Needs Analysis Revealed Need for Video Platform at University of Calgary
About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is one of Canada’s top comprehensive research universities, combining the best of university tradition with the city of Calgary’s vibrant energy and diversity. UCalgary’s main campus occupies a beautiful setting with a view of the Rocky Mountains, covering more than 200 hectares — an area larger than Calgary’s entire downtown.
Leading up to the implementation of YuJa’s Video Platform at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, faculty who wanted to use video in their courses used either personal accounts on public platforms or a department solution. “Instructors had expressed the need for a video platform for several years, but there wasn’t a campus-wide solution,” explained Isadora Mok-Kulakova, Online Learning Environment Lead at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.
“What drew the university to YuJa was the focus on teaching and learning.”
In response, institutional leaders formed a Video Content Management Advisory Group with representation from Information Technologies, Taylor Institute, Supply Chain Management, Students’ Union and key personnel from various faculties and units. The group sought a solution that would work in both blended and online learning, that integrated well with D2L Brightspace, allowed single sign-on, and that was easy to use both for instructors and students.
The evaluation process was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2017-18. “What drew the university to YuJa was the focus on teaching and learning,” Mok-Kulakova noted, adding that the group requested vendors to demonstrate how their software could support flipped classrooms, lecture capture, live stream, student projects, managing videos in a course and analyzing engagement of students.
Ease of Scaling
Pandemic Significantly Increases Usage
Like at most institutions, there was a surge in online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, the use of YuJa at UCalgary also increased significantly. Prior to that, most course videos were hosted directly within the Learning Management System (LMS). “The tools in the Video Platform allow instructors to pre-record their lessons, edit their videos and incorporate accessibility features such as captioning,” Mok-Kulakova remarked. “Students may also use it to share their experiences and submit assignments in the form of a video.”
As of July 2021, the institution had more than 49,225 “Videos and Recordings” hosted in the YuJa Cloud, which include video and audio files that have been uploaded directly to the user’s My Media page, as well as videos created using the YuJa Software Capture tool on both PC and Mac devices.
The YuJa Video Platform can quickly be scaled to meet recording, storage and captioning needs. Additionally, captions can be edited, created in different languages and an index (video chapters/bookmarks) can be added, Mok-Kulakova noted.
YuJa Helps Promote Active Learning
“We promote active learning and encourage instructors to provide multiple means of representation (where possible) to engage students,” Mok-Kulakova said. “Well-designed videos can help students better understand the context or a concept, or even learn a new skill. We can also make interactive videos so students are not just passively receiving information by reading a textbook or watching a recording.”
The Video Platform has enhanced teaching at the University of Calgary. “We promote active learning rather than having students as passive receivers of information.” Mok-Kulakova said. “Video provides another means for students to have access to information.”
Features such as auto captioning and the addition of different languages to captioning, along with the ability to do simple editing and add indexes or chapters can help instructors facilitate learning and support diverse learners. “In our workshops, we often talk about universal design for learning and these are the features of YuJa that we like to highlight — accessibility, the ability to attach supplementary resources, the addition of indexes and the ability to embed videos,” Mok-Kulakova remarked.
YuJa gives instructors control in terms of who can download videos, where it can be shared and provides engagement statistics that can help you make some decisions as an instructor. In addition to course videos, Mok-Kulakova’s department is creating training videos for faculty and staff. For this video she incorporated features such as index, captions, comments and resources.
New Features and Updates Ensure Best User Experience
Mok-Kulakova said she has found the YuJa support team to be quick and helpful. “When I reach out, I get a quick response. We feel supported and see the company’s efforts to deploy new features and fix bugs if they come up,” she commented. “There have been a lot of changes just over the past year in terms of auto updates and addressing user needs.”
In the future, Mok-Kulakova said she can see instructors and students creating more intentional videos, as well as increasing the use of software capture, chunking information and increasing student engagement.
“In addition to providing recorded lectures, video will be a way to connect with students on a more personal level no matter if the environment is virtual, in person or a mix of both,” she concluded.
University of Calgary instructors are using YuJa to create and host their teaching materials, while those at the Taylor Institute are using the Video Platform to create and host faculty and staff training videos.
Usage of YuJa has increased significantly over the course of the pandemic as it allows instructors to pre-record lessons, edit videos and incorporate accessibility features.
University of Calgary has nearly 50,000 videos and recordings stored in the YuJa Video Platform.
“In our workshops, we often talk about universal design for learning and these are the features of YuJa that we like to highlight — accessibility, the ability to attach supplementary resources, the addition of indexes and the ability to embed videos.”
Isadora Mok-Kulakova, Online Learning Environment Lead at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary