TitleMontanaPBS LearningMedia Request Date2012-11-30
RequestorChristin Seifert Phone994.6217
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts We propose that MontanaPBS LearningMedia, a service that links university research and teaching practices with the larger education community, will find a foothold in every college and every institution across Montana. We will connect with researchers to develop short video pieces that a classroom teacher can use in the classroom and easily access on-line for free. We will use media students to develop the short pieces. We will collaborate with educators to develop ancillary materials needed in their classrooms. We will capture excellent teaching practices and demonstrations. We will work with Extension so resources developed for the agricultural community are easily accessible. We will showcase original student work that can be used in other learning environments. Plus, we will brand every resource with the MSU brand…users will know that information developed at our universities and colleges is meant to be used in classrooms or homes throughout the nation.
Proposed Dates Start: March 2013 End:  
MontanaPBS LearningMedia provides a means to transform a wide variety of research and professional resources from our University system into “assets” that classroom teachers, homeschooling parents, other researchers, or students can easily access for free. We propose taking those University resources, particularly research, and translating them into short video clips, audio, graphics, or PDFs that others can use in a wide variety of settings. We have the capability and server space, but we are seeking funding for staff to manage content, curation, metadata and technological requirements as well as funds to produce the assets.
We see that this effort addresses two specific strategic objectives – increasing outreach and working cross-discipline. In order to be successful we need complementary collaboration with every discipline in order to disseminate great information. We will translate current research into pieces that are usable in classrooms across the state, but we will only be successful because we seek collaboration from the entire university population.

Objective E.1: Strategically increase service, outreach and engagement
We would like to bridge the gap between the research and academic pursuits within the University system and new end users of that information. We seek to translate research into classroom assets for both formal and informal learning settings. Working with researchers and the instructional staff, we want to capture key findings and translate them into usable assets that other educators can use "turn-key" in their own settings.

Objective I.2: Increase work across disciplines
In order to fulfill Objective E.1, we must make use of the wide variety of talent our University system provides. Research can be broken into individual components which can be used elsewhere but it requires that the researcher cross lines - work with a videographer to make a four minute clip, explain to a graphic artist how to illustrate a research outcome, utilize a technical writer who can produce a background essay that explains the concept in non-research terms. Those people, in turn, must work with educators to determine how a teacher might use the information, prepare lesson plans for implementation, or assign common core standards. Then, all must be in formats that can be uploaded into the MontanaPBS LearningMedia framework and assigned tags that make them easy to find.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries       40000      1.0 
Benefits       12800       
Materials & Supplies              
Travel       8000       
Contracted Services              
Capital         20000     
Other Operations              
TOTAL 60800  20000    1.0 
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

Capital costs will be those associated with start-up and used for asset production:  one HD camera, software, and editing equipment. 

Base funding will be for a project manager to manage and produce assets. We anticipate being able to seek external funding after we establish procedures and processes throughout the University system.  

Describe the Proposal

MontanaPBS LearningMedia:  connecting research to the classroom

PBS nationally has been developing a web-based repository of PBS videos that can be used in the classrooms across the United States.  These aren't the hour long documentaries that appear on air, but short videos that a teacher can use in his or her classroom.  Need a video of how the brain works?  We have that.  Need to see inside a volcano?  We have that. But these are things the typical classroom teacher can’t reproduce.

MontanaPBS will be using this same system to disseminate its videos, but we want to extend this effort further by taking research done on Montana campuses, developing video or graphics that highlight some of that research, and turn it into a resource for other  teachers to  use in their own research or in their own classrooms.  Does Dave Sands have an explanation for how snow forms?  Yes, and it has been turned into a five-minute video that explains the concept concisely.  Now a teacher can show that video in the classroom and, voila, 30 students see how snow crystals are formed.  They do not need the full academic paper, they just need a piece of the research….and they can find it on MontanaPBS LearningMedia by conducting an easy search by keyword, topic, grade level, or curriculum. 

But this means that MontanaPBS can

1) access the research,

2) work with the researcher to find the key components that others may use (what is unique about the research or findings),

3) transform that information into something easily used in a classroom,

4) upload that resource into the LearningMedia framework complete with metadata that makes it easily searchable,

5) connect that resource to other pertinent information – lesson plans, related lessons, common core standards, and

6) make it easy, enjoyable, useful, accurate.

 Many research grants are now requiring an outreach component.  Seasoned researchers are familiar with the academic world of presenting papers and publishing as the means of disseminating results.  What has been lacking is support in bridging the gap between research outreach and the larger education community, both in development of outreach materials, and a platform for delivering those materials.  Classroom teachers or homeschooling parents probably won’t use an entire research paper in a classroom setting, but they may be able to use portions – a formula, a graph, a chart, or a video.  These portions need to be linked to the common core standards by which teachers craft their curriculum.

We propose to use MontanaPBS LearningMedia to bridge research findings from MSU research to usable assets for PreK-16 teachers.  That means anyone doing research in any STEM-related or education-related field would be a potential contributor.  Traditionally, findings are presented at conferences or in journals.  We propose to take, not the formal findings, but pieces of the research and adapt them into resources that can be used in the classroom.  For example, a mathematics researcher develops a theorem that high school trig teachers would be interested in using.  We translate that formula and how it is applied into a three minute video that can be used in classrooms throughout the US.  Then we can link it to the full work or lesson plans.  As researchers are doing research, a producer would work with them to glean the pieces that others could use. The producer would translate or develop resources based on their findings (video, audio files, graphics, demonstrations, PDFs, etc.) into effective assets for classroom teachers or homeschoolers to use in their teaching environments.

There is also the potential for uploading pieces of non-research related lectures or presentations that could be used in other educational settings.  One example might be a physics professor who does an incredible demonstration of aeronautical theory – a demonstration that a classroom teacher or homeschooling parent might not be able to recreate. We video the demonstration and make a three minute clip, we develop a potential lesson plan, we link the demonstration to common core standards and other related resources.  A teacher then can take any or all of these parts for use in his or her individual setting – teachers may not need an entire lesson plan.

There is potential to expand this process throughout the Montana State University system…most of our research could easily be used in other classrooms.  This is a proposal to take the assets that are produced at our university and make them available to virtually anyone.  Doing this is technologically fairly easy – MontanaPBS LearningMedia has the web space available, and has the capability to upload almost anything.  We do not, however, have the personnel to do this right now and our request is for the support to be able to work with researchers (this would need a project manager), produce an asset that teachers can use (graphics or video producers), link the asset to more resources, and attach common core standards.

Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

MontanaPBS LearningMedia presents an opportunity to build and strengthen ties between MSU and many other state education partners. The MontanaPBS LearningMedia steering committee includes representatives from the Office of Public Instruction, the University of Montana, the State School Administrators Association, MEA-MFT, the Montana State Library, the Montana Historical Society, and others. This project leverages a tremendous resource and platform developed nationally by public broadcasting to better serve Montanans, by aggregating Montana resources in one place, archiving them for future use, and creating rich new content from the research and creativity activities at MSU and elsewhere in the Montana University System.

Our proposal takes the research done in the University setting, or a demonstration presented in one of our classrooms, and makes it something another teacher can use in his or her classroom.  It gets great information to an end user in a form that is easy  to access, understand, and use.  It can take our university into virtually any classroom in the state.  We would make certain to brand every single asset with the MUS brand so anyone using it knows it came from Montana research.

Our proposal also builds bonds across disciplines – designers would know what Extension is doing, for example, as they work together to produce a final product that is accurate, understandable, and easy to access.  A translator would learn about what goes on in an engineering classroom as they translate the demonstration into Japanese. 

Implementation Plan

March 2013:

hire project manager, buy editing software and equipment, buy camera

April 2013

project manager to become familiar with metadata requirements, establish relationship with PBS LearningMedia managers

April-August 2013:

use existing resources (video from MontanaPBS, the Dave Sands snow video on YouTube, Montana Mosaics video from the Montana Historical Society) to produce assets to use as examples for when we begin to talk to researchers and classroom instructors.

project manager to become familiar with common core standards

 September - October 2013:

present the LearningMedia concept to deans across campus so they can guide us to the one or two most likely collaborators in their departments

October - December 2013:

work with researchers and instructors to determine what assets will be produced first

work with researchers to fine-tune what information is appropriate for LearningMedia

work with videographers or graphics partners to design appropriate presentation type

 January-February 2014:

produce and upload assets and ancillary materials, with metadata, into LearningMedia

 From March 2014:

continuous contact with researchers and teachers to develop assets

presenting LearningMedia at teacher meetings, school districts, teacher conferences

From Summer 2014:

dontinue production of LearningMedia assets

expand the LearningMedia concept to other campuses 

reevaluate personnel needs, seek outside funding




Assessment Plan

We have a stellar steering committee already with representatives from the Montana Digital Academy, the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the School Administrators of Montana, MEA/MFT, the Montana Historical Society, the Montana Library, and others. 

We will be demonstrating MontanaPBS LearningMedia at teacher trainings, homeschooling conferences, and in workshops across the state and will followup with attendees on effectiveness.

We believe we will need one year to establish ties with the necessary MSU partners, establish protocols with PBS for content submission, and build support and awareness in the larger education community. As the “product” is already viable, with over 20,000 nationally produced resources  online, marketing can begin immediately as we work to build a broad user base. Assessment in the initial year of operation will be based on establishing a suitably high level of user registration, as well as a number of “pilot” projects.  By the end of the initial year, we plan to have developed the cross-disciplinary bonds enough to have produced and uploaded at least two assets that are research based, two assets demonstrating great teaching at MSU, two assets that can be used by Montana citizens (we are specifically thinking about resources from Extension that can be used by the agricultural community), and two from the Native American community.

In year two, the project emphasis will be on userbase growth, expansion of production capabilities, and development of a suitable methodology for future work.

By year three, the project should be ready to expand beyond MSU to other university campuses.

If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

MontanaPBS sees LearningMedia as part of a strategic move to expand educational media services beyond broadcast. We do not view this as a finite project, but a strategic shift toward developing purpose-built educational content for educators.

If the concept, platform, or ability to build and leverage MSU research in this way do not meet expectations, the position funded through this request could be eliminated. This project relies heavily on leveraging existing support and technology from MontanaPBS, so winding down this particular effort can be done with relative ease. That said, we are committed to improving our educational services, to supporting the mission of MSU and the MUS, and to building stronger ties between higher education and the larger education community in Montana. It is our intention to see that this project succeeds and becomes a valuable service for MSU researchers and the Montana education community.

Department Head: Eric Hyyppa (
Executive/VP: Thomas Calcagni (