Streaming Media Tech Revolutionizes Higher Ed

By IGI Global on Jul 1, 2011
Interacting with your professor remotely just got a little bit easier. And it works in the live classroom. Stanford University recently reported that its researchers have publicly released the program code for ClassX Mobile, software which allows viewers to interact with different aspects of a video lecture while it is streaming live.

Melissae Fellet explains in an article posted by Stanford University that this software significantly cheapens a process by allowing for the zooming and panning of live video, which in a previous iteration could have cost as much as $100,000 in specialized equipment and remote-controlled cameras. Using the old system, which Stanford has operated since 1996, Fellet notes, "A person operates the cameras from a control room, zooming closer as the speaker writes on the board or panning as she walks across the room." In other words, there is still only one video, and all of the "interaction" is controlled by a single person—not by individual users.

The ClassX Mobile software changes this. According to Fellet, electrical engineering professor Bernd Girod "and his students simplified the recording equipment to three items: a tripod, a wireless microphone and a high-definition camcorder."

"Then they designed software that processes the video so the viewer can zoom and pan around the room during playback, writes Fellet. "Alternatively, the program can control the view automatically."

"From lecture to streaming video, humans only intervene to set up the camcorder and upload the video file to a remote server accessed online," continues Fellet. "Since the program works in the cloud, users only need a web browser to access the interactive video." And individual students can choose what section of the video they want to see, whether the entire lecture hall or just a portion of a blackboard that perhaps, in the real world, might have been too hard for them to see from their chairs.

E-learning technologies such as ClassX Mobile have the potential to revolutionize higher education once again by making streaming technologies more and more accessible to the average classroom. But it is not the sole innovation. Other pioneers in this area have been making strides this area.

"While I may teach at some of the world's best known film schools, I too am stunned, dizzied, even frightened by the massive wave of technology that is bearing down on us all like a tornado in a trailer park," remarks Frank Chindamo in the Foreword to one of IGI Global's recent releases, Streaming Media Delivery in Higher Education: Methods and Outcomes. This reference volume, edited by Dr. Charles Wankel of St. John's University and J. Sibley Law of Saxon Mills, USA, is both a snapshot of streaming media in higher education as it is today and a window into the many developments already underway. In some cases, forecasts areas yet to be developed.

As a resource, this book serves both as an explanation of many practices, including their possibilities and pitfalls, as well as recommendation of the many areas opportunities for development. "While no one person can grasp everything in New Media—it is evolving too quickly—one group can," argues Chindamo. "A group of highly dedicated minds like the authors of this book. My hat is off to them. (However, I will keep my socks on.)," he writes.

Mobile video pioneer Professor Chindamo is the President and Chief Creative Officer of Fun Little Movies, and his "Fun Funny Phone Films" have won 23 awards to date and have aired on numerous TV networks worldwide including HBO, Showtime, CBS, Playboy, MTV, and Comedy Central.

To learn more about Streaming Media Delivery in Higher Education: Methods and Outcomes please visit:

This book would make an excellent addition to any university library. To recommend this book to your university librarian please click on the embedded link.

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