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University's media department, noted for its innovative firsts, now fully supports open media strategy for students

Coventry University Sets Out to Transform the News Room 


News Release: 14 June 2012

The image of the roving reporter has been completely revamped for students of Coventry University’s media program. Students here are learning first hand that, with the latest in streaming and wireless technologies, even the news room—or the classroom—can readily move to where it is needed, when it is needed.

Having invested in professional, cutting-edge streaming technology and a good Wi-Fi system for delivering video over IP, the university now provides students with the ability to distribute material, share information and interact across the campus. This technology also allows students to access course content in the field 24 hours a day, meaning they no longer have to be in a certain room to carry out the media tasks required for their degree. In addition, lecture rooms can be quickly and easily transformed into professional live news rooms thereby giving students a real feel for the environment of professional news room. These rooms can be transformed back to lecture rooms just as quickly and easily. 
“Having this state-of-the-art technology lets us create a live, engaging, creative, active environment for our students,” says Jonathan Shaw, Associate Head of the Media Department. “The building can be reconfigured to have contemporary, flexible and inspirational spaces in which to learn, while from an operational efficiency perspective, the University is able to use its existing rooms in multiple ways with changing functionalities.” 

The course recently received professional accreditation from the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC), a partnership of 90 per cent of UK broadcasting employers. The BJTC regulates and sets the benchmark for journalism courses.

“Sending students out across Coventry with laptops with the capability of feeding a cut piece into specially designed streaming equipment is a really great idea,” says Barnie Choudhury of the BJTC. “What Coventry University is doing is cutting edge and will, I think, revolutionise the way the next generation of journalists gather and distribute news. It's an exciting prospect and I look forward to seeing it in action."

Helping the University to achieve its revolutionary ‘open media strategy’ was Garland Partners Limited. “The university is well equipped with two radio studios and one TV broadcast studio,” explains Lorna Garrett, Director of Garland Partners. “The aim was to bring in live news channels, such as BBC News and Sky News, and radio broadcasts to create live interactivity between both the news and radio studios. We deployed Teracue DVB gateways, which allow multiple news and radio channels off Free-sat (DVB-S2) to be brought straight into the news press rooms and output over IP infrastructure. In addition, live video footage shot in the university’s own broadcast studios was encoded in H264 Teracue SD encoder and integrated into the broadcast workflow.”

The university also wanted the live video and audio streams to be viewable on multiple end platforms around the campus, including desktops, MACs and iOS devices. Through Amino set top boxes provided by Garland Partners, the streams can also to be played out onto large screens in the news rooms.

“Garland Partners really had the ability to understand the needs and ambitions of the University,” states Jonathan Shaw. “They adapted their solution to realise the requirements of the project and delivered in an amazing turnaround."

Additional Information:

Further details on this solution implementation are available in the case study. Click here.  

The Media Department at Coventry University is noted for its innovations, including being the first to:

  • Present a degree course in the communications field;
  • Partner with iTunesU (the section of Apple’s iTunes music store devoted to offering higher education lectures and courses);
  • Enter into an educational partnership with YouTube EDU (a higher education page on which schools can post lecture videos, intro classes and even full-semester courses online);
  • Have a green open access mandate (first in the UK)
  • Provide the world's first photography class in an app. 
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