BIBS: A Lecture Webcasting System

Lawrence A. Rowe, Diane Harley, and Peter Pletcher
Berkeley Multimedia Research Center
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

Shannon Lawrence
Center for Studies in Higher Education
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

The Berkeley Internet Broadcasting System (BIBS) is a lecture webcasting system developed and operated by the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center (BMRC). The system offers live remote viewing and on-demand replay of course lectures using streaming audio and video over the Internet. During the Spring 2001 semester 15 classes were webcast, including several large lower division classes, with a total enrollment of over 4,500 students. Lectures were played over 19,000 times per month during the semester. The primary use of the webcasts is to study for examinations. Students report they watch BIBS lectures because they did not understand material presented in lecture, because they wanted to review what the instructor said about selected topics, because they missed a lecture, and/or because they had difficulty understanding the speaker (e.g., non-native English speakers). Analysis of various survey data suggests that more than 50% of the students enrolled in some large classes view lectures and that as many as 75% of the lectures are played by members of the Berkeley community. Faculty attitudes vary about the virtues of lecture webcasting. Some question the use of this technology while others believe it is a valuable aid to education.

This report was written in response to a campus request to assess the costs and logistics of moving BIBS from BMRC to a permanently funded service organization on campus. That move was approved in the Summer of 2001. The system is now being integrated into the services that will be provided by the new Educational Services organization on campus that is being formed from the Instructional Technologies Program and the Office of Media Services.

Further information is available:

A detailed evaluation of the use of BIBS and other web-based educational material has been conducted on Chemistry 1A. More information on that aspect of the project is described in Digital Chemistry 1A: An Economic Analysis of Technology Enhancements in a Large Lecture Course at UC Berkeley.

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Last updated June 25, 2010.