INSIDE: Ensemble Video Selected As Campus Technology Innovator

By on June 2, 2010

Syracuse University has been named a recipient of a 2010 Campus Technology Innovators Award for Ensemble Video and its automated media workflow systems.

In the sixth annual Campus Technology Innovators Award competition, 11 winners were selected in six categories from 484 nominations by higher education institutions around the globe. The winning projects will be described in detail in the August issue of Campus Technology magazine. The winners will also be spotlighted at the Campus Technology 2010 conference, to be held July 19-22 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.

Ensemble Video is an innovative enterprise video content management platform developed at Syracuse University and currently in use in dozens of higher education organizations, ranging from large campuses such as the University of Georgia, University of Illinois, and Temple University to smaller state and private colleges such as Colgate University, North Georgia College & State University and Stark State College, and to international campuses such as Singapore Management University.

Ensemble Video is available pre-installed on an appliance, the MediaPOINTE Ensemble Server, from Advanced Media Design Inc., an original equipment manufacturer; customers include the University of Kentucky, Pepperdine University, Northeastern University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Ensemble Video is also being used in a hosted consortium model with several New York State Department of Education Regional Technology Centers which host Ensemble Video for their K-12 component school districts.

Scott Nadzan, director of technology services at the Whitman School, manages SU’s use of the Ensemble Video system along with his staff. “Ensemble’s flexibility has allowed us to integrate a variety of powerful technologies to create an automated and robust video sharing architecture for all our users across the institution,” Nadzan says. “Ensemble has helped media/technology professionals, faculty and students utilize more video in course curricula. Media/technology professionals are equipped with a flexible, scalable application to manage media across campus. Faculty can easily transcode, publish and stream video by dragging a video file into a folder on their PC. And students can easily consume video online and on demand from Blackboard, online showcases and most recently from iTunes University—they can now download course content that can travel with them on their MP3 players and other mobile devices.”

The simplification and flexibility provided by Ensemble Video has significantly increased the usage and consumption of online video at SU, Nadzan says. In less than two years, SU’s online video content has jumped from a few hundred videos offered by a handful of departments to about 4,500 videos produced by several dozen departments.

Many professors find that Ensemble has become indispensable to their teaching. The video case studies developed for courses are now being viewed outside of class time and drastically improve the in-class discussion and case analysis. Whitman School Dean Melvin T. Stith sees Ensemble as a strategic asset as the University positions itself for the future. “As learning online becomes an expectation in higher education, streaming video is playing a large role in delivering and enhancing coursework for our faculty and students,” Stith says. “Ensemble Video and our automated media workflow system provide a video management and distribution system for our faculty that creates new possibilities by expanding our curriculum and enabling students to learn online and on-demand.”

Ensemble Video supports a comprehensive range of media types including QuickTime, Windows Media, Flash Video, MPEG-4 (H.264) MPEG-2 Real Media and audio formats including WMA and MP3. The system has flexibility so that system administrators can dynamically add media types not included in the original installation. Image galleries are supported as well, so users can also publish and manage .jpg, .gif and .png formatted images.

Ensemble Video’s Web-based interface with intuitive wizards gives users the ability to easily upload, catalog, publish and share their video content, to an unlimited number of Web destinations, without the intervention of media services or IT support. Departments and individuals are now able to manage their own independent video libraries – to be able to easily upload media to preconfigured centralized or decentralized media servers, and catalog and publish their video content to multiple Web destinations without requiring assistance from central IT or central media services. “This allows organizations to produce and manage thousands of videos and image galleries with very little central IT support.

Ensemble Video is licensed exclusively through Symphony Video, Inc., a Syracuse, New York software company founded in January 2007 by Andy Covell, former executive director of IT at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.

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