Media Space Milestone

Author: Zara Odafe
Zara is a student employee with Technology Services and is a junior at Illinois majoring in Communications.

Graphic of girl sitting at desk
Image by jcomp on Freepik

Illinois Media Space has reached one million uploads. Media Space is a YouTube-like content-sharing application that Illinois faculty, staff, and students use to facilitate the educational mission of the university. Media Space content consists of podcasts with alumni, recorded lectures, student council meetings, former President Obama’s university speech, and more. It is a space where content can be accessed and shared within the campus community. This Media Space upload milestone proves that this partnership has brought a great impact on the community. 

Media Space is hands-on software that anyone with basic computer knowledge can use. Staff can use Media Space to share marketing videos, student-assisting content, and guest speakers. It’s a platform that can work well across multiple devices. “Media Space simplifies production. I set my Zoom to record to the cloud and it saves it to [my] Media Space. From there, I can share access to the recording with a student worker who makes the edits,” explained Jean Drasgow, Director of Career Service. 

Media Space’s user-friendliness assists with students’ retention of a course and a professors’ lessons. For example, a biology professor can request their students to explain a concept through video format and upload it to the platform. In addition, features like playback speed, connection to Blackboard and Canvas, closed-captioning, and other virtual classroom features allow students to be more engaged with their online learning experience. Media space makes college learning accessible to students around the country and world, many of whom have to deal with large time differences. 

“I first heard about Media Space during the fall semester of my freshman year. We were using it to watch videos for one of our lectures. I use Media Space [now] to stay caught up with my classes. It has really helped me with my academics–with Media Space, I am able to speed up, slow down, or rewind what my teachers are saying in their lectures, unlike real-time!” exclaimed Sara Marks, a sophomore in Advertising. The University of Illinois is bringing in a generation of students that grew up with video content through many social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Video content is becoming a crucial part of Gen-Z students’ learning, and Media Space provides an avenue to grow in that. The growth of Media Space is not surprising, and the future success of the application will be determined by the creative, forward-thinking minds at the University of Illinois. 

Media Space was piloted in the Fall of 2013/Spring of 2014 and was made more widely available in the Fall of 2014. Scott Cimarusti, manager of Teaching and Learning Technology at Technology Services, recalled memories of the university before Media Space. “The Grainger College of Engineering had its own video platform. Theirs was more of a closed system–all the hardware was tied together. Media Space is much more open,” said Cimarusti. The simplicity of Media Space allowed the university to leverage the platform during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020. According to Alan Bilansky, eLearning professional and Media Space primary administrator, “The university had to put all their videos up. The service was robust enough to handle it, and the university faculty knew how to work it.” The history of Media Space’s reliability proves why this platform reached its one million upload milestone. Media Space is an online video space where innovative learning and the university mission can be explored.