Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX 1.5 serves as foundation of online learning solution

SYDNEY, Australia – 6 May 2003 - Faced with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus outbreak, Hong Kong Baptist University turned to technology to keep students learning and able to attend virtual classes after the government shut down schools to contain the virus. With the help of Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX 1.5, classes that are open to public access are continuing for more than 6,500 students, while 60 schools are operating separate classes catering to the needs of their students.

"Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX 1.5 makes it possible to deliver multi-way audio, video, and real-time data to so many students at the same time, all streaming through the tiny Macromedia Flash Player on a student's PC," said Dr. Alex C.W. Fung, head of the education studies department and the school administration and management system training and research unit, Hong Kong Baptist University. "Instructors' lesson plans and learning materials are uploaded and stored on the server ready to use later during the real-time webcasts of each lesson. Teachers reduced content development time significantly by using Macromedia Flash MX to quickly convert all teachers' existing PowerPoint presentation files before uploading to VITLE."

Hong Kong Baptist University was already test-running the Virtual Integrated Teaching and Learning Environment (VITLE) using Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX and Macromedia ColdFusion MX within its campus, but the availability of Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX 1.5 made it possible to stream presentations and live audio and video to students across the territory. Macromedia, Microsoft, and other technology companies are providing software, support, and infrastructure to help this "Classes Suspended But Learning Continues" initiative using VITLE. Fung developed this improved version of VITLE using an ASP model with Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX 1.5. It was launched in two working days with the help of a Macromedia engineer to enable Hong Kong schools to use this unique e-learning solution.

"We're starting to see more and more examples of the Internet being used as a two-way communication medium," said Rob Burgess, chairman and CEO, Macromedia. "Hong Kong Baptist University has created a live virtual classroom where students are able to see the professor on the screen and literally conduct the class through this difficult time. It's a great example of the Internet delivering more than HTML experiences."

To see streaming video examples of VITLE in action, visit http://www.macromedia.com/go/vitle/. VITLE is available at http://www.iLearn.com.hk/.

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