Learning management systems have come a long way since their infancy in the late 90s. Today, the LMS of your college or university likely plays a major role in your day-to-day instructional strategies. And for many of you, the same can be said for the massive number of videos you’re creating.
That’s why it only makes sense that these two components go together. After all, video arguably has an unprecedented ability to deliver information quickly and effectively. Why have all that content off alone on its own video island when it could be integrated with your LMS?
By doing that, you can better engage students through interactive video tools and even measure the impact with video analytics. And let’s not forget that video can enhance the student learning learning process and increase student retention.
In this Q&A, Bill Cherne, Sonic Foundry’s Director of Field Engineering, explores how Mediasite – our platform for capturing, publishing, and managing video – can integrate with your LMS to give students instant access to video and create a host of benefits for both students and instructors.
Q: Let’s begin with the idea of immediacy from the student’s perspective. How does integrating Mediasite with a given LMS make the path to a video as short and convenient as possible?
A: Okay, that’s a great question to start off with. Yes, let’s imagine a student and let’s assume he or she is busy with multiple courses, maybe juggling a job, extracurriculars, etc., or even meeting family obligations if we’re talking about a non-traditional student. Mediasite-LMS integration allows that student to work from within the course LMS and easily access videos from wherever a tablet, laptop, or mobile phone can feasibly be viewed. To put it simply, the integration puts video where it makes the most sense for that student.
More specifically, we can offer you options to embed video in course pages or assignments or other parts of the LMS module. And with the integration, you can also have what we call a video course catalog, which is essentially one landing page where all available videos are displayed.
Integrating Mediasite with your LMS also removes multiple layers of access and bypasses the dreaded secondary log-in requirements. In other words, it allows single sign-on. So, when the student signs in to the LMS course module, that also means he or she now has direct access to all the videos that you’ve given permission to view.
Q: Students accessing videos more easily is an obvious benefit. But what about the growing expectation today – or perhaps the more intense need – for an interactive experience? Does video integration with an LMS somehow create more opportunities to engage students?
A: It definitely does. Increasing student engagement is an integral part of our Mediasite tools. So, bringing Mediasite into your LMS not only means seamless access to video. It also opens a wide door to student engagement thanks to a variety of Mediasite features that go way beyond passive viewing:
- From within the LMS, students can easily input questions during live lecture streams or in on-demand video scenarios.
- They can be prompted to take strategically placed quizzes while viewing an on-demand video, helping them see immediately, for example, what key concepts they should be grasping.
- They can participate in a video forum that’s dynamic and collaborative thanks to features that encourage feedback, reaction, and discussion.
- The streamlined steps that help get video into the LMS make it much easier for students themselves to create and upload videos as part of their course work.
Q: How simple is it to get the captured Mediasite video into the LMS?
A: I’d say conveniently getting video uploaded to your LMS has been a huge focus for us. First, recall that Mediasite tools allow for a variety of ways to capture content – from straightforward lecture capture situations in which instructors basically just need to show up and teach, to mobile scenarios where they can use Mediasite software to record a video with their smartphone or laptop from their office or home.
For any video capture situation, Mediasite-LMS integration allows for a simple and efficient process to get that video into the course module. In fact, it’s possible to upload your video to one spot and make it immediately available to students.
Q: Would you say that Mediasite-LMS integration can encourage instructors to create more video – and even do more with the video they create?
A: A lot of instructors move gradually into creating more and more video beyond, say, basic lecture capture once they appreciate how easy it is to create video in other ways. I believe they also get energized by the many options they have with the videos themselves. I’m talking about everything from easily editing videos to controlling the security of them to adding the various engagement features that Mediasite allows, such as polls, quizzes, and annotations.
Additionally, as you enjoy the convenience of Mediasite integrated with your LMS, you can also take advantage of analytics. Depending on your analytics settings, you can see a variety of information about student viewing, both in the aggregate and at the individual student level.
Q: When you talk about integrating Mediasite with an LMS, are you talking about a particular LMS?
A: No, actually. We can integrate Mediasite with a range of popular LMSs like Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, and D2L’s Brightspace. We can also tie in with other third-party systems.
Q: It’s important that students and instructors can easily find certain topics, specific points in a video, etc. How searchable are the videos themselves?
A: Very searchable. Let’s take a scenario where you have a catalog of course videos on a single page. There will be a familiar looking search bar at the top to enter a keyword or words. Mediasite search capabilities enable instructors or whomever the content creators are to create search-friendly titles and build out metadata with helpful tags and descriptions, thereby creating ample keyword possibilities to search for. But that’s really just the beginning.
If you think about a typical lecture, there’s often what we call the live-action video stream and then there’s also the content stream, commonly in the form of slides. You have the option to turn on optical character recognition (OCR) for both streams. So now you have another layer of search capability in the form of identifying words that show up as actual text.
On top of all that, search capabilities can be taken to another level of thoroughness with transcriptions and closed-captioning. Mediasite can conveniently tie in with third-party captioning providers. In fact, in our most recent product release, this feature took a giant leap forward in terms of affordability thanks to Mediasite now supporting IBM Watson speech-to-text.
One more thing: It makes sense here to address the importance of accessibility, a subject that’s getting a lot of attention now, and rightfully so. Recall the search options I just referred to because they can also play a key role in improving accessibility and helping you achieve ADA compliance.
Q: Beyond the benefits of Mediasite-LMS integration, are there remaining areas of concern that higher ed users typically have when it comes to video in general?
A: Storage and security are two big concerns, and we’ve devoted a lot of attention to them. As you’re likely aware, video is storage-intensive. That’s why we provide lots of ways for you to stay on top of storage concerns. For example, we can enable administrators to roll out quotas, notify faculty when they’ve exceeded their quota, or even stop new content from being added and compel users to delete unused content.
Tying Mediasite into your LMS also enables important security features. I hear from a lot of professors and content creators that they want to ensure their content doesn’t get stolen – often expressed in the form of “We don’t want it to show up on YouTube.” Well, we’ve got you covered.
When you embed a video link within your LMS, that link is secure. What do I mean? Without getting into the technical details, I’ll just put it this way: You can create a security access scenario in which viewing a given video is possible only within a specific course’s LMS module. That means any video links emailed, tweeted out or whatever, will essentially be dead links because they require being viewed from within the LMS. So, no surprise appearances on YouTube, in other words. Now, if you do want your content to show up on YouTube, we provide convenient ways for you to publish it there, as well.