Canada’s Largest Art, Design, and Media University, OCAD U, Turns to YuJa to Enhance Art and Design Education
The Need for a New Video and Media Management Platform
Located in the heart of Toronto, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive art, design and media university in Canada. Founded in 1876, OCAD U is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge creation and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practices, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies.
The institution has used video and media creation platforms for nearly two decades, starting with on-prem servers and tech-savvy instructors who used the new technologies to document studio practices and art and science lectures. When OCAD U outgrew the needs of Apple’s product, it transitioned to another vendor’s product. When the pandemic hit, that vendor announced it was phasing out its education platform.
In order to quickly evaluate a new platform, Matt Dunn, Manager, Service Management at OCAD U, organized a committee of faculty members, IT staff, and curriculum development center team members to compare four alternative products. The decision was narrowed to two, where “It was resoundingly clear YuJa was the best choice,” Dunn stated, adding that in comparison, YuJa felt modern and responsive with it’s UI and functionality. “No one voted for the other product.”
About the Client
About Ontario College of Art and Design University
Founded in 1876, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.
OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies.
“It’s always nice to see good documentation and how-tos so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It was all there waiting for us.”
Getting Started With YuJa
Pre-pandemic, OCAD U instructors delivered content in a variety of ways, including in person, online and hybrid models. “Before the pandemic, recording was more optional, but it was already embedded in our culture. Everyone used it where it fit their curriculum,” Dunn said. “The pandemic amplified the need for lecture capture and recording, and everyone (who didn’t already use a recording platform) had to learn overnight.”
YuJa led training sessions and instructors leaned on YuJa’s support documentation, “which is great, by the way,” he noted. “It’s always nice to see good documentation and how-tos so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It was all there waiting for us.”
In all, 10 terabytes of data was migrated from OCAD U’s former vendor to the Video Platform, which included tens of thousands of pieces of content. “All of the ownership had to be maintained, and it was very hands off for us. We never had to touch the data. It was fantastic,” Dunn shared.
Instructors Use YuJa in a Variety of Ways
The more than 400 instructors at OCAD U use ed-tech in a variety of ways. Some record meetings, while others record their courses and use it for curriculum deployment. “Our instructors were already in the habit of using Canvas as a repository to put everything,” Dunn explained. YuJa’s LTI works well and enables instructors to distribute and share content.”
One feature of YuJa the studio faculty appreciate is the ability to have multiple video sources. Instructors can have a document camera for demonstrations while also having a camera that captures the speaker and showing a PowerPoint presentation. “The viewer chooses what to focus on and can toggle back and forth between the hands-on exercises and on-screen components,” Dunn stated.
The administrative side of YuJa has also been a positive upgrade. “The metrics are much better than with our previous platform,” Dunn remarked. “The administrative side of it is more robust, and any information I want is at my fingertips, whereas before, I had to email a representative to request reports and wait for them to get back to me.”
“The viewer chooses what to focus on and can toggle back and forth between the hands-on exercises and on-screen components”
Benefits to Students
Students Benefit from Adaptive Bitrate Formats and Captioning
One aspect of YuJa that other companies are behind on, Dunn said, is automatic transcoding. “Offering different bitrates and file sizes really helps students,” he said. “Before YuJa, if a student had a bad internet connection, video would become unwatchable because there was no lower resolution version available. A lot of students are doing remote work and would struggle with the remote part of it.”
Additionally, captioning is a feature that is universally loved by instructors and students, especially as students are increasingly multimodal learners. YuJa automatically captions without faculty needing to take extra steps. “Students almost always have captions on whatever they’re watching, whether it’s a sitcom or instructional video. It’s default behavior, and having automatic captioning really helps with how people consume content.”
Students also use YuJa for critiquing sessions, small presentations, to record meetings with group members, and for other purposes.
YuJa is a Robust and Easy-to-Use Video Platform
Dunn said that he found YuJa’s platform easy to learn, its staff easy to work with, and the onboarding process smooth. “YuJa just makes sense. We’ve been impressed by how easy it is and how good the support is. It is a great platform that has suited our needs well.”
OCAD University has been using an ed-tech video platform for over a decade. They were using TechSmith’s product when the company announced it would discontinue enterprise education video hosting from its business model.
The institution has approximately 500 instructors who use the YuJa Video Platform across the board for both traditional and online courses.
Instructors appreciate the modern look and feel of YuJa’s interface, as well as its ease of use and support.
“YuJa just makes sense. We’ve been impressed by how easy it is and how good the support is. It is a great platform that has suited our needs well.”
Matt Dunn, Manager of Service Management at OCAD University
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