First Gen Students
RFP Process Reveals Promising Solution
About Lamar University
Home to more than 15,000 students, Lamar University is among the fastest growing Texas colleges and universities. LU is a member of The Texas State University System, which is the first higher education system of Texas.
Located in Beaumont, Texas, and part of the Texas State University System, Lamar University was seeking a video hosting solution to be in place for the summer of 2020. Through the RFP process, YuJa emerged as a strong contender and was selected as a finalist.
“During the RFP and review process, it became evident that YuJa was gaining market popularity with nice features 一 the new LTI 1.3 (Learning Tools Interoperability) standard was being placed, there’s an ability to use an app to record and upload videos, and there is strong customer support,” said Craig Pember, M.Ed, Instructional Technologies Manager for the Lamar University Division of DIstance Learning. “Customer support is extremely important for us, and YuJa has been outstanding, attentive, and has worked with us to make implementation changes on the fly.”
YuJa provides modular IMS-certified LTI 1.3 (LTI Advantage LMS enterprise connectors and cross-connectors for every major LMS to ensure worry-free integration.
Students, Instructors and Others Find YuJa Easy to Use
Lamar University has an in-house recording studio to record professional-grade videos for courses. Using the studio ensures not only that the background and lighting are optimal, but that accessibility goals are met, including adding closed captioning. Additionally, instructors create their own lecture capture videos 一 whether they use a computer to record weekly updates, or another device to provide feedback on assignments. Closed captioning is a big part of making course content accessible, and instructors can easily insert and edit captions into their videos.
With previous software, Pember noted that there were numerous issues that prevented students from uploading videos. “It was cumbersome and hard to do,” he said, adding that because even phones can record in 4k, video files can be large. Unless a student realizes there’s a need to change settings, they could end up with a failed upload. “YuJa gives us different options. If you need to view it on a mobile device, there’s an option for that. If you need high-resolution, it’s available.”
“YuJa gives us different options. If you need to view it on a mobile device, there’s an option for that. If you need high-resolution, it’s available.”
LMS for Teaching
YuJa Integrates With Blackboard to Create a Powerful Disaster Recovery Plan
Because Lamar University is in Southeast Texas, where hurricanes could pose substantial barriers to education, university officials have a disaster recovery plan that centers on using the Learning Management System, Blackboard, to store, organize and provide access to information, minimizing disruption to courses in the event of a disaster.
“We have a very large online presence, and even pre-pandemic, our plan was that everything would go online (in the event of a disaster),” said Dr. Sherry Wells, Assistant Vice Provost for Digital Learning. “We needed a video platform that worked well with our LMS for online classes and as part of our disaster recovery plan.”
Wells noted that more than half of the university’s semester credit hours are online. There is a course shell for each course, and instructors are required to have their syllabus and at least two weeks of material online. When the pandemic hit, “we were fortunate that we did not have to all-of-the-sudden create course shells for all of our classes. We were prepared because of our disaster recovery efforts.” Instructors can record and manage video and media directly from the LMS.
LU Lauds YuJa Customer Support
Lamar University experienced outages with a previous vendor. In one instance, the platform was completely nonfunctional for several weeks. “We were dead in the water with no video hosting capability, and there was no urgency or concern for the situation,” Wells lamented.
Moving forward, finding a company with top-notch customer service was paramount. “Working with the team at YuJa has been a good experience for us, which we definitely needed after that last fiasco,” Wells concluded.
Lamar University was seeking a video hosting platform that could secure videos, keeping course videos private and internal.
LU uses its Learning Management System for online classes and as a disaster recovery plan. Implementing a video platform that works well within the LMS is critical to its operations
YuJa is easy to use for both students and staff, who are able to successfully upload video using a variety of devices.
“YuJa gives us the tools we need to accomplish what is needed in the classroom for video hosting while providing us with the support we need to make sure that happens.”
Dr. Sherry Wells, Assistant Vice Provost for Digital Learning