Top Considerations in Choosing the Right Video Platform for Your Institution
As colleges and institutions consider enterprise video platforms, there are several key considerations that can help guide the decision-making process.
- Functionality and Features
Before committing to a video platform, it’s important to dive into its core features. What functionalities does it offer for live streaming and on-demand content? Does it facilitate interactive elements within videos, such as quizzes and discussions? Understanding the breadth and depth of a platform’s capabilities ensures that it aligns with the needs of administrators, faculty and students.
- Integration and Compatibility
The integration of a video platform into existing educational technologies is critical to its success within your institution. Ensure you understand how easily it can be incorporated into your Learning Management System (LMS) and whether it supports single sign-on (SSO) for streamlined access. Compatibility with various devices and operating systems ensures a seamless and inclusive user experience.
“Assessing a platform’s scalability can help you determine if it can accommodate future growth, which also helps keep disruptions at bay during peak usage periods.”
Universities are dynamic ecosystems with fluctuating user numbers and content volumes. Assessing a platform’s scalability can help you determine if it can accommodate future growth, which also helps keep disruptions at bay during peak usage periods.
- Security and Privacy
In an era of heightened cybersecurity concerns, protecting user data is non-negotiable for higher ed institutions. When you evaluate a video platform, ask about security measures and whether/how it complies with data protection regulations. Ensuring robust security features and privacy controls is essential for maintaining the trust of both students and faculty.
Accessibility is a cornerstone of modern education. Does the platform adhere to accessibility standards, providing features like closed captions and transcripts? Ensuring that the platform caters to diverse learning needs contributes to an inclusive learning environment.
- Technical Support and Training
A video platform is only as good as the support system behind it. What level of technical support is available, and how responsive is the support team? Is total user support included, or do users have to funnel their concerns through a dedicated person? Also, ask whether the vendor provides one-time or ongoing training to maximize the platform’s potential. A strong support and training infrastructure ensures a positive user experience.
- Analytics and Reporting
Analytics tools are invaluable for gauging the effectiveness of the platform. What metrics can be tracked to measure user engagement and performance? Can the platform generate reports on student progress? Comprehensive analytics empower educators to refine their teaching strategies and enhance the learning experience.
- Cost and Licensing
As with any software or service your institution uses, understanding the pricing structure is essential for budgeting purposes. Are there hidden costs that may arise either upfront or over time? Does the platform offer flexible licensing options tailored to the university’s specific needs? A transparent cost structure ensures budget alignment and helps institutions avoid unexpected costs.
- Future Development and Roadmap
A forward-looking approach involves examining the platform’s future development plans. When you evaluate a video platform vendor, check out their updates and new features. How responsive is the company to user feedback? A company committed to continuous improvement and innovation is more likely to provide a platform that evolves with the ever-changing educational landscape.
Making an Informed Decision
Colleges and universities looking to deploy an enterprise video platform must carefully evaluate the available options. By addressing these considerations and asking questions, leaders can make informed decisions that align with their institutional needs, ultimately enriching the learning experience for all.
The Importance of Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that not only acknowledges the diversity of learners but actively embraces it. In this blog, we delve into what UDL is and explore its importance in higher education.
“UDL enables institutions to create learning environments where every student can thrive.”
A Brief History of the Universal Design for Learning
“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) emerged from the architectural concept of universal design,” according to OCALI, a project of the Educational Service Center for Central Ohio. “Ron Mace, North Carolina State University, envisioned universal design as a means to promote the design of products and environments that would appeal to all people, yet meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide access for individuals with disabilities.”
From the architectural design concept, the educational concept was born. At its core, Universal Design for Learning is an educational framework focused on accommodating the diverse needs and preferences of all learners. UDL strives to design learning experiences that cater to a broad spectrum of students, irrespective of their backgrounds, abilities, or learning styles.
The key principles of UDL are:
- Multiple Means of Representation: Providing information in various formats, such as text, audio, video, and images, to accommodate diverse learning preferences.
- Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Allowing students to demonstrate their understanding through diverse methods, such as written assignments, presentations, or multimedia projects.
- Multiple Means of Engagement: Fostering engagement by offering various ways for students to connect with the content, including choices in topics, activities, and assessments.
Why UDL Matters in Higher Education
Institutions of higher education strive to serve students from diverse backgrounds. UDL can support this mission by:
Helping Educate a Diverse Student Population: Colleges and universities welcome students from various backgrounds, cultures, and with a variety of learning preferences and abilities. UDL recognizes and values this diversity, ensuring that educational materials and activities are accessible to everyone. UDL allows educators to present information and assess understanding in ways that resonate with various learning styles, optimizing the learning experience for all.
Creating Inclusive Classrooms: Implementing UDL principles creates inclusive classrooms where every student feels valued and included. This fosters a positive learning environment that benefits the entire academic community. By acknowledging that one size does not fit all and providing multiple means of representation, action, and engagement, educators can better meet the needs of each student.
Preparing Learners to Enter Diverse Workplaces: In a globalized world, diversity and inclusion are not only ethical imperatives but also crucial for success in professional settings. UDL equips students with the skills of adaptability and inclusivity, preparing them for diverse workplaces.
Meeting Legal and Ethical Imperatives: Many countries have laws and regulations that mandate equal access to education for all individuals, including those with disabilities. UDL helps institutions fulfill these legal requirements and goes beyond by embracing inclusivity as an ethical imperative.
Implementing UDL in Higher Education
To support Universal Design for Learning in Higher education, institutions must provide training and professional development opportunities. Workshops, seminars, and ongoing support can help faculty members integrate UDL principles into their teaching practices.
In addition, it’s imperative that institutions build accessibility into the creation of course content. This includes providing alternative formats for content, captions for videos, and using technologies that support diverse needs.
Finally, it’s important to offer a variety of assessment methods to learners, which allows students to showcase their understanding in ways that align with their strengths.
In higher education, UDL enables institutions to create learning environments where every student can thrive. By implementing UDL principles, educators contribute to a more inclusive, adaptable, and compassionate academic community.
How Transcoding Helps Make Video Content Available to All
Behind the scenes is a complex process known as transcoding, which enables creators to allow quality adjustments to fit different devices and connection speeds. The benefit is that learners or viewers don’t have to miss out regardless of how they consume content.
Figuring out the Basics: First, the system looks at the details of your file, including the file type, how clear the picture is, and what kind of technology was used to create it.
Choosing the Right Translator: Then, it picks the best way to translate your file for what you want. This process could be compared to choosing the right language translator for a specific conversation.
Making the Translation: Next, the file is translated using the chosen method. During this process, unnecessary data is removed to make the file smaller, but the quality remains good.
Creating the New File: The system then puts together a new file that’s ready to work on the device or platform you want to use. The new version will be a perfect fit for where you want it to play.
With transcoding, you have a new file with the right settings needed for a great viewing or listening experience.
Transcoding is constantly happening in the background, which allows viewers to have a good experience, free of things like continuous buffering. If you’re live streaming or provide video-on-demand, transcoding improves performance by creating multiple versions optimized for devices and network conditions. It adapts video content to suit the viewer’s device, network conditions, and preferences, optimizing the user experience.
- Quality Adjustment: Transcoding allows you to adjust the quality of your video to suit different viewing scenarios. You can create high-quality versions for big screens and lower-quality versions for mobile devices or slower internet connections
- Reduced Buffering: By adjusting the video’s bitrate in real-time based on the viewer’s internet speed, transcoding minimizes buffering and ensures a seamless viewing experience. This is especially critical for live-streaming events where buffering can lead to missed moments.
- Content Delivery: Transcoding can be used to prepare your video for efficient delivery through content delivery networks, allowing viewers worldwide to access your content quickly and reliably.
- Storage Savings: Transcoding reduces the storage space required for your video files. You can store a single high-quality master copy and generate lower-quality versions on the fly when needed.
Case Study: How a Top UK University, Anglia Ruskin University, Made the Switch to YuJa to Serve Students Across Five Campuses With a Comprehensive Video Platform
Anglia Ruskin has thousands of instructors at its campuses. The institution wanted an easy-to-use platform that integrates with both the Canvas Learning Management System and Microsoft Teams, and that enables both students and instructors to create, distribute, submit, and assess media content.
When it was time to reevaluate Anglia Ruskin’s media offering, Jason Williams, a media specialist at Anglia Learning and Teaching, Abbeygate House, ARU, was part of the group that went to tender and tested video platforms. “I’d seen YuJa before and was very impressed with it,” Williams said. “We thoroughly tested everything and YuJa came out on top with the most tools that fit the things we wanted.”
Case Study: How Parkland College Creates a Connected, Engaging Learning Environment for its 20,000 Students With the YuJa Enterprise Video Platform
Lori Wendt, an instructional technology specialist at the institution, led the charge to find a new ed-tech solution.
Wendt has a unique perspective both on what instructors want and need, as in addition to her technology role, she has been a part-time faculty member for more than 15 years.
“I’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of tools over the years, and I can relate to how faculty use technology,” she said, adding that accessibility features like auto-captioning have become increasingly important.
As the institution evaluated tools, YuJa stood out. “YuJa had all the key features we were looking for,” Wendt said.
8 Ways to Expand Video in Education Using the YuJa Video Platform
Video-based learning helps strengthen the knowledge transfer and makes distance-based learning more comprehensive and accessible to all. Video is effective as a stand-alone educational tool or as a supporting aid, making it an essential part of the learning process.
To help you use video more effectively, we’ve outlined some of the ways a video platform can benefit your institution.
VIDEO CONTENT MANAGEMENT
With hundreds of hours of video and digital content being created, educational institutions need a way to manage and organize their media.
A Video CMS (Content Management System) makes it easy to securely host and manage multiple types of content in the cloud. A Video CMS also can connect to your Learning Management System (LMS) to enable video within the LMS for lecture capture or online course deployment.
By centralizing all video and digital assets, it’s easier for students to locate and watch the specific content they need.
One of the most popular ways that video is utilized at educational institutions is lecture capture. Lecture capture systems make it possible to capture the full lecture experience. In other words, a lecture capture solution captures video of the instructor and any accompanying devices, such as a screen share or documents shared during the lecture.
Lecture capture should be able to be ad hoc or planned, making it easy for the instructor to initiate video, and should capture all types of devices, from a desktop computer to a laptop, tablet and even mobile phones.
In a flipped classroom, the lecture portion of the class takes place outside the classroom with the support of video. Instructors can record their lecture at home or in the classroom and share it with students for viewing anytime. No matter where instructors are recording, it should be easy for instructors to fire up a recording and pause when needed.
A flipped classroom also gives students easier access to help and likely leads to fewer frustrations among students when getting stuck. With more time available for human interaction, everyone wins. This opens up classroom time for discussions and the ability for students to complete work on the spot.
One way video can be used to connect with students is through the use of live streaming, which allows students to use a simple link to access live content via the Internet.
It should be easy to initiate a live stream on the spot or as a planned event. Events should be private, giving access only to those with a customized URL to join the meeting. Live streaming might also be used when an instructor needs to live stream to a second classroom or location.
Live streaming can also be used for music events, graduation, or campus-wide events that attract a large audience. It also allows those who can’t travel to the event the opportunity to view the event as if they were.
VIDEO ASSIGNMENTS AND STUDENT RECORDING
In the event an instructor wishes to assign homework that has a visual and auditory aspect to it, such as a student speech, video assignments are a great way to enable student recording, especially in distance-based learning environments.
Students can record their responses to an assignment from anywhere and upload it to an institution’s video CMS. For example, a nursing student might record a session with a mock patient that includes a sequence of tasks that need to be performed. Once the student has uploaded their video, instructors can review their videos to determine if they meet the assignment requirements.
STAFF TRAINING AND TUTORIALS
When instructors record their lectures for students, they can review their teaching style and self-reflect on areas of improvement.
Many colleges and universities are using video to create how-to and other training resources for faculty and staff. If the video is evergreen, it can be stored in your Video CMS and used indefinitely. If it needs changes, it can quickly be edited and reused.
When instructors record their lectures for students, they can review their teaching style and self-reflect on areas of improvement.
VIDEO ACCESSIBILITY AND CAPTIONING
The YuJa Cloud is a powerful video management platform that uses AI to categorize content, generate topic tags and headers through semantic analysis. Topics become searchable tags, making it simple for students to find relevant content to further their academic goals.
YuJa’s automatic captioning, video and audio transcriptions and Audio Descriptions help you to comply with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). This act ensures that educational institutions use emerging technologies and communication channels to reach people with disabilities.
In-Video Commenting allows both instructors and students to interact within media to share comments and questions to create an interactive, collaborative experience. To make it easy to view and respond to comments, they’re fully searchable in the Media Player, and viewers can see all comments in the video sidebar. YuJa’s Media Player effectively becomes an interactive video collaboration space with time-linked, in-video commenting that can also be used to make video quizzes and assessments more interactive.
Benefits of Online Test Proctoring in Higher Education
We’ve outlined some of the top benefits of online test proctoring in higher education.
Benefits for Institutions
Online Proctoring Software Verifies Identities
Identity verification is a key element in secure online testing, as institutions want to ensure the student receiving the credit is the one taking the test. Software tools like YuJa Verity make identity verification part of the process to ensure grades are being earned with integrity.
Online Test Proctoring Software is Scalable
Because there is no specialized hardware, online test proctoring can be rolled out anywhere. As the number of online, hybrid and hyflex courses increases, so does the need for an online test proctoring solution that affordably scales with the institution.
Benefits for Instructors
No Complicated Learning Curve for Instructors
Instructors have a lot on their plates without having to learn something new for remote test proctoring. With software that integrates directly with an institution’s LMS, instructors can create a quiz or test in their LMS as they normally would, edit their settings, and wait for students to take their assessments. Results are displayed in a central LTI app location.
“With software that integrates directly with an institution’s LMS, instructors can create a quiz or test in their LMS as they normally would, edit their settings, and wait for students to take their assessments.”
Analytics Provide In-Depth Reports on Testing Behaviors
With deep analytics, instructors can better understand current patterns and trends over time both for their course and for individual students. Instructors can use these reports to improve online testing success.
Benefits for Students
Online Proctoring Offers Flexibility to Test-Takers
Students can take tests online from the comfort of their own home or in a place that is familiar and comfortable. In addition, if those taking the test are professionals testing for certifications or licenses, or students with daytime obligations, they don’t have to take time off to travel to a testing center or worry about timing as long as the test is completed during a set timeframe.
Users Don’t Need Specialized Hardware
Users can take tests – including those conducted by third parties like Pearson-Vue, McGraw, ALEKS, and others – with a standard desktop, laptop, or tablet in a few simple steps. This helps make testing available to students no matter where they are in the country or world.
How to Get More Out of Your Lecture Capture Platform
We are all aware of this change; in fact, lecture capture solutions are already quite a mainstay in many learning institutions. In a survey conducted by Peter Reed, over 92% of students utilize lecture capture to clarify aspects of lectures that they are struggling with and 87% utilize them to prepare for upcoming exams. Distance-based learning accompanied by visual tools has made it more convenient for students to learn and continues to spread.
Here are five ways to make the most out of your lecture capture platform.
1. Flip Your Classroom
As one of the biggest education trends, the flipped classroom environment utilizes video to expose students to new materials outside of the classroom. Instructors have the luxury to record various lectures in or away from the classroom to share with their students for viewing at any time. According to a LearnDash study, 90% of instructors have noticed a positive change in student engagement since flipping their classrooms. The ability to record lectures anywhere allows for more class time to be focused around discussions and increased student engagement.
2. Enhance Your Presentations
The utilization of presentation software to share information with fellow classmates or colleagues remains ever-present. By being able to access your presentations from any device with the reduced risk of presentation difficulties, online presentations are a convenient way to share presentations both in person and through video. Whether you prefer Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, your presentation skills can be showcased publicly or with a limited group of registered users.
3. Make Use of Student Recordings/Video Assignments
In the event that an instructor assigns homework involving visual and/or auditory requirements (e.g., student speeches), student recordings are a helpful tool to assist students in honing their presentation skills. Professors can assess student performance and provide feedback while students can continue to develop their presentation skills anywhere with any device. If you are studying law, business, or are in the sciences, video assignments can deliver instructional workflows for students that fit the needs of any subject or classroom structure.
“Professors can assess student performance and provide feedback while students can continue to develop their presentation skills anywhere with any device.”
4. Apply Social Learning
A positive environment that facilitates learning and growth requires many strategies to thrive whether you are dealing with a classroom or corporate setting. With your lecture capture platform, recorded lectures and presentations can be viewed at any time for instructors to improve on their teaching style and even distribute best practices among fellow instructors. Students can even share notes or study guides to prepare for upcoming assignments and exams. By providing staff and students with the necessary tools to effectively share knowledge, you can ultimately maximize efficiency and productivity.
5. Live Stream Your Lectures
Thanks to the advancement of technology, students are continuing to leverage live video to supplement their learning outside of the classroom. By leveraging the lecture capture’s live-streaming functionality, institutions have the ability to live stream events campus-wide and via the internet. Instructors can even host drop-in and small-scale live office hours within their LMS with nothing to download or install.
What Is Micro-Flipping in Education?
Micro-flipping uses short lectures, both in-and-out of the classroom setting, providing some of the benefits of a traditional classroom and some of the benefits of a flipped classroom. A micro-flipped class video will typically be five minutes or less in length.
The Benefits of the Micro-Flipping a Classroom
Micro-flipping works in both flipped and traditional classrooms, and can help to address some of the challenges found in each type of classroom. The time investment is minimal; instructors can create micro-flipped recordings in just a few minutes while sitting at their desks or even record them using mobile tools.
Micro-flipping in the Flipped Classroom
“The key to micro-flipping is to infuse technology (where warranted) with student engagement while intermittently peppering students with content in a lecture or conversation-style format. This gives students more autonomy in the learning process but also allows them to be guided as needed,” Sam Buemi, the author states.
One of the primary criticisms of flipped classroom structure is that the classroom is designed to function for students who have watched the lecture material ahead of time and who are motivated to learn. If instructors require work to be completed outside of the classroom, segments of students may not be successful. Instead of fully flipping the classroom, micro-flipping can benefit both those who are prepared and those who have not by blending flipped-classroom and traditional classroom approaches.
The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that a typical class will include short lectures and student engagement with materials, including activities like polls, mobile-app engagement, or group activities interspersed with snippets of lecture or teacher-led conservation.
Providing students with short video lectures ahead of class and offering some part of the lecture during classroom time caters to both high-achievers and less motivated students to make the flipped classroom function better for all students.
Micro-flipping in a Traditional Classroom
Micro-flipping can also offer benefits in a traditional classroom. In this case, the video made available before the class can act as a sort of preview for students of in-class content. This can encourage interest in the classroom lecture or provide additional thoughts or ideas related to classroom readings. Students who miss a class can also rely upon micro-flipping to catch up before the next class, even if full lecture capture recordings are available.
The Importance of Video Analytics
With video analytics, instructors and administrators can see who watched a video, review video hotspots, and see how long each viewer spent watching different videos. A powerful analytics suite is a key component to a Video Content Management System (VCMS), as it can draw attention to what media is making an impact and how it’s performing.
YuJa’s Enterprise Video Platform offers a variety of information about individual media files and how users interact with those files. The overall summary shows information on storage, views, viewing patterns and where users stop watching the video, providing instructors with insights on areas where students may be having trouble.
Using Analytics to Improve Play Rate
Your play rate is how often viewers play video content. A low play rate means your investment in video content will be ineffective, and your students, clients and customers won’t learn as much as they could from your videos.
Assessing Video Engagement
Video engagement is how much time people spend watching your video content, and how much they engage with content, whether it’s by asking or answering questions, taking notes, or adding annotations. A higher video engagement means that viewers are staying interested in your content rather than shutting off the video mid-play.
Analytics enable administrators to look closely at individual videos. This can, over time, enable pattern recognition in videos and overall improvement of video content and video engagement. Assessing the following may help to improve video engagement.
- Are viewers watching videos all the way through? If not, when are they stopping the video? Are there any patterns to viewer interest?
- Is the video topically appropriate for the site? Is it relevant to your viewers?
- Does the video meet the needs of your users? Do they have a reason to watch it?
- Which of your videos has performed the best? What has made it a strong performer?
Not only does YuJa’s analytics suite provide an overall summary of data, but it also breaks it down user by user, which allows instructors to identify at-risk students.
Using YuJa’s Video Analytics
Using video analytics maximizes the value of video content and video content management. YuJa’s Usage and Analytics tools enable an in-depth understanding of how users are watching video, and how your videos are performing on an ongoing basis. With these tools, you can review how students are using your content, what is peaking their interests, and which videos are performing best, which can be used to help guide future lessons.