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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

OCM and CBS Pilot New Video Streaming Project

The Office of Classroom Management (OCM) and College of Biological
Sciences are conducting a pilot program test to evaluate the concept of
"Low-End" Asynchronous Video Streaming from a general purpose
classroom. This test adds modular technology to the standard U of M
Projection Capable Classroom system that would provide faculty with the
capability of capturing and asynchronously streaming classroom activity
without the requirements of an additional operator. OCM has been
developing the concept since 2003.

The "Low-End" Asynchronous Video Streaming module builds on the
Projection Capable Classroom standard that is the technology foundation
in all UMTC central classrooms. This Low-End Asynchronous Video
Streaming capability is also identified as "Phase III" of the ongoing
Tech Upgrade program for UMTC central classrooms.

"Low-end" asynchronous video streaming would support on-demand
recall of classroom activity. This would, for example, allow students
who missed class to recall and view classroom sessions, and could be
used by students to review class sessions prior to exams. It is not
envisioned that "low-end" asynchronous video streaming would be
sufficiently robust to adequately support the production values
necessary for live video streaming of courses or for editing content.
"Low-end" means a relatively simple capability to capture and archive
teaching activity that occurred in a classroom.

Ease of use and transparency of the system for the instructor are high
priority operating requirements of the Phase III system. The concept is
predicated on using technology to eliminate the need for a
camera/system operator. This is to be accomplished while minimizing
instructor camera control requirements and minimizing distracting
demands on the instructor. The audio content of the lecture is
recognized as an important component of the classroom presentation, so
audio quality has been made a priority consideration in system design.

This project focuses primarily on demonstrating the viability and
usability of "low-end" capture of in-classroom activity. It envisions
that this capability could be installed in some (but not all)
Projection Capable Classrooms. The project assumes the availability of
non-OCM server-farms that would host the content streamed from central

OCM's Classroom Technical Services unit designed the Phase III
system in the pilot project. Professor John S. Anderson from the
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics is testing
the system in his Spring semester BIOC 3021/6021 course.