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Vet College Taps Alumni Donations for Lecture Recording Purchase

Taking a lesson from other schools on campus, a college at the University of Minnesota implemented lecture recording during summer 2010. The College of Veterinary Medicine will join the university's Medical School and Carlson School of Management in its use of Mediasite from Sonic Foundry to capture classroom lectures. The software directly records the presenter's slides, video, and voice for review on a video device, for simulcast on the Web, or for use in an online course.

"When I did the cost analysis and compared Mediasite to other tools, I started to understand the software that runs in the background of Mediasite allows you to record lectures transparently, with no need for extra staff hours and no effort on the part of the faculty," said Alicia Johnson, continuing education program director for the College of Veterinary Medicine. "The faculty needs to only pay attention to teaching. They don't have to worry about technology, and they shouldn't have to. It's very clear that the cost and usability of Mediasite saves you in the long run."

The management school, in particular, runs a sophisticated Mediasite deployment, using it internally for students and externally for its executive MBA program. Johnson's team arranged a visit with Carlson's IT director and spent a day going over lecture recording processes and assessing some of the results they had achieved from using Mediasite.

The vet school tapped about $90,000 worth of private alumni dollars earmarked for classroom technology to equip three lecture rooms with Mediasite. Another alumni fundraising campaign brought in the $20,000 needed to buy a Mediasite ML Recorder, a portable recorder, to capture instruction in the field.

"We wanted to capture the broadest kind of lecture, following the classroom into the field, the lab, and the hospital, where faculty and clinicians can create modules that cannot be taught in lecture halls," said Johnson.

The College also records traditional lectures Monday through Friday, primarily for first- and second-year veterinary medicine students.

"They attend lectures from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The density of that kind of didactic learning every day is part of the skill these students learn, but we thought it would be kinder to them and raise their knowledge level if we could capture the content that they're absorbing so fast and give them the opportunity to review," said Johnson. "Once they experienced being able to revisit the full lecture, not just their notes or their phone recording, they're saying it makes all the difference in being able to study better and retain more."

The program is also using the recording platform to expand its continuing education offerings and collaborating with students, faculty, and professionals working elsewhere in the world.

"Soon we will be working with interns in Asia on solving food animal production and health issues as well as the care of companion animals, ultimately helping to provide much better lives for all those animals. The knowledge is being exchanged through Webcasting," said Johnson. "Now, when people ask if we can teach halfway around the world, the answer is yes. We are able to be there with them through technology. And that was inconceivable two years ago."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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