Deploying a Scalable Enterprise Video Platform to Meet Current and Future Instructional Needs
Introduction to YuJa
The Need for Scalable Video for Education
Bronx Community College is a forward thinking college, but when it came to technology to record and host videos, its former in-house server and labor intensive programs were no longer meeting the college’s needs. In fact, the legacy program the college used didn’t have a user interface where faculty or students could log in. It was inefficient and cumbersome for all parties, which is why the college knew it needed to invest in a more robust solution that could not only act as a video repository, but that could streamline processes and workflows for students and staff.
First Generation College Students
Albert Robinson, Associate Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology at Bronx Community College, was tasked with finding a solution that could meet the college’s needs while remaining cognizant of limited budget availability. While the main goal, at least initially, was for the platform to serve as a repository for videos, screen capture and lecture capture, captioning and accessibility were equally important considerations at the college went through its decision-making process.
Robinson said he knew the perfect solution existed, and further, he knew there were other colleges in the CUNY system that had gone through the process and were pleased with their results. “I reached out to my colleagues in the CUNY community and was connected to YuJa through a Lehman College contact,” Robinson recalled. “An account executive at YuJa actually gave us a demonstration, and right away we could see the ease of use.”
Because the college doesn’t have a large IT support team, user-friendliness is important, as it keeps support tickets manageable. But Robinson didn’t stop at one great referral. He reached out to another trusted colleague at Kingsborough Community College, who also praised YuJa’s Enterprise Video Platform as a video tool and gave a strong recommendation. Robinson noted that he has since also passed on positive referrals from himself and colleagues to others in the CUNY system. While he researched other video solutions, he said he found them not as robust or user-friendly. “We did a pilot of YuJa, and the rest is history,” Robinson stated. “Faculty love it. Staff love it, and it’s easy to use right away.”
About the Client
About Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College (BCC) is part of The City University of New York, which spans 25 campuses across the city’s five boroughs and offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and continuing education opportunities to students of all ages and backgrounds. BCC is home to more than 40 academic programs that prepare students to continue their education at a four-year institution or begin their career. A Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), BCC enrolls students from nearly 100 countries.
“We did a pilot of YuJa, and the rest is history. Faculty love it. Staff love it, and it’s easy to use right away.”
Use Cases at BCC
Video Platform Use Cases at BCC
Several years into using the YuJa Enterprise Video Platform, the college still uses it as its main video repository. Additionally, all training, events, and guest speakers are recorded and posted to the Video Platform. Because CUNY is a public institution, all videos have to be captioned to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. Videos can quickly, easily and automatically be captioned and edited from within the Video Platform.
Pre-COVID-19, BCC had approximately 50 courses online, with a majority of instruction conducted face-to-face. From March 2020 through the end of summer 2021, all classes are remote. The ability to record and share videos has helped the college navigate the uncertainties that the pandemic brought with it. “Instructors are taking advantage of screen capture, recording and captioning built into YuJa, especially during the pandemic,” Robinson remarked. “Recorded lectures and some live videos are saved right into the platform. Instructors don’t have to worry about re-downloading or uploading like they did in the past.”
Still, the pandemic caused a bit of a “shock” to BCC, primarily because the plan was to ramp up usage slowly. Usage went up more quickly than anticipated, which created license and captioning minute shortages. “This helped us build out a case to get a full license, and everyone is doing great work with the limitations we have,” Robinson said, adding that he’s looking forward to using even more services like Single Sign-On through Blackboard, the online video quizzing feature, as well as to integrate other features.
One unexpected outcome of using YuJa’s Enterprise Video Platform, Robinson said, is that instructors are able to better self-evaluate using recorded lessons. “I have heard from several instructors that when they began recording lectures, they saw areas they would like to change in their teaching or lecturing style,” Robinson shared. “Several had revelations about how they could better serve students, maybe by shortening or breaking lessons into parts, and that has helped them change the way they’ve been doing it for years.” Others have started flipping their classrooms and using class time to review the materials.
Expanding the Use of YuJa Throughout the College
YuJa and the Enterprise Video Platform have a great reputation around CUNY, Robinson said, with a number of campuses looking to launch accounts. “We are advocating for a CUNY-wide license,” Robinson attested, adding that he has appreciated the responsiveness of the staff at YuJa, including seeing ideas come to life in the product. “We’ve been shocked. We know that new features can take years to implement, but they’ve done it in a short period of time,” he said. “YuJa has been a game changer at BCC.”
Usage and YuJa’s effectiveness will only continue to increase. Bronx Community College recently was approved by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) to offer an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences completely online. “Everyone will be using YuJa in that program, not in a mandatory sense, but as one of the tools offered to them,” Robinson noted. While program details are still in the works, Robinson said the college has selected a Director of Distance Learning to coordinate online learning. “The future is looking a little brighter at this moment, and will only get brighter as we move forward,” he concluded.
“The future is looking a little brighter at this moment, and will only get brighter as we move forward.”
YuJa provides Bronx Community College with a video repository, and robust video platform that can streamline processes and workflows for students and staff.
Instructors have appreciated screen capture capabilities, along with recording and captioning built into YuJa — especially during the pandemic.
Instructors have used recordings created in YuJa to self-evaluate, often deciding to change in their teaching or lecturing style to better serve students.
“Faculty love it. Staff love it, and it’s easy to use right away.”
Albert Robinson, Associate Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology at Bronx Community College
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