How three institutions are championing collaboration through interactive and streaming video across the academic world.

video-universities-onlineIntegrate with your LMS, go mobile-friendly and, above all, make sure it’s user-friendly.

These were just three common must-haves when implementing a video platform across campus, cited by three massive universities during Internet2’s 2015 Global Summit on the topic “Collaboration through interactive and streaming video across the academic world.”

Purdue University, Arizona State University, and University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill all utilize different video platforms, but their basic requirements are the same: integrate with the university LMS, allow for all device, have a user-friendly structure, and allow for collaboration on campus and off-campus.

“We knew that it had to be easy to use,” emphasized Adam Hagen, educational technologist for Purdue University, main campus. “If you give somebody a complicated, convoluted product, your chances for successful adoption are going to be slim-to-none. We also had a need for integration with multiple platforms. Primarily, it had to work with our central LMS, which is Blackboard Learn, but also with the other systems on campus that are being used, including mobile devices. And we wanted to be able to have analytics and reporting so we could see what is going on.”

(Next page: Choices made and reasons why by the 3 universities)

Purdue University

“For the past several years we’ve been going through a campus-wide redesign initiative, and now video has become a big part of it,” said Hagen.

During the Fall 2012 semester, Purdue launched what Hagen calls an “open pilot,” allowing any vendor to pilot their video platform by enabling the use of the video building block for Blackboard Learn.

Hagen’s team installed the SharePoint 2010 plugin and turned on Kaltura’s MediaSpace on-premise, with the idea that the pilot was essentially “going to flip all the light switches on and not limit who can use it. We let people run with it,” he explained.

Hagen’s team also decided to modify Blackboard Learn training sessions already available by integrating Kaltura how-to sessions. The University then ran articles promoting the video tech in campus newspapers, and mentioned Kaltura within user groups.

After starting the pilot, usage exploded, he said. In the first semester, Purdue had almost 1,300 entries played over 22,000 times, with over 2,000 hours of video streamed. In the spring semester, the number of entries doubled, and the number of plays tripled. As of press time, there were over 44,000 video entries that were played over 1,200,000 times, with over 103,500 hours of video streamed; Purdue uses approximately 28 TB of streaming and storage, and almost 12 percent of all available courses are using Kaltura.

Hagen attributes the high usage to faculty and student satisfaction, which, according to a recent Purdue survey using a 5-point indication scale, doesn’t measure below a 3 at any indicator (i.e. ease-of-use, ability to collaborate with students, seamless viewing, etc.).

“Our faculty and our staff have found creative ways to distribute video content and use it in ways that we might never have imagined,” he notes. “One example is our American Sign Language department. They’ve taken full advantage of the integration with Learn and the fact that you can use the mash-up option any place that there’s a text editor, and they’ve integrated videos into their quizzes and tests.”

He also said that the University’s communications students are using the technology for reflective practice. “They are able to record videos and almost instantaneously see, ‘How did I perform and where is the room for improvement?’ Our pharmacy students have a requirement to work in our pharmacy on campus, with real customers coming in and out. When a customer walks up to the pharmacy counter, there is a sensor pad on the floor that triggers a camera. The students can later watch the video to see, ‘How is my customer service? How are my interactions with the customers changing over time?’ That’s a unique learning experience.”

Purdue also has multiple departments doing quick video intros and instruction on the fly, as well as a large number of flipped classrooms. Professors can also see analytics on student viewing (who’s watching and when), incorporate assignments with videos, and incorporate tests that can be graded.

“Video creation can also be completed in a myriad of ways,” he explained. “Users can apply the Kaltura screen recorder, use webcam recordings, or use Camtasia. They can also use Video Express, which is a self-service video production studio with a green screen and web portal for video access. Using Video Express, users can share and upload video to Kaltura.”

Hagen said that the platform allows faculty to share video with colleagues within and outside of the Purdue community, as well as collaborate on video-related projects that are both campus-wide and department-specific.

Going forward, Hagen says the University is in good shape, since their current deployment allows them to add or develop additional integrations as they are needed, such as web conferencing and a new Canvas pilot.

(Next page: UNC and Arizona State University’s video implementations)

UNC-Chapel Hill

“Our university faculty believe video content stimulates discussions and increases student motivation,” said Morgon Haskell, tech support specialist at the University. “And one of the main reasons why we wanted to integrate video is to spur these discussions and motivations within our STEM courses; specifically by allowing students to demonstrate lab and safety procedures, allow for lecture capture, and make orientation videos.

Just like Purdue, Haskell emphasized that integration with the University’s LMS (Sakai) was a critical must-have. The University now has 1 TB of video and audio in the LMS.

UNC-Chapel Hill chose MediaCore’s video platform, mainly because the platform allows for organization and customization, as well as the ability to measure usage analytics (a critical component for all three university video platforms).

“We needed a secure and reliable platform that had authentication options that was mobile- and user-friendly, allowed for interactivity and social tools, and was also compliant with disability regulations,” said Haskell. “MediaCore’s platform gives us the opportunity to have the broadest engagement across campus for teaching and learning.”

As of the beginning of April 2015, the University has 329 video assets, 111 GB, usage within 25 courses, and over 1,900 user accounts.

“What’s interesting is that most of the videos within the platform are from TED, YouTube, and Vimeo, but MediaCore makes sure to sanitize public comments and inappropriate content, which we like,” he noted.

However, according to Haskell, almost half of the videos uploaded to MediaCore are produced by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and admin, and include a wide range of video—everything from 15-minute course shorts to orientation videos.

He also noted that faculty and students say they most appreciate the platform’s discussion board for videos, as well as the ability to upload attachments with the videos.

Arizona State University (ASU)

Charles Kazilek, vice provost for technology and technical director of the W.M. Keck Bioimaging Laboratory in the School of Life Sciences at ASU, said that the University’s decision to implement a video platform was a direct result of enabling highly functional virtual classrooms.

“We chose Vidyo because of its multifaceted desktop virtual conferencing abilities,” he explained. “The platform was a fraction of the cost of traditional conference tools, is OS agnostic, works with a standard mediated classroom or standard smart board, works with consumer-grade web cameras and microphones, integrates with multiple devices, is encrypted for security, and provides conference recording and broadcasting.”

Kazilek emphasized that having encrypted security was especially important, as ASU works with the U.S. Department of Defense and the healthcare industry–meaning that the University must be HIPAA and other security regulations-compliant.

“We first tested this technology by going on a scientific mission to study the tropical forest of Barro Colorado Island, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. And we weren’t disappointed,” he said.

Kazilek explained that using Vidyo’s virtual conferencing platform allowed researchers on the island and at the Institute to communicate seamlessly with biology classes at ASU.

ASU is also using the virtual conferencing platform to synchronously teach a course on sustainable cities of the future with Leuphana University in Germany; conduct science projects with under-served K-12 classrooms in Arizona, California, and Texas; and allow ASU students to broadcast sessions on important topics, an example of which includes ASU athletes conducting health seminars to the Phoenix community.

“We really wanted to engage students with high-definition video that takes them to where science is being done,” he said. “In the future, I’d like all institutions to use desktop video conferencing as the norm for communication.”

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