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SUNY Cortland Updates Campus Content Management System

State University leverages technology to improve education.

In 2010, several video-centered content management projects developed on our campus. Our library was tasked with adding a large body of video to its catalog. At the same time, a new professional studies building was being completed that would house a clinic for speech, language and hearing disorders. Both of these projects introduced technological demands that exceeded the ability of content systems used at the college at that time. We initiated a search for a service that could handle—and hopefully exceed—the new requirements.

Zeroing in on A Winner

After evaluating a variety of products and services of all sizes, we chose Ensemble Video as our provider. We judged the company’s system flexible enough to integrate with our library catalog, and it offered enough control to function in a self-contained clinical observation environment. Features such as LMS integration, simple HTML embedding and quick publishing were also selling points. The price was right, and as an added perk, Ensemble is based right here in New York. It’s nice to find a local, in-state group to work with, especially at a state university,

We’ve been using Ensemble technologies for more than two years now and we continue to discover new ways to take advantage of the platform. In 2011 we began live streaming large campus events, including our president’s addresses and commencement activities. After gaining some experience with the workflow, we added live feeds from three of our outdoor pan/tilt/zoom cameras to the college’s central online portal. Without Ensemble, that service wouldn’t be available to the campus community. Recently the athletics department has been live streaming on-campus sporting events. This has led to the coaching staff using Ensemble for on-demand review of footage.

Keeps Getting Bigger and Better

Just as our use of live streaming has developed and grown, so has our use of on-demand services. It started with the library video collection and the clinic, each of which was a significant undertaking. Things quickly moved on to the college’s capital campaign, our first bit of forward-facing content. After policies and procedures were established, we opened the platform up to a larger user base. More recently, H.264 recording appliances have been installed and connected to Ensemble, enabling users to record and push content directly from their normal environment. In addition to learning spaces, that workflow has been introduced to our child care center, which previously did its recording on VHS tapes. This kind of flexibility is what makes Ensemble such a valuable tool. At its core, Ensemble is a content management tool, but with a little imagination, we’ve found more ways to use it than I originally expected.

Ensemble’s support team has been available during every step of our relationship. They created an annotation function for use in our clinic and added a special type of closed captioning for our library project. Whether I have an emergency or a trivial question, I always get a real answer. Without their guidance and feedback, most of the projects described here would not have succeeded.

Casey Hickey is a digital media specialist in the campus technology services branch of the State University of New York at Cortland. He has been working in digital media at that institution since 2007. He may be contacted at For additional information, visit Ensemble Video at