By Storm Gerlock, General Manger of Mast Student Television

Over the course of this academic year, Pacific Lutheran University has been taking steps to completely change the way conferences are presented digitally. PLU has started streaming major talks, conferences and performances in order to allow people to click into the event from virtually anywhere.

PLU has branded its platform for streaming as LuteCast, and Instructional Technologies supports and operates it. The service will host both live streamed events as well as archived events, including graduations and convocations.

“The commitment to streaming is a fantastic effort to bring these events to audiences that have not traditionally had access to them,” Lace Smith, the director of content marketing for University Communications, said.

This year marked the first that PLU streamed the Wang Center Symposium for students and community members to watch through an online platform. The question is whether students are aware they now have the option to stream lectures.

“I’ve noticed the cameras, and I thought something was going on here,” senior Kel Mejlaender said after attending Dorothy Roberts’ lecture on “Racism and the Paradox of State Violence.”

Mejlaender decided to attend the event because the topic related to her history capstone. She said she wasn’t aware the Wang Center Symposium had streaming as an option for viewing the different lectures.

“I think there are advantages to coming in person, because if you have questions afterwards, you can ask those yourself instead of just sitting there thinking of them.”

Although Mejlaender spoke of the benefits to coming in person, she said she related to the reasons student might rather stream the talks. “I think it’s also a really great option for those — that it maybe doesn’t fit into their schedule — to actually come and attend the event, if they still want to see the main point of what was discussed.”

Smith said having a different form of attending events would allow for a larger audience that wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to stay on campus for events.

“I believe that it will widen the audience to include alumni, commuter students and community members that would not otherwise get to partake in the richness of events and lectures that PLU offers on a weekly basis,” Smith said.

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