19 May University of Wisconsin enriches course web sites with streaming media
When putting class notes and PowerPoint slides online is not enough, faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin can use streaming video and audio to liven up their course Web pages thanks to a program funded jointly by the university and an AT&T grant.
The service’s web site, Streaming Media at the University of Wisconsin, provides instructors with tutorials on the production of streaming video and audio, comparisons of different types of media and other information. The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Division of Information Technology runs the program. It also offers an hour of free consulting and free hosting for media that UW instructors use in their courses.
“Our goal is to make it easy for people to get started,” said Peter Mann, UW’s streaming media services manager. “If you come to us with some analog or digital media, for example, we can encode it, put it on a server and provide a link to it. We can also help capture material, select a presentation format, encode it, and make it available, as a ‘live’ presentation and/or on demand.”
At the Web site, faculty and staff interested in adding online streaming or even live media to their courses will learn about accessibility guidelines and grant opportunities as well as the basics. The program itself recently garnered a $50,000 grant from AT&T to develop more tutorials and instructional materials.
More and more UW courses are already incorporating online learning materials such as course readings and quizzes using the systems WebCT and Learn@UW. In addition, the university offers some online-only courses. Enrolled students can view lecture materials, usually readings, on the course Web pages and take quizzes on the Web, though exams must be taken on campus or proctored. Some department Web sites even preview course material, such as the geology department online-only courses page.
But the university’s streaming media project hopes to take course Web pages past readings and quizzes. Streaming video, perhaps, will be enough to keep more students awake.