Apr 20, 2023
Read Time: 4 min
Educators have long discussed the potential for “distance learning” to deliver lessons to more students efficiently and cost effectively. Until recently, progress in connecting the classroom has been uneven, held back by evolving technology, cost, and a legacy mindset. But now, particularly in higher education, live streaming is coming into its own.
A Babson Survey Research Group study found that 69% of colleges and universities offer at least one live-streamed course. The study also showed an increase of 20% in the number of colleges and universities providing live-streamed classes between 2016 and 2018.
Acceptance of live streaming exploded out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but signs are clear that the momentum is continuing. Many factors drive the increased popularity of live streaming for education, most notably technological improvements that allow for more meaningful engagement through interactivity and personalization.
The technological evolution has also made it easier for remote students to collaborate, which brings the best features of in-person learning into distance learning.
Live streaming is also growing at a time when colleges and universities are increasingly looking for ways to deliver services in different ways and more cost effectively. Here’s how live streaming is being used and how these approaches are improving learning outcomes.
Innovation in live streaming in education by colleges and universities is strong and growing. Here are a few of the ways that higher ed is proving the potential of technology to reach new audiences.
Stanford University Graduate Business School Live
Stanford offers graduate business school learners the opportunity to learn via live streaming through the Stanford Intensives program. Rather than attempting to put a whole semester’s material online at once, the Intensives offer twelve to fifteen hours of learning over four days on specific topics, such as crisis management, data-driven decision-making, and the essentials of artificial intelligence. Successful completion leads to a certificate of completion.
The courses are taught by Stanford faculty and offer online student engagement capabilities. The Intensives provide an in-depth, interactive live online learning experience in a concentrated time frame.
The Open University
Based in the United Kingdom, Open University has pioneered distance learning over several decades. The University wants to make it possible for students to pursue learning experiences anywhere in the world. This goes beyond live streaming lectures. Each curriculum comes with resources that enable students to pursue their educational opportunities at their own pace. These materials may include online study portals, recorded lectures, tutoring, student forums, and other special events.
Columbia University School of Engineering
Distance learning can enable learners to access content from Ivy League schools. For instance, Columbia’s School of Engineering offers fully online degrees in fields such as computer science, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Depending on the program selected, learners can achieve either fully accredited degrees or certificates of completion.
Getting started in live streaming involves multiple considerations, and there are a few capabilities to look for in a live streaming system.
First and most notably, can it scale? You can never truly be sure if an offering will become a viral hit. If you are that fortunate but your platform crashes, you risk putting yourself out of the live streaming business before you even get started. Make sure your platform is equipped to handle large audiences.
Second, the success of live streaming depends on transitioning the best features of in-person learning and recreating them as best as possible in a streaming environment. Look for a platform that has interactive features for students, such as chats, polls, quizzes, and question-and-answer sessions. It also needs to have technology that includes rather than excludes, such as closed-captioning features for those with hearing disabilities.
Third, live streaming must be secure to meet the demands of various state and federal regulations, especially those protecting student privacy. You do not want your live streaming operations to be a gateway for hackers to access sensitive information.
Finally, befitting these technologically challenging times, your live streaming platform must be compatible across devices. Students will feel frustrated if they can’t access content on various mobile and tablet platforms.
Enough has been done with live streaming for education to provide a roadmap for best practices to get started at your institution. One crucial decision is investing in the proper hardware and software. Live-streamed video is data intensive. Crucial aspects of your investment are a reliable and robust network, high-quality cameras, microphones, and other services and equipment.
Like when starting any significant new initiative, you should establish the purpose and goals for using live streaming, focusing on the content, format, and target audience. You may struggle to succeed if you don’t know who you are trying to reach and with which messages.
Focus on engagement. Live streaming is different from the magic of classroom learning, but you can overcome the challenges of various mediums by considering ways to involve your remote audience in your education. As you build out your plan, develop the most explicit instructions and guidelines, including advice on what to do in case of trouble. If a live stream has issues, you must rely on users to help diagnose the problem, and you cannot expect to advise every single person on what to do.
Finally, as part of good project management, include a post-event review to evaluate success and seek ideas for areas of improvement. This could be done after individual class sessions or at the end of semesters.
The potential for live streaming in education is constantly evolving. Success requires the right technology to deliver the best possible learning experience, and that’s where the Warpwire streaming platform comes in.
Built for education, Warpwire Live helps instructors engage virtual audiences in real time. With a streamlined start-up, proactive health checks, accurate captions, proactive health checks, and more, Warpwire Live contains everything you need to promote learning in today's hybrid classrooms.
See how easy it is to deliver higher ed live streams with Warpwire Live. The learning technology provides real-time, low-latency virtual attendee experiences. Warpwire makes it easy to capture and manage video within learning environments and delivers insight into how the communities engage with the content. Schedule a demo today!