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15 considerations for a complete higher ed video strategy

Investing in a platform that can grow with your institution and support video in your LMS
University Business, February 2017
Investing in a platform that can grow with your institution and support video in your LMS
Investing in a platform that can grow with your institution and support video in your LMS

Video has become a common tool in classroom instruction. And as new pedagogies such as the flipped classroom and student recordings join established uses such as lecture capture and event live streaming, the amount of video most institutions create and manage will only grow.

It’s important to invest in a solution for video that can grow with your institution. Regardless of how your faculty and students are using video today, institution leaders should consider the holistic set of video capabilities to ensure your investment in video technology will complement your existing learning technologies and support the demands of your campus.

With that goal in mind, here are 15 considerations to plan for in order to support video in your LMS:

  1. LMS Integration. Seek options with ready-made connections for your existing LMS that will allow you to provision new courses, schedule recordings, automate publishing and establish a rolling sync with your single sign-on rosters.
  2. Flexible Recording Capabilities. Look for solutions that will be easy to learn and adopt. Ideally, you should be able to capture even complex lectures with any combination of video cameras, screens, document cams and specialty devices with the same recording tool used in the office, at home or on the road.
  3. Ability to Schedule Recordings in Advance. Enable faculty to simply walk into the room and teach like they always have—and still provide lecture recordings. Look for systems that enable administrators to schedule recordings ahead of time.
  4. Support for Both On-Demand and Live Video Streaming. Live streams should be simple to set up and scheduleable in advance.
  5. Reliable Video Playback on Any Device. A strong video solution should be able to process video files recorded in any format, then automatically reformat them to be playable on any device.
  6. Comprehensive Video Content Search. Modern video solutions should enable your students to find and instantly fast-forward to any word spoken or shown in any video so they can find key moments and explanations as they study for exams.
  7. Detailed Video Analytics. Your solution should include real-time reports on which students are watching which videos, and which recordings they are watching the most. Instructors can use that information to inform future lesson plans.
  8. Simple Video Editing. It should be easy to trim unwanted moments and splice in other videos, as well as export video for more detailed scrubbing with professional editing software.
  9. Robust Mobile Applications. Providing a rich mobile viewing experience is table stakes for any video solution. Many of today’s options offer recording, uploading, and remote scheduling and equipment management features.
  10. Network-Friendly Streaming. Without sufficient planning, spikes in video viewership (which are predictable at exam times) can cause problems ranging from excessive buffering to total network overload. Look for solutions designed to manage both on-demand and live video, with modern infrastructure that can support a high volume of simultaneous viewers.
  11. Ability to Scale. Video files are large—120MB per minute on average. Solutions that limit (or charge by) storage space will limit your video library’s ability to grow with each new quarter. Look instead for pricing based on student enrollment.
  12. Cloud and On-Premises Deployment Options. Having options for deployment will make it easier to support scaling your video solution and managing a growing library of video over time, as well as enable you to manage internal or external regulatory requirements that affect your IT ecosystem.
  13. Reliable Architecture. Look for fail-safe recording, automatic upload and redundant hosting—“mirrored” backups of your video library hosted in physical locations, ensuring that if one server falters another will be instantly available.
  14. Accessibility Made Easy. Classroom recordings must be ADA Section 508 compliant. Look for solutions that provide multiple options for generating, uploading and automating captions, as well as usability-oriented features including keyboard accessibility, screen reader support and variable speed playback, and adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  15. An Integrated Feature Set with Predictable Pricing. As for any investment, insist on calculating total costs of ownership for any video solution prior to purchase. Essential features that are sold as add-ons should be factored in, as should any incremental fees likely to be incurred for storage, streaming or support.

For a complete analysis of the higher education LMS market and 15 recommendations for supporting video within the LMS, visit http://panop.to/gartner-lms-video.

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