In the not too distant future, university students will have trouble recalling a pre-You Tube or pre-podcast world. While streaming media in those formats has become ubiquitous in many areas of their lives through ease of use and dissemination, how does it factor into their learning? Should instructors in higher education utilize students’ engagement with streaming media as teachable opportunities? Or, in lieu of instructors intentionally choosing to use streaming media, what about the potential for it to be imposed on them for logistical or operational reasons and the effects of that on student learning and teaching? Building upon prior work that has been done on the use of streaming media in higher education (Chang, 2007; Phillips et al., 2007; Shepherd, 2003; Foertsch et al., 2002; Brahler et al., 1999), this chapter will examine it from several instructors’ perspectives with a focus on their decision-making processes, implementations, challenges, and opportunities. From their experiences, a set of grounded guidelines for using streaming media in higher education will be developed and offered as starting points for others interested in trying this in their teaching.
In many instances, higher education instructors have quickly responded to new paradigms of training and information presentation for their teaching activities. As a result, large volumes of data are now streamed in educational contexts. In streaming, large amounts of textual, auditory, and visual data, often in conjunction and simultaneously, are distributed and sent in the form of packets that are then assembled in the client computer and can be either assembled and downloaded, or allowed to “stream” and reload on demand. The availability of high speed networks, new methods of data transfer that allow small quantities of data packaged in tandem, and the compression of data has opened up a new dimension of higher education. The purpose of this chapter is to first provide a brief description of the defining characteristics of streaming media, illustrate the rationale for its deployment and usage in higher education, outline the key limitations, and lay out a roadmap of its usage. Further, we shall present three case studies to show how these technologies have already been used in higher education.
Many higher education instructors have historically used media in their teaching. The use of computer graphics, animations, texts, and presentation software has been widely deployed throughout the world in higher education. In a limited sense, the streaming of information through television and radio signals to transmit educational content to distance education students has been in use since the early 1920’s.