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Next Generation of Students Playing Major Role in Informing Voters


Campus campaign speeches webcasted with Mediasite galvanize student interest in presidential primaries.

MADISON, WI — Students at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse are informing their peers on election issues with the help of Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), the recognized market leader for rich media communications and knowledge management, and Mediasite, the company’s patented webcasting and lecture capture platform.

When Michelle Obama and President Clinton made campaign stops at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse recently, a scheduling conflict kept Sarah Oswald, education major, from attending.

“My goal is to try and listen to as many candidates as possible so that I can hear a variety of viewpoints before I vote,” said Oswald. She sent an email to Chancellor Joe Gow asking for the events to be recorded. That email set a webcasting plan into motion that will continue to impact student learning not only at the UW-La Crosse, but nationwide. The University webcasted the speeches using Mediasite and made the web link available on campus giving Oswald and her peers anytime, anywhere viewing ability.

“Watching the speeches online was very helpful in that I was able to listen to the presentations without actually having to be there. I didn’t feel liked I missed out on anything because I wasn’t able to attend the actual presentation,” said Oswald. “The recording was actually better than attending the event because I was able to rewind and see parts that I didn’t catch, and review parts that I felt needed further clarification.”

Faculty also benefit from the online resource. Joe Heim, political science professor, plans to use the Mediasite presentations over the next year as a discussion platform, zeroing in on the issues as well as the effect students have on the political process.

“These are excellent records to have. I can see using them in a number of my courses including Campaign and Elections, The Presidency, American Government and State and Local Government,” Heim said. “Using Mediasite recordings will help students make their choices in the political context. They also help encourage people to vote.”

Cecilia Manrique, who also teaches political science, not only met President Clinton but has already reviewed his speech and shared it with her class. “Having this technology really opens up new opportunities for discussion and comment. I can use the Mediasite link in my class, or embed them in my online Desire2Learn course management system. It is a great resource for my classes,” she said.

“Recording an event and putting it online via Mediasite really helps with faculty and student schedules. For President Clinton’s speech, 3000 people were able to attend the event. On a campus of 8000, that means many students could not be there. Having it online really helps students to connect even though they might have class or work scheduling conflicts,” said Heim.

“It was great to see the political speeches because it reaffirmed my voting preferences, and I could go to specific places on the Mediasite presentation to review what the speaker actually said. It puts the viewer in control of what they want to watch, when they want to watch it,” said Stacey Eckers, an education major from Sturgeon Bay, Wis. “It is a lot more convenient for me to get these presentations online. If I have Internet access, I can easily get these resources.”

In addition to special events like the campaign appearances, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse uses Mediasite to increase student and faculty access to University information including classroom webcasting, workshops, campus events, foundation development and promotion.

“In the past five years we have seen a dramatic increase in students wanting online resources available for review. Students don’t stop learning at 5 p.m. Having online recordings available 24 hours a day helps them both in and out of the classroom,” Jim Jorstad, Director of Educational Technologies

UW-La Crosse is continuing to discover how online recordings can benefit the campus and the community. “Mediasite extends the classroom to anywhere the Internet is available, and through it, we not only help expand access to our students and faculty, but also create important connections within our community, nationally and worldwide. It helps us to remember that the Internet is almost always on, and our challenge is to continue to effectively use it to enhance teaching and student learning,” said Jorstad.

This announcement is part of Sonic Foundry’s next-gen education initiative. With its higher education Mediasite community now topping 500 colleges and universities, the company is highlighting customer stories that exemplify the convergence of technology and education.


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