Michigan Virtual University supports first major e-learning project in Nigeria with Mediasite by Sonic Foundry

Monday, July 22, 2013

Up to 1.2 million students in Nigeria qualify to begin college each year, but the country’s 104 universities can only accept 300,000 students. In response to the great demand for distance learning to make in-country education more accessible, Michigan Virtual University (MVU) is supporting Nigeria’s first e-learning project with Mediasite by Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), the trusted leader for video content management and webcasting solutions.

MVU has been using Mediasite to create online learning materials and record and stream events since 2007. Through a partnership with Venture Garden Group, MVU is taking its e-learning expertise to Nigeria. MVU and Venture Garden Group designed an e-learning solution based on Mediasite lecture capture for the Center for Distance Learning at Obafemi Awolowo University.

“Aside from this project, e-learning is not happening in Nigeria. It’s starting to evolve as a discussion, and there is great demand for college-level education. E-learning is the only practical way to bring a significant new group of learners into the fold,” said Kirby Milton, VP of Operations at MVU. “When I heard the scope and the scale and what the project was trying to accomplish it was an immediate leap to Mediasite as the core technology for us to capture hundreds of hours of lectures and present them in an online format.”

Implementing a large scale lecture capture project in a developing country meant Nigerian faculty needed significant training from MVU and Venture Garden Group to get them ready to present in front of a camera. MVU acquired two Mediasite Mobile HD Recorders in January 2013 which were transported to Nigeria to begin training.

“Getting lecturers to develop their content in e-learning compliant formats on their own was not easy. Instead, lecturers were taken to a resort to work on their content in proper formats. Many came without their course materials and laptops while others had no idea what e-learning entailed,” Milton said.

After extensive training, 58 lecturers began recording their courses with Mediasite. In just three weeks they recorded more than 500 hours of content — including 13 complete courses in accounting, 19 in education and four in nursing. That’s about half of the course modules they plan to convert to video this year.

All students and faculty will receive an Android mobile device, which can play the Mediasite videos. The courses will also be shared on a network to accommodate the country’s bandwidth limitations. According to Dr. Abiola Awosika, the General Manager of Edutech, the education-arm of Venture Garden Group, the students will begin watching the recorded lectures this fall.

The new Center for Distance Learning building at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria is under construction and contains several live lecture halls and studios equipped with Mediasite. The university will acquire dedicated bandwidth to create a data center to allow the capture, delivery and management of all its content with the secure Mediasite Enterprise Video Platform. The university will also eventually deploy the Mediasite Desktop Recorder, allowing faculty to easily record high quality video and rich media using a laptop or computer’s built in camera and microphone.

“Nigerian educators are embracing Mediasite lecture capture with great enthusiasm, and Sonic Foundry is honored to be a part of the first major online learning project in the country and help create more higher education opportunities for students,” said Gary Weis, chief executive officer of Sonic Foundry.

Watch Milton’s presentation, “Supporting the First Major Online Learning Project in Nigeria Using Mediasite” from Unleash the Mediasite User Conference in May at www.sonicfoundry.com/MVU_UnleashPresentation.

About Sonic Foundry®, Inc.

Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO) is the trusted market leader for enterprise webcasting solutions, providing video content management and distribution for education, business and government. Powered by the patented Mediasite webcasting platform and webcast services of Mediasite Events, the company empowers people to advance how they share knowledge online, using video webcasts to bridge time and distance, enhance learning outcomes and improve performance.