Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Echo 360 Community Conference Europe 2010

On 5th February 2010, I attended the Echo 360 Community Conference in the University of Birmingham. I also presented a poster, with preliminary results from a survey of over 100 students (mostly in the School of Medicine) on their use of recorded lectures over a one year period.

Echo360 is growing by about 100 new customers in Higher Education every year since 2005, and has customers in 24 countries. Their commitment to the UK and Ireland was very much in evidence at the event, with strong representation by senior technical staff. Mark Jones, president of Echo 360, gave an initial presentation, introducing the members of his team and highlighting lessons learned during 2009.

During the day we found out about the latest release and plans for future releases. Version 2.5 (update 2) was released recently (though NUI Galway hasn't had a chance to upgrade yet) and promises a stabilised environment with improved reliability.Version 2.6 is scheduled to be released in July, with version 2.7 to follow in December 2010. Future features that are of particular interest to us include: a defined scheduler role and external LDAP authentication (2.6); devolved administration, improved user interface, calendar based scheduling and more (2.7).

Also of interest to us are two new products from Echo360. Both of these seem quite promising for our situation.

Podium Capture is software that sits on the fixed pc in a venue allowing visuals and audio to be captured, but no video, and processed as Echoes. The content is sent to the Echo360 server by ftp and recordings can be scheduled. This can be bought as a site licence and does not require purchase of an appliance.

Personal Capture can sit on a laptop or pc, allowing Echoes (with video from a webcam) to be recorded and processed (locally or on the server). It is being sold in bundles of 5 licences and each licence is associated with a person (rather than a venue).

Mark Jones also highlighted the new community portal, lecturecapture.com and announced the next round of the grants programme. The call will go out on 5th March, with a closing date of 2nd July. There will be 4 grants available, each worth $10,000. More information is at www.echo360.com/grantsprogram.

1 comment:

Franny3 said...

I think it's pretty cool that distance learning software makes it possible to attend a class without being there in person. I had a couple of college courses that were distance learning and they weren't bad experiences, at least for me.