Rising Fuel Prices Prompt Students to Call for Greater Adoption of Lecture Capture
Madison, WI(6/25/2008) -
With gas prices pushing past $4 per gallon, distance-education programs are seeing a boost in enrollment as more students are opting to view lectures online instead of driving to class. Students at over 600 colleges and universities use Mediasite by Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO) to review their course material online anytime without leaving their home or office.
Christopher Pargola, an electrical engineer with the Department of the Navy, is working on his graduate studies online at Villanova University. Using Mediasite saves him a 90-minute round-trip commute to class. "With the exponential increases in the cost of fuel, it has become difficult for students to use their vehicles for more than the bare essentials. It starts to affect any decision you make. You watch your savings account diminish and you think, 'can I even afford to continue my education?'" said Pargola. "Distance learning is the solution. The option to fully complete a master?s degree online with Mediasite, without all the extra travel expenses, is invaluable. It eliminates the added fuel expense that commuting back and forth to class creates. These fuel savings are becoming substantial, especially over the course of an undergraduate and graduate education."
Villanova University?s College of Engineering distance learning program is seeing enrollment increase as a result of the gas crisis.
?We have seen steadily increasing enrollments since starting our distance program, but the summer has always been flat from year to year,? said Sean O?Donnell, director of distance education at Villanova University College of Engineering. ?Not the case this year. Our summer distance student enrollment is through the roof. I don't think its any coincidence that it?s happened at the same time gas hits $4 per gallon.?
Bellevue University also expects to see an increase in online enrollment as a result of gas prices. ?A pioneer in online education, BU has always been aware of?and has conveyed to students and corporate partners?the tremendous savings using the Internet offers,? said Christine Beischel, Dean, College of Distributed Learning, Bellevue University. ?Not only does a web-based curriculum using Mediasite save on the cost of gasoline and other travel expenses; it also opens up more courses to more people, since it circumvents difficulties relevant to distance and time commitments.?
The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine has a large number of commuters in its student population who rely on streaming lectures to complement their classroom instruction.
Yvonne Bean, a recent EMBA graduate from UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, lives 25 miles from campus. ?I was shocked to find out how much I was spending each month on the drive to attend classes, study groups and TA sessions,? said Bean, who eventually chose to stop commuting to the TA sessions in favor of viewing them over Mediasite. ?The benefit of having the knowledge available on Mediasite is second to none. In essence you didn?t really miss the class. There?s no substitute for that. The information can?t be captured any other way.?
To reduce the financial drain on students? gas cards, Bean recommends more universities capture their lectures and consider making attendance optional for some courses, encouraging students to watch the webcast instead. ?It?s something they should think about in the future and ask themselves if students should be required to be in the classroom for every class.?
?The economy is changing the way universities are delivering knowledge. They are increasingly seeing lecture capture as a means to counter the higher cost of transportation,? said Rimas Buinevicius, chairman and CEO of Sonic Foundry. ?The beauty of Mediasite is that it not only relieves financial pressure on commuting students, but also it increases retention as students review course material anytime, and when they have fewer distractions, giving them the power to watch class again at their own pace.?
Since its introduction in 2003, Sonic Foundry's Mediasite has set the standard as a transformational communication medium for delivering critical information and sharing knowledge. The patented Mediasite webcasting and content management system quickly and cost-effectively automates the capture, management, delivery and search of rich media presentations that combine audio, video and accompanying graphics for live or on-demand viewing.