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Streaming In Higher Education: More than just distance learning

February 27, 2015 by Chris Knowlton

Students today are armed with many tools to enhance their learning experience. They also frequently have the luxury of being able to attend classes virtually at a university that is located out of commuting distance. As a result, people often think that streaming video and audio in higher education only involves live streaming classes in an e-learning environment. However, there are numerous other ways in which streaming can enhance the learning experience as well as boost the university’s student success rate.

Here are 4 questions to consider:

1. Is it live, or is it on-demand? Students’ schedules are demanding. There are numerous times when students could benefit from live streaming classes and then having those available as on-demand audio or video assets. This is where recording a live lecture for later on-demand playback can be helpful. Using the Wowza Streaming Engine Live Stream Record feature allows students to later access lectures and presentations on their own timelines. This is also helpful for students who attended the class or lecture and want to reference it again while studying.

2. How will they watch? Most students have laptops, but mobile devices and tablets are their new screens of choice, especially when they are on the go or have other engagements that are pulling them in every which way. When students want a larger-screen experience, they turn to streaming with their Apple TV, Roku, or Chromecast devices, or their Xbox or PlayStation game consoles. Wowza Streaming Engine delivers high-quality live and on-demand streams that are compatible with any screen.

3. Baseball, tennis, or concert? Students, parents, alumni – everyone is interested in campus activities of all varieties (water polo, anyone?). However, the number of viewers for live events is often unpredictable. This is when scalable streaming is needed. With viewers tuning in early or late, or with an unknown audience size, how should you prepare your streaming workflow for this kind of traffic? Deploying in the cloud is a great solution, whether you use a private cloud, a public cloud, or a mix of cloud technologies. It reduces the need for a typical on-premises streaming infrastructure and can be adjusted in real time to meet audience requirements.

4. Why keep it separated? Universities often utilize a learning management system (LMS), which is often built on a complex infrastructure that required a high level of investment. Don’t worry, that investment will help deliver your video, too. Wowza Streaming Engine can work with a standard LMS, such as Blackboard or Moodle, or can be integrated into a custom-built LMS system as well.

Distance Learning Video Streaming Workflow with Wowza Streaming Engine

Did this spark an idea of how you could implement streaming within your university? Tell us about your education or distance-learning configuration in the comments below.

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Chris Knowlton

As a passionate evangelist for streaming media products, Chris Knowlton has spent 15 years working on technologies that make live and on-demand media delivery accessible. A recognized industry authority, Chris was honored in 2011 as a “Streaming Media All-Star” by Streaming Media Magazine, and holds several patents for streaming technologies.