Live-streaming the Dream: UM-Flint’s 2012 Spring Commencement

Commencement is always a big day for content on a college campus. Traditionally, a Commencement day at the University of Michigan-Flint will see a spike in social media traffic. April 29, 2012 was no exception. But this post isn’t about Facebook visitors or Flickr photo views.

The real story this year is this: The 2012 Spring Commencement ceremonies were the first ever to be live-streamed on the web. After years of trial and error, and with the help of the very determined staff from Mediated Classroom Services, the stars aligned and UM-Flint’s Commencement was opened up to a world-wide audience.

I could list for you all of the reasons that a live-stream of Commencement is so important to a university community, especially a university with such a diverse international population. Instead, I offer you this note received by University Relations the week after Commencement.

I just wanted to tell you that my family back home in India was so very happy to be able to see my commencement ceremony online. For some reasons they were not able to make it to the US for my graduation, but they were so excited and proud to have watched this moment live! My mother has asked me specially to contact those who made this possible and I thought you would be the best person for that. Thank you so very much for enabling this feature and making our graduation a memory of a lifetime. Please continue this feature for us international students and for others who have family in other parts of America.

On April 29, the live-stream of Commencement was viewed in 15 countries, including India, Oman, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Syria, Canada, Germany, Austria, Thailand, Switzerland, and Ghana. In addition, there were over 500 viewers from within the United States. Because Commencement was available online, a brand new audience was able to join in the excitement of the day and celebrate the accomplishments of the newest class of UM-Flint alumni.

And I’m so glad to have been part of it.

Alaina Wiens
New Media Communications Specialist