Swiss Educast

Role: Technical Consultant
ProjectSwiss Educast - ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Scope: Investigation of technologies employed to facilitate a harvesting and archiving mechanism for lectures conducted at educational institutions in Switzerland. Integration with lecture management systems, online archives and authentication. 

Integration of audiovisual lecture systems


ETH Zürich


Project Description, Goals and Benefit:


Recording lectures and distributing audiovisual content in a variety of formats has become an everyday business for some institutions of higher education in Switzerland. On the one hand, this is the result of projects at individual institutions to provide an automated infrastructure to support producing, managing, and distributing audiovisual material and to offer the related service of recording lectures. On the other hand, SWITCH has provided and is still providing a federated service to help other institutions achieving similar results. As a consequence, the number of recorded lectures and the number of academic audiovisual objects overall has been and is still rising significantly.

This, in turn, discloses and highlights a number of problems and deficiencies that prevent the content from unfolding its academic value: A lack of standards prevents syndication and federation of content, the exchange of content is technically impeded in a heterogeneous academic environment and the long-term preservation of content is everything but safeguarded. Overall, the utilization is painfully restricted, especially when compared to the idea of a free exchange of audiovisual content across institutions and technological barriers. Additionally, the vision of cre- ating a (teaching) knowledge pool is endangered by the ephemeral characteristics of formats, technologies and repositories.

To overcome these limitations is the main focus of this projects in that it aims at creating long- term solutions for the exchange of audiovisual objects: Standards, formats, and metadata will have to be defined to foster the availability, interoperability and commutability of content across technological and institutional barriers – with an emphatically long-ranging perspective safeguarded by an archival strategy for audiovisual content. With regard to dissemination, the connection to the learning space has to be established and technical aspects of accessing the material have to be clarified with a perspective on Open Access and the relevant legal aspects.