Big Bend Community College Adopts Mediasite for More Cost-Effective Online Learning

Faculty adoption and student reach skyrocket as the school's Mediasite program, fueled largely by grants, continues to grow in the New Year

Jan 20, 2010, 07:16 ET from Sonic Foundry, Inc.

MADISON, Wis., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sonic Foundry, Inc. (Nasdaq: SOFO), the recognized market leader for rich media webcasting and knowledge management, today announced that Big Bend Community College has streamlined its virtual classroom offering by using Mediasite to deliver courses.

Big Bend's Mediasite program is the focus of a live webinar at 11:00 Central on Tuesday, January 26. Visit to register.

With about 4,000 students, Big Bend is one of the smallest community colleges in the state of Washington. The school also has one of the largest service districts, covering 4,500 square miles.  A year and a half ago, the staff was forced to look at their 12-year, multi-million dollar videoconferencing distance learning program in the face of new budget restrictions. The school discovered that videoconferencing provided a very high-cost low yield service.

"Even with that investment it was still really a struggle to maintain a stable environment over an 11-week period of time for the quarter," said Russell Beard, director of information and communication services at Big Bend Community College.  

Beard launched a "best of breed" campaign, with the goal of eliminating videoconferencing and exclusively using Mediasite to capture lectures, special events and internal meetings, like the board of trustees meetings. Big Bend began mediasiting in the fall of 2007 and, its lecture capture programs, fueled by grants, have been growing ever since.

"Mediasite lived up to the hype. In June we built our third and fourth Mediasite classrooms, funded almost exclusively by grants. They're brand new, in use now and are a big hit. We've gone from having to beg, borrow and threaten faculty to use these IT classrooms to having a line of faculty that want to use the Mediasite classrooms," said Beard.

"I don't think I can emphasize enough how big of a revolution Mediasite has created on this campus. It's far more cost-effective for us. We can invest in a classroom and have it available to every one of our constituents who have a decent internet connection," Beard continued. "We have four classrooms that have Mediasite capability right now. If I had 12 they'd be full."

Beard plans to expand the school's Mediasite offerings in 2010, including adding curriculum to help faculty become more effective online instructors.

"We have found time to apply for and get grants, but this all happens because the president of the college supports the vision," Beard said. "My role is to discover, advise and help instructors find the tools that will make them more successful in the classroom. The Mediasite platform is at the top of that list. It's been nothing but a raging success."

"Mediasite is an affordable alternative to traditional distance learning and online course solutions currently in place at many community colleges. We applaud Big Bend for creating the vision to bring their classrooms to distance education students, and look forward to a continued partnership as they continue to realize that vision," said Sean Brown, vice president of education at Sonic Foundry. "The Mediasite platform ensures ease of use for instructors, its aesthetic design provides the best experience for end users and its reliability guarantees it's a cost-effective investment for the school."

The patented Mediasite webcasting and content management system quickly and cost-effectively automates the capture, management, delivery and search of rich media presentations that combine audio, video and accompanying graphics for live or on-demand viewing.

About Sonic Foundry®, Inc.

Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO, is the global leader for rich media webcasting and knowledge management, providing enterprise communication solutions for 1,800 customers in education, business and government. Powered by Mediasite, the patented webcasting platform which automates the capture, management, delivery and search of lectures, online training and briefings, Sonic Foundry empowers people to transform the way they communicate. Through the Mediasite platform and its Events Services group, the company helps customers connect a dynamic, evolving world of shared knowledge and envisions a future where learners and workers around the globe use webcasting to bridge time and distance, accelerate research and improve performance.

Product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of Sonic Foundry, Inc. or their respective owners.

Certain statements contained in this news release regarding matters that are not historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Because such forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, uncertainties pertaining to continued market acceptance for Sonic Foundry's products, its ability to succeed in capturing significant revenues from media services and/or systems, the effect of new competitors in its market, integration of acquired business and other risk factors identified from time to time in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE Sonic Foundry, Inc.