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Educational technology organization formed

The Educational Media Creation Center, MIT Video Productions, and Streaming Media and Compression Services merged on July 1 and became a new organization called Academic Media Production Services. Reporting to Assistant Provost Vijay Kumar, AMPS will be the main multimedia production unit serving the MIT community.

AMPS will serve as a "one-stop shop" to bring instructional and web design, video production, and digitization and compression into one central organization. Its services for MIT faculty and programs include:

  • Production of video. MIT Video Productions, directed by Larry Gallagher, provides analog and digital video productions to the MIT community. It also is involved in the installation of modern facilities for distance education delivery.
  • Support for MIT clients utilizing video and/or audio digitization, compression and hosting in a variety of formats including MPEG-2, MPEG-1, RealMedia, Windows Media and QuickTime. The staff of Streaming Media and Compression Services led by David Mycue supports production and distribution of digital video content over the Internet.
  • Support for the development and production of web and multimedia applications through the Educational Media Creation Center, managed by Michael Barker. The center provides help in designing, creating and supporting web-based educational environments. It has recently launched the Open Knowledge Initiative to create an open source platform for learning management systems.

AMPS will be central to providing the platform for OpenCourseWare, putting the content for 500 courses up on the web over the next two years. The new organization will also play a major production role in the other new MIT programs.

"MIT is undertaking impressive, large-scale educational transformations through technology-enabled initiatives. An organization such as AMPS that aims to provide professional and financially efficient services to support faculty and academic programs is critical to the sustainable success of these initiatives," Kumar said.

"With the I-Campus and d'Arbeloff initiatives for technology-enabled education throughout the campus, both the production capabilities of AMPS and the research and development resources of the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives will be needed at greater levels of effort," said Provost Robert Brown. "OpenCouseWare, the Singapore-MIT Alliance and eventually the Cambridge- MIT Institute, Ltd. will bring even greater needs for professional production of web-based educational environments."

Richard Larson, director of the Center for Advanced Educational Studies (former home of MIT Video Productions and Streaming Media and Compression Services), said, "The Center for Advanced Educational Studies has grown from two business units to six since 1995. This step is a natural one for positioning MIT for growth and national leadership in these emerging domains."

AMPS is starting a search for an executive director to handle daily operations. An advisory group of faculty and administrators will provide strategic guidance to the organization.

All staff connected with the three units now merged into the new organization will remain in Building 9 and can be reached at the same phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

For further information, contact Bill Fitzgerald, assistant director for administration and finance for AMPS, at x3-3171 or

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 18, 2001.

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