 students, approximately half of whom take courses entirely online.

The college serves a huge rural area, and many of its students used to drive hundreds of miles to watch pre-recorded video lectures at one of the college's satellite campuses. After budget cuts forced the college to close several of those satellite campuses, it started researching alternative ways of delivering video lectures to distance education students. That was when the college turned to Mediasite, a webcasting solution from Sonic Foundry.

The college now offers 10 flex courses that allow students to view lectures online or attend class in-person at one of WNC's three remaining campuses. WNC hosts the video lectures in the Mediasite cloud, and students can watch them on their desktops or mobile devices through the college's Canvas learning management system.

"Our online students never had access to live lectures until we adopted Mediasite," said Clarence Maise, distance education coordinator for WNC, in a prepared statement. "Plus, our face-to-face students now have on-demand video of lectures to go back and review."

Mediasite's OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities automatically index slide text, so the college has instructed its faculty to "add keywords so their students can easily skip to points in their presentations instead of fast-forwarding through several hours of video," said Maise.

The college now plans to implement the My Mediasite desktop capture system, which will enable faculty, staff, and students to create and share videos, lectures, and assignments from anywhere using their laptop's built-in webcam.

Western Nevada College is a public college based in Carson City, NV, with two other campuses in Fallon and Minden, as well as several satellite centers.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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