Narvik University College (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 1266-1275
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Narvik University College (NUC) decided in 2009 to offer all engineering study programs as online courses. In addition to live and/or recorded lectures, the students had to do mandatory laboratory work and assignments at gathering weeks on campus. A project was established with funding from oil industry and public sector, with the goal of establishing a system for lecture capturing, streaming and interactive support for students that were not present at the NUC campus in Narvik. The project had limited resources at hand, so cost per classroom and operating cost had to be low. In 2009/2010, both technical infrastructure and devices used for lecture capturing were at least partly immature. Some lecture capturing systems were seen as too expensive, and the solution became a combination of lecture capturing in a studio and lecture capturing in the classroom.

This method worked well for some of the lecturers, but most of them preferred to do “studio” recordings. Regardless, a lot of the courses did not deliver the content as promised to the students, and the cost was too high. The money was spent on overtime for lecturers doing the studio recordings. Many different digital boards and other devices were used, leading to the need for a lot of support spent on small user groups.

The project realized that the freedom in selecting devices and capturing technique obstructed the volume of the delivery. As a test, a Mediasite recorder was set up in the auditorium for the Civil Engineer bachelor program. The room was also equipped with a high-quality, easy-operated document camera, a new LED projector, a wireless microphone, a 25 inch digital board and a video camera. The lectures were pre-scheduled and captured automatically. At the same time, NUC initiated cooperation with UNINETT, the national institution for providing IT infrastructure for the Norwegian universities and research institutions.
The volume of the delivery rose almost to 100% for the study program, and even the older conservative lecturers were enthusiastic and abele to utilize the equipment..

The project decided to rebuild 17 classrooms and equip them with the exact same interior and devices as the experiment room. Only the recording systems are different: 7 of the rooms have Mediasite recorders, the other rooms rely on “software based” capturing using Adobe Connect Net-meeting.

Narvik University College now delivers daily 12 – 16 live lectures, and are producing most recording of all institutions in Norway under the UNINETT umbrella, including the bigger Universities in Norway. 95% of all lectures taking place on the 7 different study programmes are delivered live.

In this paper, we describe in full:
- the background and motivation for establishing a web-based engineering education
- the obstacles and lessons learned we encountered on the way
- the working principles of the equipment
- the importance of standardized classrooms, devices and software
- the importance of full support from the management and staff, and how we achieved that
- the co-operation with UNINETT as a technology partner and infrastructure and storage provider
- other projects related to online courses (e.g. use of e-books and tests in math, physics, etc.)
- the student survey

We will also present ideas for future extensions of our web-based education, and how we consider these ideas will further increase the quality to meet the demands of a new generation of students.
Lecture capturing, digital classroom, webcasting, streaming.