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January 14, 2009

Webcasting in Education Lowers Costs, Increases Community Participation

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


The way in which we as a society communicate has changed much over the past 100 years. In fact, if we only examine the past 10 years, technologies have advanced to make it possible to conduct live business meetings (much like face-to-face ones) on multiple continents without ever leaving the office.

The applications and benefits of advancements made in communication technologies have now also spread into education. No longer is entertainment the focus when software, telecommunications and broadcasting are combined. Now, this technology – known as webcasting – can be used to involve members of the community in the activities of the education system.

Too often, when school districts and other educational institutions schedule meetings to involve the voting public in their processes and decision-making, they are fighting against already busy schedules. As a result, attendance is lackluster and community involvement suffers.

When webcasting is deployed by the school district, it provides an opportunity for the community to observe meetings in real-time or at a later date when it is more convenient. Those interested in particular parts of the meeting can “tune in” for those few minutes and skip the rest of the meeting.

Such an approach ensures that the business discussed within the meeting is available to all constituents, whether they are able to physically attend the meeting or not. Webcasting within school districts has an added benefit in rural areas as it can often eliminate the need to drive in excess of 50 miles to attend a meeting.
 
School administrators can also take advantage of webcasting when conducting meetings among school leaders and educators. For sprawling districts especially, webcasting can make meeting attendance easier for all involved, while also providing a format in which all discussions are captured for archiving and subsequent reference.

Overall, webcasting provides a way for any business to cost-effectively communicate “face to face” with stakeholders without actually being in the same physical location.
 
Onstream Media is one company focused on providing webcasting solutions that allow users to broadcast audio and/or video transmissions via the Internet, either live or on demand. With Onstream, customers can take advantage of the Visual Webcaster, a browser-based webcasting application that allows users to create and conduct live and on demand webcasts. Visual Webcaster is designed to make webcasts simple to create and share with the intended audience.

The overall benefits that can be realized with webcasting are numerous. For those looking to implement webcasting in the educational environment, the technology can help to lower costs, increase community participation and share important information in a clear, concise and time-flexible manner.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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