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Northern Iowa Automates Classroom Capture

The University of Northern Iowa, like a large number of universities in recent months, is deploying a classroom capture system to record lectures and make them available via the Internet. This one, though, is being used not only to provide access for UNI's students but also for an audience of K-12 teachers who will use the content to further their professional development.

The system, initially deployed in the College of Natural Science, Sociology and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Education at UNI, as part of two grant programs funded through the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.

In the case of the former, UNI is providing K-2 education and certification through its Center for Education in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. In the case of the DoD-funded program, UNI is providing distance education to provide certification in math for teachers stationed at United States military bases around the world. Learners have been able to watch lectures, participate in chat sessions, and send e-mails to instructors during the live lectures.

"The rich media system is a strategic technology initiative for UNI, and one that has inspired our faculty to re-think the way they teach," said Marilyn Drury, Director, ITS Educational Technology, University of Northern Iowa, in a statement that came out at the Educause conference in Seattle this week. "Instructors are creating multimedia materials to help students be better prepared for class and raise the quality of interaction and debate.  Others are encouraging students to create presentations as self-assessment tools for their personal electronic portfolios. It's an iterative process that's already yielded a great deal of creativity and innovation."

UNI is using a combination of classroom capture tools from Accordent to automate lecture recording and publish lectures online. These include Accordent Capture Station, a classroom tool that integrates with existing display and interactive tools (projectors, document cameras, control systems, etc.), and Accordent Rich Media Communications Suite for automating the creation, distribution, and management of multimedia presentations.

At UNI, these are being used to publish these materials on the university's intranet and through its LMS (WebCT/Blackboard), which allows access to both live and archived materials.

UNI, in Cedar Falls, serves about 11,000 FTE students and employs almost 1,800 faculty and staff.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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