Revolutionizing Online Education in the Digital Age
A Combined Storage and Delivery Network that Can Deliver Under the Pressure of High Demand
In 2005, massive open online courses (MOOCs) were completely unheard of. But one online education company envisioned how digital channels would pave the way for the industry in the next decade and beyond. And they knew that they would need more than great content to succeed.
Martin Sitter, a veteran Apple Lead Educator and courseware designer now serving as the company’s CEO, founded NonLinear Educating, which operates macProVideo.com and AskVideo.com. Martin saw an incredible opportunity to channel his expertise at Apple into something previously unheard of: an entire online training library that would bring video based education to the masses.
According to Martin, “Video solved the problem of trying to teach people how audio is produced because learners could quickly see—and hear—the results. This brought about a fundamental shift in how people learned to use computers, which has gained mainstream acceptance over the last 10 years. We’ve been using Limelight to help us deploy our video content since the inception of our company. They have enabled us to scale our business significantly over the last decade.”
Fundamentally a technologist, Martin is most passionate about building and producing industry-leading deployment systems for his company’s educational content.
“When it comes to the deployment of online content, a lot of our customers are self-paced learners,” says Martin. “They may be using an iPad to study for a university class while taking a bus to school, or gaining extra job skills while killing some time at home in the evening. We step in and allow them to learn at their own pace, on their own time.”
Which, of course, requires video delivery, cloud storage, and content distribution systems that can deliver content at breakneck pace, anytime.
Martin observes, “When we started our business in February of 2005, the Internet was an entirely different place than it is today.” At that time, videos were the size of a thumbnail, and most consumers did not have the ability to stream high-definition video. In fact, they may not have even known that it was possible to view video online. Mail order DVDs were the prevailing method for distributing instructional content to a global audience.
NonLinear Educating offered a mail order DVD option, but Martin knew that the digital revolution would radically change his business model. He needed a distribution network that could handle the heavy traffic load of a rapidly expanding online customer base. He needed an online video player that had all the functionality of the physical players consumers were accustomed to, and he needed somewhere to store his bandwidth-intensive video library.
On the front end, NonLinear Educating wanted to create an elegant, easy-to-use interface for online users and their growing number of devices. But behind the scenes, says Martin, “It was a different animal.” How would the company build its own global infrastructure, reduce the capital expenditures associated with fixed storage costs, and assure high availability of content without overwhelming its technical teams?
To succeed, the company needed a partner that was as forward-thinking as its founder, as technologically advanced as its own offerings, and as global as its audience.