For the past four years, webcasts have allowed BJU alumni, parents of students, and others who are interested to connect with campus events such as Bible Conference services, Artist Series programs and athletic events, without ever coming on campus.
At the start of each academic year, BJU identifies the events that will be webcast throughout that year. According to Mr. Philip Eoute, supervisor of Photo and Video, the big addition to the lineup this year has been the Bruins home games. “[They are] in some way in [their] infancy and will continue to develop and mature,” Eoute said.
The most watched webcasts are the Artist Series programs and the Christmas lighting ceremony, mostly because parents love viewing what their student is viewing and alumni enjoy seeing what they remember from their own college days.
Mr. Jeremy Hensley, senior manager of New Media, said, “[Watching webcasts] is a great way for parents to feel like they are a part of what is going on at the University while their [sons and daughters] are here.”
Webcast viewers have the opportunity to add their comments on the webcast page while they’re watching, and many do. Recently, parent Heidi A. Wentworth added her comment during the Georgia Guitar Quartet: “Watching from AZ. Wishing I were there with my freshman student right now! Thanks for sharing this broadcast as I can feel like I am with her!”
And Jennifer Campbell Upcott commented during the Christmas lighting ceremony. “Thanks, BJU! I would love to share [the songs], since we have a daughter there in the choir. Plus, I am just so proud of my alma mater.”
Hensley encouraged current students to be aware of upcoming webcasts and to let their families and friends know about them.
Hensley said the chat feature of the webcasts (located below the video) is becoming increasingly popular. Several BJU staff members answer questions and interact with the people “chatting” during the webcast, giving web viewers a unique element.
According to Eoute, they try to have a subject matter expert on the chat as well. For example, during the webcast of the Georgia Guitar Quartet, Dr. Darren Lawson, dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication, was a special guest chatter. Lawson also interviewed two guitar majors from the University during intermission for the webcast.
Hensley said when watching the chat, it’s fascinating to see where those who are tuning in are from. “You quickly realize this is reaching a global audience,” Hensley said.
Viewers have watched the webcasts from more than 100 countries and every continent — even Antarctica! Viewer Jack Knipe commented during the Christmas lighting ceremony: “I’m watching from an excavation site in Antarctica. This is surreal.”
Another webcast that has been popular and helpful to parents is the financial aid webcast, which is an online-only event organized by Mr. Kevin Delp, director of Financial Aid. Delp discusses financial aid opportunities available for students and explains the FAFSA process. Viewers can participate in the live instant message chat to ask questions while watching the webinar.
During performances, webcast viewers may occasionally notice that the audio goes out on certain musical selections, and a message appears saying, “Due to copyright…” According to Eoute, copyrights can be tricky because there are two dynamics: performers’ permission and restrictions on music that they’re performing.
Eoute said they have to locate who owns the copyright, which may be someone who wrote the words, the music itself or arranged the music.
In one chat post, Lawson explained to viewers, “We write the copyright owner and secure permission. In some cases, we pay a fee to use it. In other cases, the owner gives us permission but doesn’t charge us. Each case is different.”
Despite technical and legal inconveniences, the webcasts continue to grow in popularity. Additionally, videos and excerpts from previous webcasts are archived on new.livestream.com/bju.
Upcoming webcasts include the Symphonic Wind Band at 7 p.m. on April 13 and Commencement at 2 p.m. on May 3.