Innsbruck University (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7270-7277
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
The Innsbruck University was founded in 1669 und is the largest public university for education and research in western Austria (in 2014 about 28,000 students, 124 programs, 3,164 academics, 1,432 non-academics, and 16 faculties).

In 2009, an eLearning-project called “IPTV / live streaming” started at one of the main university locations, namely the SoWi-building with members of three faculties (School of Management, School of Political Science and Sociology, and Faculty of Economics and Statistics) and about 7,000 students.

The project is still ongoing and focuses on basic courses of the bachelor program as well as on two Diploma programs. Each course of the study programs involved consists of a basic lecture comprising 350 to 900 students (with live streaming-service for lecturers) as well as related interactive seminars (consisting of approximately 35 students each; without live streaming-service).

What about the main reasons to start the project in 2009? Many students are working in some side job and/or bothered by extensive travel time to and from university. Other reasons for students’ needs for a live streaming-service: home care of family members, engagement concerning supervision of children, but also handicapped persons can benefit from the live streaming-service. Anyway, students should have the opportunity to watch the live streams with several devices, for example their laptops, computers, smart phones, or tablets. In addition, one main point was voluntariness for all project-involved lecturers; so, their commitment to offer live streams to their students should in any case be based on their own choice. Since 2009, 7 to 9 instructors each semester make use of the project’s offer and provide their students’ with live streams.

The main project’s objectives were and still are: support to and personal assistance of involved course instructors; provision of interactive tools like a Facebook-group, a wiki, chats on the learning platform, etc., giving students’ the opportunity to communicate and give feedback; granting of a sustainable and maintenance-free infrastructure with high usability standards for instructors; focus on working students, handicapped persons, etc. (please see above); students can choose to attend lectures physically or follow the live streams; consideration, adaption and implementation of lecturers’ needs.

The ongoing project-realization presents some challenges: the project is performed with very low personnel capacity (1 employee, 1 researcher as project-coordinator) offering diverse service-oriented project tasks for lecturers involved like clarification and implementation of special need of lecturers, trainings, embedding of live streaming-links and information in each course on the learning platform, monitoring of each live streamed unit, etc. Another challenge refers to the communication with all related target groups in an adequate manner. Budget-related challenges lead to the fact that nearly every year, the author had/has to raise funds in order to be able to continue offering project-support to the instructors and their students. All in all, feedback from all target groups involved is very positive.

Furthermore, the project is the only institutionalized live streaming-initiative at Innsbruck University and can be seen as a ‘pilot’ for other main university locations.