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Case Study: Enhancing the Educational Experience

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The Result
Within the teaching environment at Miami University, HaiVision’s IP video solution allows instructors in the classroom to access video on demand when it best fits into the day’s lesson plan and to use common control functions to stop or pause video for discussion. Links to on-demand media are offered to students through the university’s Blackboard system. Students can access assigned video via their computers, whether a Mac or a PC, watching according to their individual schedules and using the InStream player’s intuitive interface to control video playback. In terms of both teaching and learning, the experience no longer is constrained by the need to tune in at a particular time and watch continuously, from start to finish.

Integrated into the HaiVision system, the "zero footprint" InStream player makes access available on any computer, with any platform, anywhere, at any time. Students don’t need to install any software, download any plug-ins, and are always sure to be using the latest version of InStream whenever it is launched. As a result, students no longer need to attend special sessions, compete with other students for viewing time at the reserve desk, or even purchase media themselves.

"I’ve spoken with faculty about their experience with the system so far, and some have called our shift to the HaiVision system a revolutionary change, and certainly one that has made their jobs much easier," says Bernard. "For many, teaching video and film has been among the most frustrating aspects of their work, involving the tedious and time-consuming tasks of taking videotapes out of the library, taking them to IT for copying, ordering the appropriate display and playout devices for the room, or scheduling viewing times. All of this changed when we took HaiVision online and gave faculty a far more efficient streaming solution. Both staff and students have raved about how much they enjoy using the system."

While access to media has been simplified dramatically by the HaiVision system, the quality of video encoding and control over playout have also improved the viewing experience. Faculty and students can make the picture as big as the screen size on which it is viewed, and VTR-like controls such as fast forward, reverse, and pause make it easier to use video as a learning tool.

The early implementation of the HaiVision IP video distribution system was limited to a small number of classes. Within the first month of regular student use as a part of coursework, there were 443 distinct views of the system. Over the last semester, distinct views of the on-demand videos increased to more than 2,800. As Miami University continues adding content and promoting the service, it expects this number will continue to grow exponentially. System administrators have found that, according to network bandwidth use and activity, the highest use of the system ranges from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., indicating that students are indeed taking advantage of flexible viewing options.

Miami University is building a repository of video-on-demand content, beginning with library-type assets and later including recorded presentations and other school-owned assets. Future plans for the system also include using the HaiVision system as a tool through which students can upload their own projects for faculty review or peer critique. As a state institution, the university will be investigating using its HaiVision system to share media assets with peer institutions such as K–12 schools and other postsecondary institutions across the statewide network.

The university’s growing asset library so far features more than 570 media assets, ranging from specific educational material to programs recorded for analysis. Miami University also uses its HaiVision system to make live foreign-language television channels available to students over its IP network in a multicast stream. The university continues to look for new uses of the HaiVision system and ways to better utilize the service to deliver video content to students.

"We pride ourselves in having an engaged and active student body with many student organizations and opportunities for leadership and community service," says Cathy McVey, senior director, IT strategic communications and planning at Miami University. "Our use of HaiVision’s IP video system allows students to match their viewing experience to their schedules and to view class-related video content when they are able while still taking advantage of all the activities our university has to offer."

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