In 2016, the media capture and storage system we used at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Fla., had reached maturity. Cooperation between faculty and IT staff had yielded a video system that benefited students and teachers, but it was time to take the next step.
We wanted to expand the reach of our video offerings by introducing mobile delivery, as well as provide meaningful metrics to faculty and staff. The current system did not provide any margin for growth, yet we could not abandon the existing progress. FAU looked for the next generation of video delivery that would offer the new features needed, while also preserving the existing media. With these requirements in mind, we selected Mediasite as the new media capture, management, and delivery platform.
Start with a pilot
We began using Mediasite in early 2017 with a pilot program for experienced users. Our staff worked closely with Mediasite to implement a custom scheduling program that automates many of the tedious scheduling aspects associated with lecture capture. By May 2017, the College of Business, the Charles E. Schmitt College of Medicine, and the College of Engineering and Computer Science were online with Mediasite. Later that summer, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Jupiter Campus joined in.
Today, we use Mediasite on all of our campuses for capturing and streaming more than 100 courses every term. We were also able to breathe life into our legacy media by importing the videos in Mediasite. We converted more than 10,000 videos, making them searchable and measurable. In the past year, FAU faculty have created an additional 12,000 videos that students have collectively viewed more than 300,000 times. These videos, including the older media, are now tagged, indexed, and generating metrics for faculty and staff.
Faculty embrace video with personal capture
In addition to capturing classroom lectures, faculty use My Mediasite software to quickly create videos and communicate with students from any location, allowing them to provide more flexible and personalized learning experiences for students.
- Microlearning: My Mediasite is installed on hundreds of faculty computers and mobile devices, allowing them to create short videos from anywhere. They are flipping classes, supplementing homework assignments, and elaborating on topics based on student feedback.
- Distance learning: Mediasite Join video-conference capture allows faculty to record everything said and shown during class, delivering the same interactive video experience to students while integrating with FAU’s existing video conference system.
3 tips for deploying a video strategy
FAU’s transition to Mediasite was one of the smoothest implementations in which I have taken part. This was due to the flexibility and experience of the Mediasite staff as well as the dedication of the FAU team. If you are deploying a video strategy on campus, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Define the scope. Defining the scope of a project is project management 101, and it was essential to this project as well. We knew where we were and had an idea of where we wanted to go, but defining our end goal made all of our communication much easier. In addition, we ran into some culture shock when deploying Mediasite. Mediasite is extremely flexible and offers many ways to organize the data. (Our legacy provider offered only one way—whether it fit us or not.) Looking at Mediasite’s unrestrictive features in the early days was intimidating, so having our direction clearly defined helped us stay on track.
- Get faculty buy in. Another basic of project management is including users in the selection and design process. For us, it was a huge benefit to have their usage experience as well as their teaching experience. Because there are many ways to deliver a lesson, being aware of the different use scenarios was incredibly beneficial. One area that presented a challenge was the process to develop a content-retention policy. With the explosion of use that came with Mediasite, it became necessary to set limits for retention. That culture change met with some resistance. Fortunately, Mediasite analytics provide statistics on the views of each video. This assisted us in determining retention policy and calming faculty fears.
- Be flexible. Our media strategy is a work in progress. We are constantly experimenting and exploring new techniques for educational media. Mediasite allows this flexibility. It is important that you be just as flexible. Set a strong foundation by focusing first on your core needs. For FAU, this was getting the classroom lecture capture and desktop video capture software My Mediasite deployed. Next came live streaming and planning for community outreach. Going forward, we will add new material to highlight programs and focus on new presentation channels as we continue to grow.
FAU is ready for the future. We are not only enhancing our student success, but we are able to reach more students than ever before. Many classes capture their lectures for replay on-demand, and even more professors use video for supplemental instruction. Best of all, we allow students to consume material when, where, and how they like it. I could not imagine our university without this valuable tool.