One of the biggest changes that the Internet and World Wide Web brought to the world is the enabling of participation. Today, everybody can publish content, and everybody can access that content. But leaving aside cat videos and Instagram food pics for a moment, a closer look reveals that what is published is mostly textual content. Now, take a look at the events that take place in your city this week. There is a talk about Lean Startups, here is one presentation about urban farming, and there is another event on building your own robots. Wouldn’t it be so valuable if all these presentations were available online so that you could take part without having to go there?

That is the vision that the Shanghai start-up VastCast is working on. As Carsten Ullrich, one of the co-founders of VastCast explains, VastCast enables online access to presentations and lectures. Conference and event organizers as well as educational organizations can use VastCast to live-stream and record speakers and teachers, together with their presentations. The online audience views the presentations and the speakers using any browser and their mobile device (iPhone/iPad/Android).

VastCast was founded by Carsten Ullrich, Jiajun Wang and Weikai Xie, three scientists at the e-learning lab of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). The software has been used for several years at the School of Continuing Education of SJTU (SOCE), SJTU’s online college. Carsten explains that the 35,000 students of SOCE use the system to attend classes remotely whenever they cannot come to the classroom. “The students are part-time students, namely adults who have a job and family. They can not come to the classroom in person each and every time. Therefore, we use VastCast to live-stream the lectures while they are ongoing, and also to make them available as recordings afterward for rehearsal.” The college produces 4 GB of content every single day.

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Gang Lu

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.