South Dakota State University


SDSU Creates a Student-Centered Learning Media Portal



Re-imagining innovative technologies is an ongoing opportunity within actively growing educational institutions. In early 2012, a dedicated team at South Dakota State University (SDSU) focused on implementing learning-based media and instructional design services, made the decision to invest their efforts towards creating a web portal that students and faculty members could use to interact with assets and curriculum. How would this new environment affect the day to day lives of future scholars and innovative educators? SDSU enlisted the services of EnterMedia to find out.



Armed with forward thinking staff and ambitious ideas, SDSU is a leader in the interactive learning movement. They have been honored as one of the top active learning programs, among the world’s top companies and universities. Their Active Learning Cloud platform was acknowledged and honored by EMG (Elearning! Media Group).

“I noticed the change in student expectations even this year compared to last — incoming SDSU students are using more and more mobile computing devices, from laptops to iPads to Slate tablets, sometimes to access web-based tools or applications that are no longer housed locally on their own computers or on some other university computer.”
– Dr. Shouhong Zhang, Manager Instructional Design Services, South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University’s vision was to offer engaging learning tools and assets pertaining to studies and lectures through the internet. A flexible and adaptable platform would be necessary in order to meet SDSU’s expectations and requirements for a successful deployment. Previous experience with building DAM tools for Harvard Business School and other universities qualified EnterMedia as an ideal candidate.

“This is a new generation of students,” Zhang said. “For them, it’s all about being mobile.”

The Challenge

SDSU is a university focused on providing their students and faculty with the most supportive and interactive hybrid learning resources. They contacted EnterMedia with expectations of working together to strategically centralize and share their digital assets. SDSU sought learning tools that would enable students and faculty to access video lectures and other related classroom files. The creation of a custom environment based on the existing library feature set was prioritized. SDSU requested that the software permissions ensure students can only view assets associated with their enrolled courses, keeping the display of digital assets fully organized and specifically catered to each user.

“We did a very comprehensive comparison of the products in the market – commercial and open source ones. EnterMedia won us because of its user interface, cost, support, and customization. We ran several media servers (MS, Real, Apple, Flash) prior to adopting EnterMedia. The support and user interface of those applications were not satisfactory.”
– Dr. Shouhong Zhang at South Dakota State University

The Solution

EnterMedia worked closely with SDSU to associate student usernames with course libraries to ensure a custom, unique experience for each individual. A public access area was also built, which provides general information for prospective students, and the general public. Through this portal, anyone can learn about the university’s updates. SDSU places high value on innovative learning tools to ensure current and future students are given every resource available to succeed.

SDSU Learning Portal

SDSU Learning Portal


SDSU remains ahead of the learning curve. Within a document that outlines their mission, “The Active Learning Cloud Plan Summary” states that South Dakota State University intends to address every obstacle that the current generation faces within education and the advancement of technology. From this research, the university was able to begin formulating a plan to clear any remaining hurdles that stand between their students and educational excellence.

According to EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, there are five obstacles within education for Gen Y:

  1. Creating learning environments that promote active learning, critical thinking, collaborative learning, and knowledge creation.
  2. Developing 21st century literacy (information, digital, and visual) among students and faculty.
  3. Reaching and engaging today’s learner.
  4. Encouraging faculty adoption and innovation in teaching and learning with IT.
  5. Advancing innovation in teaching and learning with technology in an era of budget cuts.

South Dakota State University recognized an area for improvement, envisioned a plan, and teamed up with EnterMedia to make these goals a reality. When it comes to open source digital asset management within a university, customization proves essential. EnterMedia was able to engineer the core features, secure permissions to assets based on university credentials, and produce an active learning portal. This ensures both inclusion and privacy, based on the educational path of each student. This environment allows effective, personalized teaching and learning to occur by providing a way for each student to access a plethora of digital assets pertaining to their course of study.


“When working with their support and development team, we see they are willing to help, competent, professional, and open-minded. We’re their happy customer! We’ve used it for 3 years now. Our users are very pleased with the service and interface.”

“Our faculty and students are very happy with our own YouTube! It’s so easy to use it and is completely browser based like YouTube. It empowers users to manage their digital assets for classes in the cloud. EnterMedia’s support team is prompt to take care of issues and listen to our needs. Just tell them what you need, they will give you the solution!”
– Dr. Shouhong Zhang