• by Kristin Zurovitch
    on May 09, 2013
    10 Tips for Engaging Your Online Audience

    Photos: (Top) Mediasite Events live streams a session at Unleash 2013, Sonic Foundry's Mediasite User Conference. (Second) Several large monitors displayed attendee tweets and Instagram pictures via TweetBeam and Hashgram. (Third) Attendees could download an Unleash 2013 app to stay connected. (Fourth) A remote attendee's picture: Caption - Connecting to #mediasite from Dubai for Unleash 2013. 

    Sonic Foundry has worked with countless organizations to put their meeting and event content online, and often we share tactics and strategies with our partners to help them engage their audiences, no matter where they are. We get to put our advice into practice every year during our own event Unleash, the Mediasite User Conference, which was held last week in Madison, Wis. 

    Our goal is the same as yours – converting online participants into future onsite attendees. While the event is fresh in my mind I’ll tell you how we drew the largest crowd to date both onsite and online and kept the online folks engaged throughout the event.

    1. Got a hashtag? We encouraged our customers and employees to share their conference experience over broad social media channels. So whether they were participating in a session, getting social with other users or just enjoying the food, they were posting. Using the same hashtag for all channels ensures that the posts, pictures, recaps and even jokes can be aggregated on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Online attendees quickly became engaged as well, tweeting to other attendees who were on-site and posting pictures of themselves from wherever they were participating. We used online services like TweetBeam and Hashgram to display tweets and Instagram pictures in common areas of the conference venue. They provided a powerful and engaging visual that prompted others to hop on the social bandwagon and contribute to the online discussions. Check out our conference pictures on Hashgram
    2. Have a roving reporter: Our public relations team acted like roving reporters during the conference. They posted daily play-by-plays or “show dailies” on this company blog, World of Webcast, to give online participants a feel for the onsite event. 
    3. Have an app: All attendees downloaded an Unleash 2013 conference app that had everything they needed: a conference program, maps to events, conference alerts, speaker bios. They could also message each other through and connect to the social channels through the app. Attendee Scott Lawson of QAD said this of the app for Unleash: "The app was cool, and a great addition ... far more than many conferences give you." 
    4. Conference Webcasting: Our Mediasite Events group streamed all the sessions live to the online audience who watched from around the globe. Remote attendees asked questions of the presenters and participated in polls. There are many benefits to webcasting key sessions live or turning your conference into a hybrid event. 
    5. Prize Giveaways: We gave a technology prize away to the person watching online who was the most engaged in social media, and our Rich Media Impact Awards ceremony was live streamed so we were able to wave and applaud to the camera in acknowledgement.  
    6. Personally greet your online audience: We told presenters to act like the camera is an additional face in the room. Periodic eye contact with the camera makes your online audience feel connected. We also reminded presenters that although the camera tracks wherever our presenters move, excessive movement may translate to a less than optimal online viewing experience. Also, if presentations included exercises to engage the in-room audience (e.g. polls, group/collaborative activities, games, etc.) we thought of how to also extend those for our online audience to participate.
    7. Consider chunking your presentation: We also encouraged our presenters to turn their presentations into shorter segments and pause for questions in between to keep it engaging. Online audiences tend to give their attention in 10-minute segments, after which it needs to be renewed.

    As you plan for your next event or conference, I encourage you to try some or all of these tactics to convert your online viewers into future onsite attendees. Happy planning! 

    P.S. Check out an article in BizBash, 15 Ways to Keep Your Online Attendees Engaged, for more tips from Sonic Foundry and other hybrid event gurus. 

  • by Nicole Wise
    on May 01, 2013
    Explore. Learn. Connect. Play at Unleash’s Mediasite Adult Swim

    Childhood. That was the theme of our Mediasite User Conference Unleash this year. We encouraged attendees to get in touch with their inner child and explore the possibilities of video, learn from the hundreds of Mediasite enthusiasts in attendance, connect with new people and just let loose from the daily grind and play.

    Last night we had the perfect setting to do just that. We held our version of an Adult Swim reception at the Madison Children’s Museum to bring out the playful side of Unleash.

    Madison band Super Tuesday, which our very own Shane Tracy is in, put their spin on the classic tunes. We stopped by a photo booth for some fun snapshots to document the night, took a ride on the huge hamster wheel, climbed, danced, built things, flew giant mechanical fish and enjoyed some Wisconsin’s local brews and delicious treats from James Beard award semifinalist Underground Food Collective. Oh yes, Wayne the Wizard was there making balloon hats, too. It was impossible to capture the event in pictures. You have to experience it to get the full idea, but here are a few that were snapped last night. You can see more pictures from last night and the rest of the conference at http://hashgr.am/mediasite and search #Mediasite. 

    Today’s our last day of Unleash, and it’s been the biggest and by far the best yet. Cheers to a successful conference and safe travels home. Until next year Unleashers!


  • by Nicole Wise
    on April 30, 2013
    Supporting the First Major Online Learning Project in Nigeria Using Mediasite

    Michigan Virtual University is helping respond to a huge need in Nigeria: online learning. 

    There are about 12 million annual applicants to 104 tertiary institutions in Nigeria and yet only about 300,000 people are admitted into universities each year. The quest for education by employed individuals looking to further their education without having to leave their jobs is huge, and e-learning is the only affordable approach to meet the demand for education in Nigeria and other countries on the continent. 

    Nigeria’s physical space and power and bandwidth constraints, as well as difficulties with travel, such as long distances, heavy traffic and poor roads, all hinder higher education. So the Michigan Virtual University is helping to move the traditional lectures into an online e-learning environment using Mediasite

    Kirby Milton of Michigan Virtual University shared this story with Unleash attendees today. If you’re registered for Unleash and missed this session, you can watch it on-demand later today from the Unleash 2013 Attendees Group on the MUG. Also, be sure to check for an email after the conference with links to all the on-demand content so you don’t miss a beat. 

  • by Nicole Wise
    on April 30, 2013

    Today I (and 99% of attendees of Unleash) found out that I have Adultitis, that I may have difficulty laughing and that I should seek help now. Ouch.

    At our Day 2 Unleash keynote, “Superheroes, Star Wars & Cinema: A Geek’s Guide to Fighting Adultitis at Work and Home,” Jason Kotecki tested everyone in the audience by asking questions like this one:

    If I was at a formal dinner and someone noticed some toilet paper stuck to my shoe, I'd: 

    1. Subtly kick it off and act like it was no big deal. smile and say, 'I guess it never hurts to have some extra on hand.' 
    2. Immediately leave the room and avoid that person for the rest of my life. 
    3. Remove the toilet paper and suggest that whoever is in charge of keeping the restrooms clean should be fired.

    You can get tested for adultitis, too, at www.Adultitus.org

    Jason and his wife Kim, based here in Madison, Wis., started a company to fight adultitis and share strategies from childhood for living with less stress and more fun. Since 2000, their comic strips, website, books, live programs, web TV shows and other crazy projects have inspired folks to renew their childlike spirit and make memories with the people they love. 

    You may have adultitis if:

    • Your cell phone has become a body part.
    • The place where more and more meals are eaten is a car.
    • Your idea of a spa day is a computer next to a bubble bath.

    We’re all so wrapped up in the little details of our days that we forget to enjoy the little moments in life, which are the most important. Adultitis wants us to focus on the biggest, noisiest things when the important things are happening right under our noses. 

    “Every single one of us is going to die with stuff on our to-do list,” Jason said. 

    So how do we cure adultitis?

    Try Jason’s sticky cup trick: Glue and empty fast food cup to your car and go for a ride.

    “There will be some people who you have just created a national emergency for,” he said. “There’s no easier or cheaper way to have fun in any economy. If you’re still breathing there’s still a story to be told. Be brave. Be bold. Regret nothing."

    Complete this sentence and tweet your answer to Jason and Kim @JasonandKim: If I want to live a better story it might make sense for me to __. 

    Our Unleash online concierge Hershel Miller has the right idea. 

  • by Nicole Wise
    on April 30, 2013

    I’ve already heard about a pay-per-access webcast program at Ontario Hospital Association in Toronto, how The University of Auckland, New Zealand keeps its online viewers engaged with social media and how Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, NM is digitizing and managing thousands of hours of footage to meet national archiving standards. And it’s only 11 a.m.

    We’ve got another information-packed day of sessions and trainings at our Mediasite User Conference Unleash today. Here’s a little peak at what they talked about, but if you’re registered for Unleash you’ll be able to watch all sessions on-demand via the Unleash 2013 Attendee group in the MUG. Also, watch for an email after the conference with links to all the sessions. 

    An Introduction to Pay-per-Access

    Todd Hutchings of Ontario Hospital Association told us how Mediasite webcasts have helped OHA achieve a massive return on investment on its educational programs and reach new members. OHA is a healthcare non-profit serving member hospitals across the province of Ontario, Canada. It serves hundreds of members scattered over hundreds of miles.

    His department began using webcasting to enhance their educational offerings, reduce travel costs and meet the growing demand for online healthcare training events. The growing demand for live events increased the demand for offering presentations on-demand, too. In 2009, OHA began a pay-per-access model, which began generating revenue, and that revenue continues to grow each year. Todd says members who aren’t able to attend in-person events have told him that if he continues to produce live and on-demand presentations with Mediasite they’ll keep paying. When OHA began it had maybe $100,000 in revenue, and since it began the pay-per-play model, revenue has grown to about $350,000. 

    Learn more at www.sonicfoundry.com/customer/todd-hutchings

    Connected Webcasting: Exploring Elements of Social Media to Create Engagement

    Mark Dashper of The University of Auckland, New Zealand, gave an interesting talk about how he keeps his viewers engaged in webcasts through social media. Before we get into his social media talk, a little background:

    • The university’s Faculty of Education provides professional development to 250 K-12 teachers across New Zealand.
    • Travel to schools scattered across the vast island proved to be too time consuming and costly.
    • The university selected Mediasite for its ease-of-use, cutting-edge technologies and its ability to engage viewers.
    • The university saves thousands of dollars annually by using webcasts, and it’s now the largest K-12 professional development provider in New Zealand.

    With that said, Mark doesn’t want to just have people sit in front of webcasts and watch with no engagement. He compared that to the times in grade school years ago when teachers would wheel a video cart in and have student stare at a screen for the rest of class. For viewers in rural areas who aren’t able to attend in-person, online engagement helps the experience. 

    “Facebook and Twitter and other social outlets are the glue that holds people together when they’re not together,” Mark says. 

    Learn more about Mark at www.sonicfoundry.com/customer/mark-dashper

    Controlling Content Chaos: How Sandia National Labs Streamlined Its Video Management Strategy

    Rogulja Wolf of Sandia National Labs talked about Sandia’s new video content management project involving decades-old footage of environmental testing, research and historical content. You may have seen this popular footage of a nuclear test Sandia did back in the 80s. (It’s the first few seconds of the video.) Sandia crashed a US F4 Phantom Jet traveling at 500 MPH into a concrete wall built to withstand a nuclear blast. It worked, the jet was vaporized, and a Sandia employee calls it the most seen piece of video in the world. 

    Like other footage Sandia creates, whether it’s of environmental tests, historical content such as when JFK visited the labs or research of the effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, much of it is of public record. A few years ago Sandia received a FOIA request for this jet crash video. Problem was Sandia has thousands of hours of footage dating back to the dawn of the nuclear age. It wasn’t easy to find.

    Sandia eventually found the film, but the process spurred a multi-year project Sandia is now beginning: digitizing everything so that anything – no matter how obscure – can be found with the click of a button. Some of the footage is in an online video library on Sandia’s servers. But right now much of the video is stored in an underground, temperature-controlled facility and is on many outdated devices. Sandia needs to modernize these decade-old films and videos and make them easily accessible to its customers, employees and the world (if they are deemed non-classified and appropriate for public viewing), and it’s teamed up with Mediasite Enterprise Video Platform, to do so.  

    Learn more about Rogulja and this project at www.sonicfoundry.com/customer/rogulja-wolf

  • by Nicole Wise
    on April 29, 2013
    Deep Dive into Webcasting Best Practices at Unleash

    (Reported by Tammy Jackson and Nicole Wise)

    We’ve had a jam-packed morning and afternoon full of sessions led by staff from Sonic Foundry and our talented customers who are sharing best practices. All morning and afternoon attendees at Unleash have been learning from peers about how to take their Mediasite implementations to the next level.

    Tammy Jackson and I have been listening in to give you a sneak peek of what they talked about. If you're registered for Unleash be sure to watch for an email after the conference with a link to these and other on-demand sessions. You can also watch today's sessions on-demand a little later this evening from the Unleash 2013 Attendee Group in the MUG

    Meet the Sonic Foundry Execs

    This morning three of our top executives had an informal sit-down with customers.The session was about getting input from customers and share what’s coming up in future Mediasite developments.

    The panel was made up of Rob Lipps, executive VP, Dharmesh Sampat, VP of engineering, and Sean Brown, VP of education. 

    Principles of Effective Instructional Design

    Matt McCurdy our associate VP of education shared his approach to instructional design and reminded people of the importance of integrating as many learning  styles as possible – flipped instruction, blended learning, hybrid classes, etc. – because students expect it. 

    Before you even begin planning for a course design, follow his tips:

    “Understand who your students are, where their coming from and what you want them to do. What are their expectations? What access do they have? We are on the midst of a cultural shift. Students now expect some sort of online presence. They want their course capture. They want to have notes they can take digitally,” Matt said. “It’s a different generation. These kids have grown up with it.”

    Introduction to Desktop Recording and Video Import with the New My Mediasite

    My Mediasite, the newest member of the Mediasite family, makes it easy for faculty, trainers, staff and students to create, upload, edit and manage their own video.

    Bill Cherne, Sonic Foundry sales engineer, walked a standing-room only crowd trough the simple steps to create content this way.

    How Small Community Colleges Can Create Flex Courses Using Mediasite

    Due to budget cuts Western Nevada College needed to find a way to cost—effectively reach students in rural areas and found a solution with Mediasite. 

    Clarence Maise told people that his school installed Mediasite rooms on all three of its campuses, and they’re now able to broadcast from each campus to its scattered student population. The college also works with area high schools and uses Mediasite to live stream classes to high school students.

    They Like Me, They Really Like Me!

    We ended day one with the ninth annual Rich Media Impact Awards -- the program that honors customers for their innovative and creative use of video. Just when we thought we've heard all of the best Mediasite stories out there, we're giving you 12 more. All of the winners are in the program for the first time, and this year we've added two Video in Education scholarships. 

    Cheers to the winners!  We'll see you tomorrow. 



  • by Nicole Wise
    on April 29, 2013
    Keynote: Unleash Your Organization in the Age of Video

    (Photo: The  Mediasite Events team live streams the Unleash keynote this morning at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis.)

    “Technology has to respond to the world we live in.” – Scott Walker, President and CEO of Waveguide Consulting

    This morning we welcomed Scott to our Mediasite User Conference Unleash 2013 as our keynote speaker to hundreds here in Madison, Wis., as well as to hundreds more watching online via a live Mediasite webcast. His presentation “Unleash Your Organization in the Age of Video” centered on the fact that video is everywhere. It’s being live-streamed and recorded and is rapidly becoming our primary source for learning. Leading corporations and education institutions have amazing opportunities to harness the power of video to advance their message, improve collaboration, expand business opportunities and educate the masses. 

    If you missed it this morning, his presentation is now available on-demand for free. Check it out at www.sonicfoundry.com/WalkerKeynote. And if you’re here at our conference, as Scott said: “Go forth and Unleash.”

  • by Nicole Wise
    on April 28, 2013
    First-Time Unleash Attendees Connect at The Great Dane

    It’s official. Unleash, our annual Mediasite User Conference, has officially begun. We welcomed first-time attendees tonight at our Newcomers’ Reception at the Great Dane in downtown Madison, Wis. and tomorrow we kick off the first of three info-packed conference days. 

    Tonight our first-time attendees got to experience the essence of Unleash: the connections. Unleash is the largest gathering of Mediasite users from all over the world (over 300 this year) and those connections last long after the event is over. People look forward to coming back each year to see their friends, and tonight it looked like the start of many new friendships.

    Take Justin Suzuki of the University of Colorado at Boulder for instance. He sat across the table from Scott Berg and Dan Schrickel of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. They had never met before tonight but you wouldn’t know that from watching them. They were busy swapping Mediasite tales with each other. 

    Justin has been using Mediasite for six years and was recently transferred to the University of Colorado’s academic technology unit, and the school is expanding its use of Mediasite.

    “I want to start learning more about the Mediasite technology. I’m really looking forward to the sessions about the Desktop Recorder and the Post-It sessions and just to talk to people with similar situations,” Justin said. 

    Scott Berg of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is also a first-time Unleash attendees, hoping to learn video best practices and techniques. When he attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which uses Mediasite, he actually  worked directly with Mediasite, helping run the lecture capture, and now he wants to take a deep dive into the technology and bring it back to Green Bay. Scott is attending with Unleash veteran Dan Schrickel. (Learn more about how Dan and UW-Green Bay uses Mediasite.) 

    “The biggest thing this year to learn is User-Generated Content and the roadmap of where Sonic Foundry is going with multi-camera input and mobile recorders,” Dan said. 

    Keep checking www.worldofwebcast.com throughout the coming days, because we’ll be live blogging from Unleash starting bright and early tomorrow. 

    (Middle photo: Justin Suzuki, Dan Schrickel and Scott Berg)

  • by Tammy Jackson
    on April 26, 2013
    College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Cincinnati

    (Part of an ongoing series featuring Rich Media Impact Awards finalists

    In the not so distant future, freshmen engineering majors at the University of Cincinnati will have their first year of courses complete before they ever set foot on campus.

    That’s the beauty of a new dual-enrollment program rolled out by the university, which brings college engineering courses to high school students via Mediasite.

    “We saw an opportunity to provide content in a way that was engaging and accessible by using video. We use Mediasite to record small lectures of our faculty and staff on engineering topics such as what is engineering, what is mechanical engineering? What is the engineering design process? We can make these available to the students and schools at their convenience – as often as they want,” said Eugene Rutz, academic director in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

    Using Mediasite to create a flipped classroom, students view learning modules at their convenience. Classroom time is led by high school instructors who walk the students through activities that show them how the lessons will apply to their lives and careers. (That’s another way of saying, “Yes. You’ll use this when you’re an adult.”)

    So far 10 schools are offering it as dual enrollment for 140 students. Click below to find out why this program earned a spot as an RMIA finalist. 

    Sonic Foundry Video in Education Scholarship Finalist – University of Cincinnati

  • by Tammy Jackson
    on April 26, 2013
    Clemson University

    (Part of an ongoing series featuring Rich Media Impact Awards finalists

    It’s easy to picture a traditional classroom – a lecturing professor with rows of students watching, listening and taking notes.

    But that age-old model is turning a cartwheel in some of the best classrooms in academia. And chances are someone in your department is already flipping their classroom.

    Professor Ralph Welsh of Clemson University started experimenting with this technology-driven pedagogy three years ago, redesigning and refining his courses over time and putting the onus on the student to come to class already having watched the lectures and ready to engage in conversation. 

    During that time he’s met and overcome challenges and reset his teaching style to rave reviews from students.

    “Mediasite has helped expand our education across campus. I’ve seen a 50% increase in number of courses I can offer with this new methodology. Student satisfaction remains high as Mediasite promotes an engaged learning experience and is meeting the interest of a new generation of learner,” said Ralph.

    Find out why Ralph’s ed-tech initiatives earned him a spot as an RMIA finalist in the video below.

    And join him on May 21 for a webinar in which he presents a how-to guide for introducing flipped instruction.

    Sonic Foundry Video in Education Scholarship Finalist – Clemson University, Department of Public Health Sciences