UW Information Technology
Amping Up Online Education
UW Applied Mathematics Chair Nathan Kutz is passionate about online learning.
His passion, coupled with innovative programs and advanced technologies, has made his department a national leader in online professional education.
Eight years ago, UW became the first to offer an online Masters in Applied Math. In 2011 a Computational Finance Masters program was added, ranking in the top 20 before graduating its first class.
“We’re proud of our leadership status in online learning,” Kutz said. “We strive to offer the most innovative and modern tools for online delivery of materials.”
One of the most important of those is MediaAMP, a cloud-based content sharing tool developed by UW-IT.
“MediaAMP transformed the way we managed and integrated all our online offerings,” Kutz said. “It’s an ideal solution that allows our department to easily scale up the services we offer.”
With MediaAMP, professors can add unlimited supplemental material that encourages online students to dive deeply into recorded lectures, said UW-IT’s Director of Digital Media Platforms Laurens Banker. It adapts to any type of viewing device, and all content is tagged for easy searching. It’s extremely scalable, easy to use and integrated seamlessly into Canvas, the UW’s learning management system.
“If I want, I can add one, two, three examples as five-minute mini-lectures—right from one spot in the video,” Kutz said. “I can add a paper or a Web link. Just execute, upload, done. Students can view the extra material or watch the lecture uninterrupted. It helps us as professors feel empowered to include a lot of extra material. And that’s transformative.”
MediaAMP, combined with Canvas, is also influencing pedagogy in traditional classrooms. “They let us do what we call a flipped course,” Kutz said. “Where we would traditionally do formal lectures, now those are on MediaAMP. That lets us use our classroom time for direct engagement, interaction and problem solving.”
Together, these tools provide a powerful online teaching and learning platform, said Tom Lewis, UW-IT’s Director of Academic & Collaborative Applications. “Canvas has limited full-featured digital media management, so bringing these technologies together allows Applied Math to easily reuse their content in any Canvas course.”
Other UW departments are turning to MediaAMP. The Foster School of Business uses MediaAMP to streamline its digital video management workflows and UW Libraries uses it to make its large video library of course reserves available to all three campuses.
“MediaAMP—with its FERPA compliance, HIPAA alignment and extremely rich reporting and analytics—can be used in a variety of teaching, clinical or research settings,” Lewis said.
“Delivering lectures used to be our central focus. Now we can think about all the other things that help students learn better and have a richer experience,” Kutz said. “Ultimately, it’s all this rich content that makes a program so much better.”
Originally published in the UW Information Technology 2014 Annual Report. View our Annual Reports archive.