Bill Cosby stood near the 50-yard-line at Franklin Field 12 summers ago, addressing the University of Pennsylvania’s senior class – my class – as the keynote speaker at our commencement ceremony.
“And I want to especially congratulate all of you who are graduating summa cum laude,” Cosby said to a smattering of applause from us students, sweating in our gowns, and our families, filling in much of the majestic West Philadelphia stadium.
“And also, the magna cum laude,” Cosby continued, receiving a bit more applause with this larger, slightly less exclusive group of the academic-minded.
“And the cum laude.” Even more applause with this still larger group.
“And finally: the thank you, lawdy!” And here, the place erupted.
Today, students at the venerable business school of the comedian’s own alma mater – nearby Temple University – might be saying the same thing, as they’re poised to enter a new $80 million facility. Alter Hall is scheduled to open at the Fox School of Business on Jan. 20.
The $80 million construction – pictured right, and miraculously on schedule since a shovel went into the ground just two years ago – includes seven stories and more than 200,000 square feet. It also includes some of education’s most forward-thinking uses of technology (go on a virtual tour here) – not the least of which is a Madison, Wisconsin-based rich media Webcasting and knowledge management provider’s so-called “class capture platform.”
Officials at Sonic Foundry, Inc. say that every lecture in the new building will be streamed through their Mediasite platform RL Recorders. Also, company officials say, two mobile Mediasite ML Recorders are available for offsite Webcasting needs, and a massive, 15-by-5-foot multi-imaging video wall at the building’s entrance can stream real-time Mediasite lectures to draw visitors into the educational experience.
According to Rimas Buinevicius, chairman and chief executive officer of Sonic Foundry (News - Alert), Fox School of Business sought to create a learning environment that was synonymous with the quality of its educational programs.
“With its enterprise deployment of Mediasite, the Fox School at Temple University is an excellent example of the growing trend for wide scale lecture capture, pioneering an unprecedented level of collaboration and knowledge-sharing among its students, faculty and individuals worldwide,” Buinevicius said.
In supporting Alter Hall, Sonic Foundry becomes part of an advanced technology educational institutaion.
In addition to Mediasite for course capture, tiered case study rooms are equipped with two projectors, two screens, ambient miking, a “follow-cam,” wireless Internet and power at each desk. Larger rooms integrate Mediasite with video conferencing technology and taskless voice amplification and recording. Group work is eased by seats that swivel 360 degrees and a modular computing set up in information system labs. Podiums include a computer, a tablet to capture an instructor’s handwritten notes and audio, video and lighting controls with a memorization feature for the settings of each class.
Also, network-based control systems allow smart classroom management including opening and closing rooms, AV/computer troubleshooting and Voice over Internet Protocol communication to the control room.
Temple officials say that Alter Hall is the first facility at the school designed with course capture in mind, and that Mediasite is helping put the institution in the position to leverage itself as a worldwide operation.
According to John DeAngelo, assistant dean of instructional technology at Fox, the school wanted the advanced features to stream live, the confidence in monitoring and the searchable nature of the content.
“Mediasite is a strong and solid platform that meets our financial needs and is scalable as we move into our new building,” DeAngelo said. “Now that we have the ability to stream live for the first time, we have instructors interested in reaching students both in the classroom and offsite simultaneously. Mediasite opens up new opportunities for us to spread Fox education everywhere.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan