Looking For a New Lecture Capture System? These Universities Made the Switch

If you’re considering swapping your current lecture capture platform for a new solution, you’re in good company. Stetson University, Clemson University, St. John Fisher College, West Texas A&M University and Education University Hong Kong are just a sample of schools who have all switched to Ensemble Video from another lecture capture platform.

Why did they choose to make the switch? They each decided Ensemble Studio, Ensemble Video’s lecture capture solution, was a better choice for several reasons including high-touch support, flexibility, the platform’s value based on investment and more.

Flexibility of integration, video playback and security

Our customers appreciate that no matter what hardware they want to use, how and where users want to view videos or how videos need to be secured, Ensemble will suit their needs.

“By moving to Ensemble we wouldn’t be tied to an “only-works-with” appliance. We now have the flexibility to re-purpose the Matrox LCS appliances for other use cases if our classroom hardware requirements change in the future,” said Matthew Miller, Media Application Specialist for St. John Fisher College.

Miller also had this to say about our multi-device, adaptive bit-rate viewing: “The entire playback experience is fully integrated into the mobile friendly and responsive dual-stream player; including transcript, captions, search, etc.”

And of our wide range of security features, which are unmatched by other video platforms, he said: “The security features are incredibly flexible. We can restrict and allow access to specific assets, playlists, libraries, organizations, and the general public.”

Excellence in customer service and support

Time and time again, Ensemble Video customers note that our approach to customer service and support is one of their favorite things about working with us. The level of attentiveness and care shown in the demo and decision-making processes helps Ensemble stand out against video platform competitors.

The level of attentiveness and care shown in the demo and decision-making processes helps…
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Of Ensemble’s service, Matthew Miller of St. John Fisher College said: “We were already familiar with Ensemble’s track record for both technical support and sticking to their release schedules. I couldn’t say the same for [our previous video platform].”

Although St. John Fisher’s original platform and Ensemble Video offered similar capabilities, Ensemble Video presented a better value through their willingness to collaborate on future software upgrades, said Assistant Professor and Laboratory Experience Coordinator Anthony Corigliano. “Ensemble offered an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with the development of features.”

Features that meet every school’s lecture capture needs

Many educational institutions also choose to switch to Ensemble Studio, Ensemble Video’s lecture capture tool, for its user-friendly video playlist and library organization, a wide selection of hosting options and unmatched value.

  • Video library organization: Ensemble Video’s flexible, customizable video organization capabilities create a seamless, user-friendly experience for both video managers and viewers.

  • Choice of self-hosting, cloud-hosting or hybrid-hosting: Depending on your university’s security needs or available equipment, you may choose to host your videos on premise or in the cloud. With Ensemble Video, you can host your video content however suits you best.

  • Unmatched value: No other video platform provides a combination of lecture capture capabilities, white glove service and security features for the same budget-friendly pricing as Ensemble Video.

Download our Stetson University case study to learn more about how one university that made the switch to Ensemble uses our platform to their advantage. If you’re ready to see what Ensemble Video can do for your university, schedule a demo with our team or request a free trial now. Or, take our quiz: Are you really getting enough value from your video platform?

Beyond Lecture Capture: 3 Creative Uses for Video Technology in Higher Education

Many universities use a video platform to only record and share lecture videos, but access to a more comprehensive video platform provides additional opportunities for students and other university stakeholders like staff and students’ families to engage with video. Beyond capturing and sharing lecture videos, your university can pre-record and broadcast or live stream various materials and events including:

Supplemental course materials and video assignments

Encourage your instructors to take advantage of your university’s video platform by recording and posting additional seminars and review sessions online for students. These materials may not be necessarily required for the course, but they can help students grasp the course material and further prepare for exams and class discussions.

More and more, instructors are introducing video assignments as a way to challenge their students to think outside of the box of more traditional essays and exams. As modern communication increasingly becomes more visual and video-centric, video assignments help students strengthen those skills and explore new ways of showing they understand course content.

To facilitate successful video assignments, ensure your students have a simple way to submit them, like a Video Dropbox.

Guest speakers, sports and other special events

Students who are studying abroad, are unable to attend events for health reasons or are studying off campus should still have every opportunity to get the most out of their college experience. Guest lecturers, special speakers, assemblies, pep rallies and other special events are even more impactful when they’re accessible to all students, both on and off campus.

If your university does not already broadcast sporting events on television, you can live stream football, basketball, volleyball or any other sporting event that fans would like to view.

Use a video platform that live streams video through an HTML5 player to ensure the stream is compatible with a wide variety of devices and browsers. This will guarantee the largest possible number of viewers can access a stream at once.

Graduation ceremonies

The families and friends of students who attend out-of-state or international schools will still want to witness their loved one’s graduation ceremony, but may not have the ability to physically travel to see them. In this instance, live streaming your university’s graduation ceremonies allows anyone the opportunity to take part in the experience.

You can follow our 10 tips for live streaming graduation ceremonies including testing your stream ahead of time, ensuring great audio and video quality and monitoring the stream on many devices to guarantee a successful event.

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Are you having trouble deciding which university video platform is best fit for your needs?

Even when you know the value of a university video platform, deciding between available products and solutions can be intimidating. Download our comparison guide to learn what you should look for in a video platform and how Ensemble Video stacks up to the competition.


The New 508 Compliance Rule – What it Means for Video in Higher Ed

With new 508 Compliance rules for accessibility going into effect in January 2018, there’s never been a better time to make sure your content meets the standards.

The Rehabilitation Act was born in 1973 to prevent disability discrimination at federal agencies (and entities receiving federal funding), including employees and access for members of the public. Given the era, this mostly applied to physical buildings, work spaces, and hard-copy documents. With the rise of the digital age, the Act was updated in 1998 to include newer technologies, and, thanks to tech’s fast-changing nature, updated again in 2017.

Resilient rules for accessibility

This time, the United States Access Board aimed to make the guidelines more resilient by heavily referencing the internationally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements. Relying on this already-existing set of standards provides several benefits, including ease of compliance (due to a single set of rules) for both institutions and vendors, and harmony with accessibility guidelines of other countries.

What’s affected in higher ed?

The most recent rules apply to information and communications technology (ICT), which include lecture videos, websites, learning management systems (LMS), social media, digital documents, and more. Although WCAG 2.0 was originally developed for website content, the new Section 508 rules largely apply to documents (non-website) as well.  

Overall, there are some considerations for legacy content, however, such content must already meet the baseline tech accessibility rules from 1998, or have another reason for an exception.

What should I do to comply?

A good rule of thumb is to make sure all new content you create is accessible from the start. Then, develop a schedule to get existing content into compliance.

Reasons for captioning

Student on a crowded bus, listening to a video lecture and watching captions.All video lectures need closed captions. Providing video captions helps not only students who are hard of hearing, but also students who:

  • Want to see complex names and terms spelled out (medical terms, etc.), to better understand the concepts
  • Need help understanding the dialect of the instructor
  • Are struggling to hear an instructor who talks quickly, or in a low voice
  • Are watching video lectures in a noisy place where the audio can’t be heard (for example, on public transportation)
  • Learn better with two methods of input (visual and audio)
  • and more

Video captions should enhance comprehension. Remember, MIT and Harvard got into trouble even though they had captions. Simply captioning a video isn’t enough. Captions must be readable and accurate.  


Sustainable workflow

There are many ways to caption your lecture videos, all with their own balance of speed, accuracy, and cost considerations. Whichever method you choose, make sure it is a sustainable, scalable workflow that can handle the amount of content you need to caption on an ongoing basis.

  • Human captioning (third-party)
    This highly-accurate method lets you outsource captioning to a company that specializes in that service. They listen to the lectures and manually transcribe them, word by word. If this method is integrated into your learning management system (LMS), it can be a simple, one-click way to get your lecture videos captioned. Highly-integrated lecture capture systems now automatically upload the resulting caption files to the videos, so you don’t have to do anything once the captions are delivered. Even if you need to attach the video caption files manually, it’s still a relatively hands-off approach. Although this method is the most costly, its advantages are significant.
  • Human captioning (in-house)
    By assigning captioning to your own students or staff, you gain the benefits of accurate captioning while staying within budget. As soon as a lecture video is recorded, it’s sent off to the appropriate people (assigned by you), including a set of people who review the captions before they’re released. Final captions can be automatically associated with the proper lecture video. The latest lecture capture systems offer this option, which is gaining popularity.
  • Auto-captioning (speech-trainable)
    In this method, each instructor “trains” a caption engine to recognize their own personal speech patterns, leading to highly-accurate captions. There is a time investment in training the engine, however, the result can be well worth it. 
  • Auto-captioning (out of the box)
    This speech-to-text option has a much higher accuracy rate than in years past.  Now, you can achieve as great as 90% accuracy from the start, with no speech-training needed.

Built-in ADA-checking lets you see when a caption needs fixing.
Regardless of captioning method, you’ll still want to review the final video captions. Some words are notoriously difficult to caption (proper names, abbreviations, industry-specific terms, acronyms, and more), and need extra attention.

Establish a captioning plan

Given the sheer quantity of lecture videos integral to online and hybrid courses, video captions need considerable attention. As with most technology changes, the most difficult part is not the technology itself, but the human side of implementation and maintenance. The sooner you start, the better. Round up a budget and support staff to tackle the issue, including a concrete plan of action.

New videos

Make sure any new technology you acquire (lecture capture system, video creation software, etc.) has high-quality captioning built into the workflow, so new lecture videos are captioned accurately from the start. Captions should include exportable caption files, be searchable, and work on mobile devices. Train faculty on how to use the system, so accessibility is part of all lecture videos, going forward.

Searchable video captions make it easier to find lecture topics and terms.

Video captions should work on mobile devices, especially considering students’ growing preference for using mobile devices for coursework.

Existing Videos

  • Caption any specific requests that come in. Task a team of people to handle these requests — an eLearning department, online programs team, or your general help desk. Make sure faculty and students know who (and how) to ask for assistance when they need an older video captioned.  
  • Map out a timeline to caption older video content, aiming for the most popular and/or widely used content first. If your current lecture capture system offers viewing analytics, you can use those stats to get a good idea of which videos reach the most students. Alternatively, you can caption videos in large survey courses, or simply ask instructors which videos they think need attention first – ones that are used in multiple course sections, or re-purposed across several terms or semesters.
  • Once you’ve captioned videos with the most impact, work your way back from there. This is a good time to take inventory of older content. Purge anything out of date or otherwise obsolete, so you don’t have to caption it. The content that remains should be more manageable. If you’re using a third-party human captioning service, you can use a longer return-time frame to save on outsourcing costs.

Your videos must be accessible

Having captioned videos is great, but you need to make sure the rest of your online experience is accessible, too. That includes your media player (the online controller with the play, pause, etc. buttons that plays your videos), the LMS hosting your videos and other learning content (such as Blackboard, Moodle, etc.), electronic documents and images (online syllabi, assignments, etc.), course website (if you’re not using an LMS), and any other online resources your class will need surrounding your videos.

Everything must:

  • Be keyboard-accessible, so that your keyboard (not just your mouse) can navigate through everything. The Tab key should let you travel through elements. Each element must have a text description.
  • Be readable by a screen-reader (such as JAWS) so that students who are blind or visually impaired  can access the content. Still images, charts, graphs, and tables must include accurate and comprehensive alternative text so that the screen-reader can describe them.
  • Have clear navigation, with commonly-known menu names, terms, and placement, so that people can find their way around. For example, the navigational terms ‘home,’ ‘back,’ and ‘top,’ are well known and less likely to cause confusion as compared with custom menu terms that students have never seen before. Section 508 also requires that repeated navigation elements need to appear in the same relative order throughout the website or resource, to make navigation intuitive. Hyperlinks must be descriptive so that the user knows where the link will take them. Avoid links that read “click here” or “read more,” etc.    
  • Allow enough time. When a timed response is required — such as in a video quiz, online test, etc. — your video or system must notify readers visually (as well as a non-visual method, such as by sound) that the end-time is approaching. In addition to the notice, there must be a way for the student to ask for more time.
  • Use color and light wisely. Make sure your online systems uses high-contrast text and background (for example, black text on a white background). Be careful to avoid colors that would pose an issue for students who are colorblind or have other visual impairments; do not use color as the only way to convey navigation or meaning. Avoid blinking/flickering lights (specifically, don’t use more than three “flashes” per second), to avoid triggering people with seizure or other light sensitivities. 
  • Allow enough control. In the case of the media player, that means students must be able to tab through and control the video play options (start, pause, etc.) with their keyboard or mouse. Variable Speed Playback (VSP) is also a requirement. This lets students slow down or speed up the pace of the video, so they can more easily comprehend what’s being said.
  • Communicate through more than one sense – If the main indicators are visual (such as a menu button or photo), there must be another way that communicates through a different sense (such as sound, which can be achieved by voice-output of a screen reader), so that people with hearing and visual impairments can access the content.

Accessibility - Media players should let students adjust the volume and the playback speed.
For full details of the new rules,
see the original text of the changes. Regardless of where you are with accessibility, reaching Section 508 compliance is possible, with the right process, training, tools, time, and effort.  The benefits of accessibility not only helps students with disabilities achieve success in your programs, it also provides students of all abilities with valuable review material and helps them engage more meaningfully in their coursework.

Have you heard about the latest advancements in lecture capture?  TechSmith Relay offers integrated third-party captioning capability, role assigned captioning, and highly-accurate auto-captioning, with an ADA caption checker that highlights any captions that need fixing.  Learn more about how to create and share ADA-compliant video lectures with TechSmith Relay.

The post The New 508 Compliance Rule – What it Means for Video in Higher Ed appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

10 Ways You Can Use Video to Enhance Your Digital Learning Content

Whether you’re teaching an online course or using digital learning content to enhance your face-to-face class, video is a crucial component to keep students immersed in the subject matter.

Digital learning expectations

What kind of video do you need? Here’s the good and the bad news – online learning is changing. Gone are the days when you could just record your 2-hour long lectures, and throw a syllabus onto your LMS. Today’s students expect a more interactive, engaging experience; one that helps them connect with you and their fellow classmates.

Ten ways to add video to your digital learning content

So how do you use video as a quality component of your digital learning content in your online or blended courses? Here are ten ways to significantly improve your digital learning content and online teaching (or enhance your in-person classroom).

1. Record bite-size video lessons (ditch the long lectures)

Instead of recording your full-length lecture, break it up into shorter videos. According to a study conducted by TechSmith in 2016 about video viewership, most people prefer videos that are 6 – 15 minutes long. You can make videos on specific topics, sections, or other logical subsets of your lecture material. You can even record lessons on the topics that you notice students struggle with again and again.


Record video lessons for your online or blended courses

Michael Busby teaches at Murray State University where he record video lessons for use across multiple geography courses.

2. Personalize your digital learning presence

When you’re teaching exclusively online, you need to make an extra effort to connect with your students. Make a quick video to personally launch your e-course, so students can get acquainted with you. You can introduce each unit, or the week’s topic, to give students a head’s up about what you expect, and to lay the foundation.

Include webcam to personalize your online teaching

Dr. Brian McCarthy includes webcam in his video lessons as an additional way to personalize online lessons, so students can see his facial expressions.

3. Flip a lesson

Instead of lecturing during class, record video lessons for students to watch ahead of time. They’ll come to class already knowing the basics, so you can spend in-class time on higher order activities such as in-depth discussions, practical application, group projects, or 1:1 time answering questions.

4. Teach when you’re absent

When bad weather keeps you from class (or the flu….or any myriad of other unexpected reasons), you can still stay on schedule. Record video lessons that students can watch anywhere, even from home.

5. Talk through assignment grading

Instead of marking up student papers with a red pen, talk through your comments in a quick video. You can point out exactly what you mean more quickly than writing it out longhand, and students will love being able to hear you personally explain the feedback.

Instead of writing down feedback, narrate it in a video

Tracy Schaelen uses video to show how you can walk through feedback on a student essay paper.

6. Teach hands-on skills

Some things are best shown in person. Science labs, practical applications in nursing, medicine, culinary, electronics, and more. Make sure all your students see your demonstration by recording a video, so sick or absent students can catch up, and any students can re-watch as much as they need.

7. Let students create videos

Engage students with the technology they love. Have them create videos to explain topic understanding, make in-depth visual projects, and record assignments. They’ll love being able to express themselves with more depth than text alone, and they can efficiently capture group projects for you to evaluate at your convenience.

Let students create videos for assignments

Dr. Dan Anderson challenges his students to communicate visually with video projects.

8. Build a valuable study resource

Lecture recordings help students study for exams, so they can go back and re-watch lessons from the beginning of the semester. Especially when there is a lot of content to cover, this is a priceless way to refresh learning.

9. Measure learning, in the moment

Passive video is passé. Make your videos interactive by adding quizzes that pop up within your videos. You’ll see what students are learning in real-time, and can get their responses to the content, as a two-way conversation.

10. See who’s engaged (and help those who aren’t)

You can also take advantage of the latest video analytics tools to immediately see which students are watching your video lessons, and how much they’re watching. You’ll get an idea of how the class is participating as a whole, and can step in to assist the students who aren’t watching the material, for crucial early intervention.

Start Small

Even if you’re not using e-learning methods currently, you can start small and incorporate video into one lesson. Watching how much students love interacting with technology may incentivize you to incorporate more (and you might appreciate the flexibility in teaching as well).

Ready to create your first video? You can record it in just a few minutes, from your own computer, even at home. Camtasia is trusted in higher education for online and flipped learning, and offers a free, fully-functional trial.

The post 10 Ways You Can Use Video to Enhance Your Digital Learning Content appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

Give Your Instructors a Break: How to Streamline Lecture Capture

As universities integrate digital media into instruction to stay competitive, faculty is often expected to quickly master and use video technology for lectures, class discussions and more.

For some, this additional responsibility can be overwhelming and stressful.

If you want to balance your university’s need to provide cutting-edge technology with your desire to ease the transition for instructors, you should aim to provide video tools that make the capture and publishing of lectures as easy and automated as possible.

With Ensemble Video, your university will be able to give instructors a break from the common headaches caused by many of today’s technology resources. Want to see just how simple it can be to streamline lecture capture? All it takes are these three steps.

How simple is it to streamline lecture capture? You can do it in 3 simple steps.
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Step 1: Install Recording Devices

With our lecture capture solution Ensemble Studio, your university won’t have to set up complex video hardware or invest in expensive equipment. Our team will work directly with your IT staff to install the Matrox Monarch LCS or the Matrox Monarch HD lecture capture hardware in lecture halls and classrooms.

The Matrox Monarch devices are small, affordable and easy-to-use recording appliances that can be installed in just about any campus location. Both the LCS and HD models can record lectures, livestream events and immediately publish videos for on-demand viewing at the conclusion of each recording session.

In addition, the Matrox Monarch LCS is a unique video recorder equipped with two video inputs, which allows instructors to pair video of themselves with presentation slides or other lecture materials for an enhanced side-by-side or picture-in-picture viewing experience. That’s a major improvement over the typical setup, in which video, audio and a computer source are combined into a single stream.

Step 2: Set up Publishing Destinations, Schedule Lectures and Start Capturing

Once you’ve installed the Matrox Monarch LCS or the Matrox Monarch HD, your university will be ready to streamline lecture capture with Ensemble Studio.

Before capturing their first lecture, each instructor should choose the destination(s) they want their recordings to publish to, such as a course playlist, LMS playlist or website. Then, instructors can choose to capture lectures on an automated or an ad hoc basis. Those who choose to automate lecture capture can schedule the date, time, location, recurrence and publishing destination of their lecture recordings through your institution’s IT team or on their own with administrative access. Those who prefer to record on an ad hoc basis simply press record and stop within their Ensemble Studio account, and their video is then securely saved in their library.

At the end of each recording (whether it is scheduled or captured ad hoc), lectures and complete livestreams automatically publish to the instructor’s desired destinations for on-demand viewing. Immediately after the class is over, students can begin watching the lecture and reviewing the material on their own schedule, from any device.

Step 3: Customize the Viewing Experience (Optional)

Following publication, instructors may want to supplement their lecture recordings with other materials to enhance student understanding. Instructors can customize the viewing experience and add additional depth to their lectures by layering clickable annotations over their videos or adding relevant attachments and links. Additionally, if an instructor thinks their lecture is too long or repetitive, he or she can also trim video content to the desired length for optimal viewing time and relevancy.

Ensemble Video also offers various captioning options for instructors to make lecture videos accessible to all students and further streamline lecture capture. Instructors can use the automatic captions feature, or use the free closed captioning editor to easily create captions. Once captions are in place, students can use the “search inside video” functionality to search captions and instantly jump to points of interest inside lecture videos.

Are you ready to streamline lecture capture at your university?

Schedule a demo or request a trial with Ensemble Video today to learn more about how Ensemble could benefit your school.

Finding the right video platform to handle your university’s unique and dynamic needs can be tough.

streamline lecture capture

Are you starting to think about looking for a new video platform, but unsure whether it’s really worth making a switch? We’ve developed a brief, 10-question quiz to help you figure out if it’s time to make a change.

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Five Reasons Why a University Video Platform Will Make Your Instructors’ Jobs Easier

Five Reasons Why a University Video Platform Will Make Your Instructors’ Jobs Easier

There is constant buzz about the increasingly important role video is playing in student learning. Universities of all shapes and sizes are providing opportunities for students to watch lectures outside of class and learn at their own pace.

But students aren’t the only ones who benefit from an increased emphasis on video. Many professors and instructors report that they’re more effective when they use video to supplement lectures and classroom instruction. In order to truly realize the benefits of video, however, instructors need access to a university video platform that streamlines video capture, publishing, management and engagement. Here are five ways a university video platform will make your instructors’ jobs easier.

Here are five ways a university video platform will make your instructors’ jobs easier.
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1. With a university video platform, instructors can automatically record and publish video content

With a platform like Ensemble Video, universities can use scheduled lecture capture to ensure every lecture is recorded and published automatically. Instructors don’t have to worry about making sure their technology is functioning correctly or remembering to press “record” before they begin a lecture. They can simply focus on teaching, and the video platform will handle the rest. With Ensemble Video, video files are also automatically encoded to a standardized output for multi-device viewing.

If your institution uses a learning management system (LMS) to manage coursework, your university video platform should be able to integrate with it seamlessly and publish content directly to each course’s LMS page. If you’re not using a LMS, automatic web publishing tools make it easy for instructors to publish videos or video playlists on virtually any website.

Taking advantage of automation means instructors can spend more time teaching and engaging with students, and less time managing video content.

2. With a university video platform, instructors can track and monitor student engagement

Students at universities that use a video platform can re-watch lectures and class videos whenever they want, on any device. As they do, instructors get access to valuable viewer analytics.

Instructors can track content popularity, see how students interact with media, learn which sections of their videos are most popular and more. To further enhance student engagement, instructors can create video annotations that direct students to more information on core topics covered in class lectures or to supplement materials on frequently re-watched video segments. If students want to revisit a more granular topic, they can also “search inside” the video for any word or phrase used by the instructor and jump to that moment in a single click.

Access to viewer analytics allows instructors to see what topics students are struggling with and what course material is the most popular. With this information, instructors can design lesson plans that effectively cater to student needs.

3. With a university video platform, instructors can be more creative

Video has a wide range of educational applications that go beyond lecture recordings. Many instructors are finding that integrating video into their class curriculum makes lectures more dynamic and keeps students more engaged.

Some instructors are creating blended learning environments where traditional lectures are supplemented with digital media and computer-mediated activities. Others are experimenting with the flipped-classroom approach, through which students learn new material by watching lectures outside of class and then reviewing material in the classroom through instructor-led discussion, problem-solving activities and more.

The creative possibilities are endless, but no matter which route they choose to take, a university video platform gives instructors the tools they need to use video to foster better student outcomes.

4. With a university video platform, instructors can more easily assign, receive and grade student work

The most robust university video platforms are equipped with a video and audio dropbox feature. Through this feature, students can easily submit video and other media content for grading. Upon submission, their media assignments are automatically placed into a private media library for instructors to view, edit and then publish for public viewing if they wish.

This easy process gives instructors the freedom to assign creative projects without worrying about the technical side of managing student submissions. In return, students can creatively showcase what they’ve learned, and instructors can even publish the best student projects for class-wide viewing using their university’s video platform.

5. With a university video platform, instructors can bridge the gap between academic and practical application

With a university video platform, teachers can add value to their lessons by showing students how course topics connect to the real world and testing their aptitude with different skills. If, for example, your university has a job training program that tests students in realistic simulations or scenarios, features like automatic lecture capture make it easy for instructors to record students in action, watch their performance afterward and provide meaningful feedback. This approach is used commonly in sales training, medical school OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations) and more.

No matter the field ––business, science, medicine or the arts––a university video platform helps instructors train students to excel post-graduation.

Is your university ready to take advantage of a video platform like Ensemble Video?

A university video platform makes it easy for instructors to manage media, create an engaging learning experience and improve student outcomes. Ready to learn more? Take a look at our higher education case studies or set up a demo to see the power of Ensemble Video for yourself.


Why Youtube Isn’t Enough For Your University

Why Youtube Isn't EnoughFrom classroom lectures to special events like graduation, your university needs customization options to meet your wide range of video needs. And YouTube just isn’t enough. Read Ensemble Video’s resource to learn about the 15 limitations you’ll get stuck with when you rely on YouTube.

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How to Host Lecture Videos at Your University

As universities begin to integrate digital media like video lectures more deeply into class curriculum, it’s becoming more important than ever for instructional technologists like you to carefully select the right video platform for your school.

The first thing you should think about when making this decision is how your university will host its video content and technology. Do you want to self-host your video platform, or host it on the cloud? Both are popular models, but understanding the key differences between them will allow you to make an informed decision. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of each option as you consider how to host lecture videos and other video content.

Here's what you need to know about cloud-hosted vs. self-hosted video platforms.
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Cloud-hosted video platform

Quick setup process

Through a cloud-hosted deployment, or software as a service (SaaS), your university can quickly leverage the full functionality of an education video platform without installing the technology onto your local network and in your data center. The setup process for a cloud-hosted video platform like Ensemble Video’s takes as little as one to three business days, so this is a good choice for universities that want to have their video platform up and running quickly.

Zero in-house maintenance

Unlike a self-hosted video platform, a cloud-hosted video platform requires no in-house maintenance in order to stay up and running. Because the cloud server is fully managed by Ensemble Video, your team won’t have to manage servers or installations, and all software and license updates will be completely automatic. All you need to manage your cloud-hosted video platform is a personal computer or mobile device.

Smaller higher education institutions generally do not have the desire or IT team necessary to update, backup and maintain a self-hosted platform, so for them, the cloud is a convenient solution. But cloud-based deployments aren’t just for small schools. There are many larger universities that decide they’d rather host their video platform in the cloud to minimize the workload for their IT teams. We have cloud-hosted customers with many users in various locations who manage tens-of-thousands of videos for multiple internal departments.

Streamlined costs

Cloud-hosted video platforms require less upfront financial commitment. Instead of investing the resources necessary to build your own internal server, you can simply pay a monthly fee for your cloud service, get it up and running almost instantly and cancel whenever you’d like. When you’re considering how to host lecture videos, cost will undoubtedly be a concern, so keep this in mind.

Self-hosted video platform

Full customization capabilities

Self-hosted video platforms are a good fit for universities looking for full customization capabilities through complete control of their internal servers and additional technology resources. Self-hosted video platforms support self-organized administrative management, flexible media management and an unlimited number of institutions, organizations, media libraries and users operating within the platform. With this option, administrators can manage media assets inside their data center and seamlessly upload video content to their video platform. If your institution places a high premium on control and flexibility and has emphasized these concerns already in discussions about how to host lecture videos, self-hosting may be the better solution for you.

Increased reliability and technical efficiency

Because all data is stored and managed locally through a self-hosted video platform, no video or media content will be lost as a result of an internet issue. Internet outages are inevitable, but with a self-hosted solution, you minimize the risk of losing access to lecture videos if an outage occurs.

At larger universities, it’s likely that a high number of users will be uploading and viewing videos simultaneously. Depending on your university’s bandwidth, network saturation problems could arise with a cloud-hosted solution. Self-hosted solutions are better equipped to handle large amounts of internal viewership, and are more reliable and efficient when serving a high volume of users on campus.

Increased content and system security

With a self-hosted video platform, it’s possible to enforce system-wide security settings. Users and administrators enjoy end-to-end security features, where they can control user, playlist and password viewing restrictions, video access, privacy updates and more.

Because all media content is hosted on your internal server as opposed to a third party server, self-hosted platforms are also less susceptible to hacks by external users.

Implementing the right deployment model for your university

Now that you better understand the difference between cloud-hosted and self-hosted deployment options, the next step is to choose and implement the right model for your institution.

If neither option feels exactly right for your university, don’t worry. In addition to our cloud-hosted and self-hosted solutions, Ensemble Video offers hybrid variations of the two deployment options, and we’d be happy to work with you to design a deployment option that is the perfect fit for your needs.

To get a better feel for which video deployment option might be best for your students, faculty and university media department, take a look at the Ensemble Video trial options or set up a demo today. Our team will be with you every step of the way to answer your questions as you continue to explore the question of how to host lecture videos at your university.

Business School Provides Lecture Capture Installation from Ensemble Video

Changing paradigms are reshaping demands in the global marketplace; for sales personnel to keep abreast of these changes, they have to adopt modern tools and business approaches.

Stetson University  is the longest-serving business school in the state of Florida, with more than a century of expertise in the field. Its educators are committed to bridging the gap between academia and practical application, providing first-in-class training for students that integrates classroom learning into real-life situations relevant to today’s business environments.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, Stetson will launch the Centurion Sales Excellence Program, open to approximately 100 students. This major and minor degree-granting program will provide multi-disciplinary exposure to academic study in addition to practical training and skill development, all while fostering partnerships with businesses throughout central Florida.

“I was drawn to Stetson because of their vision to take this program—and its students—to the next level,” explained John Riggs, Executive Director of the Centurion Sales Excellence Program. “Stetson’s program will be uniquely structured to bridge the gap between academia and practical application.”

Winning Strategy

The advent of the Centurion Program lets Stetson University take advantage of lecture capture technology and video management  within a single, cost-effective solution. Matrox and Ensemble Video form the backbone of a pilot project—with sights on a complete deployment for the entire Stetson media ecosystem—comprising Matrox® Monarch™ LCS H.264 streaming and recording appliances and Ensemble Video’s content management and distribution platform.


“Ensemble Video and Matrox share a belief that video technologies should be simple, powerful, and affordable,” said Scott Nadzan, VP of marketing and sales, Ensemble Video. “Integrating Ensemble Video with the Matrox Monarch LCS delivers an innovative lecture capture and video management solution ideally suited for educational institutions. We are pleased to be part of this ambitious pilot program as we collectively push the boundaries of lecture capture solutions.”

Bridging the Academic/Practical Gap

The epicenter of the Centurion Sales Excellence Program is its innovative facilities, featuring three specialized sales training labs outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment from Ensemble Video and Matrox; these tools form the lynchpin between learning and practice. Within these labs, students will develop and hone their skills in sales, practicing role-play with customers with the aid of superior encoding technology.

Each lab is equipped with a Monarch LCS encoder , connected via the network to the robust Ensemble Video platform, which centralizes commands over the Monarch LCS appliances, the Wowza Streaming Engine™ media server software, and the university’s designated lecture management system (LMS), Blackboard®. Professors and students access the Blackboard interface to schedule times to use the lab equipment; behind the scenes, Ensemble Video sends the schedule command to the individual Monarch LCS appliances, automatically starting and stopping encoding events at the slated times.

Once each scheduled recording is complete, the Ensemble Video platform publishes the videos to Blackboard so that students and professors can access the final files. Reviewing the Monarch LCS-encoded footage for audio and visual cues to improve upon is a key element of the business training at Centurion. On-demand access to their recordings means students can readily track their progress throughout the semester.


A unique feature of the Centurion Sales Excellence Program is the peer mentorship built into the curriculum. Students take on peer review responsibilities, with senior students helping train first-year students in the finer points of effective sales. The Monarch LCS features a variety of operating modes, including picture-in-picture (PiP) and side-by-side (SbS); students can select their preferred layout configuration before they record their practice videos.

Ensemble Video’s platform streamlines management of videos, providing supplemental tools to augment the video recordings. The platform includes an automatic captions feature, which overlays captions on the Monarch LCS encodings; a unique “search inside” feature lets students search captions  for key words and jump directly to points of interest within their videos. Videos can be annotated with comments and notes—applied directly through the Ensemble platform—helping students track feedback from peers and professors. With H.264 compatibility and the Wowza Streaming Engine, students can use any device, PC, or tablet to access their video content on demand.

A powerful pair, the Monarch LCS and Ensemble Video platform provide the Centurion Sales Excellence Program with the flexibility to encourage student-directed practice throughout the semester, and a smooth transition into more formal testing environments come the end of term. For their final presentation students are required to deliver a real-world sales presentation, wherein they enter the lab and have one opportunity to deliver their address, just as in a live business interaction.

Captains of Industry


Dr. Neal Mero, Dean and Professor of Management

Stetson University has high aspirations for its graduates, and is confident that this pilot project is the launch pad necessary to propel its students into successful sales positions.

“Few skills are more important than that of being an effective and persuasive communicator, and that is the key to the success of our students,” said Neal Mero, Ph.D., dean and professor of management, School of Business Administration, Stetson University. With state-of-the-art technology at their command, Stetson University eagerly looks ahead to rolling out their pilot initiative into full-scale deployment throughout their three campuses.

“Video encoding technology has been shown to be an integral part of effective experiential learning, especially in sales training,” noted Francesco Scartozzi, director of sales (Americas), Matrox. “Matrox Monarch LCS with the Ensemble Video platform offers a powerful and flexible, yet cost-effective solution for both ad-hoc and scheduled sales pitch capture. This pilot project with Stetson really showcases the potential of lecture capture appliances to be used in both traditional and unique deployments to suit any installation need.”

Software Lecture Capture in Classrooms and Auditoriums!

Ensemble Anthem Pro is a new addition to the the Ensemble suite of products.  Ensemble Anthem is our original screen capture product, supporting personal screen capture. Ensemble Anthem Pro is a software lecture capture tool for managed classroom computers and lab machines. If you don’t know what lecture capture is just know that it is an umbrella term describing technology that allows instructors to record what happens in their classrooms and/or on their screen so they can make it available online in a Learning Management System (LMS) for their students.

The addition of Ensemble Anthem Pro gives you deployment flexibility because Ensemble Anthem can be loaded on personal computers for personal capture and Ensemble Anthem Pro can be loaded on imaged Windows computers across your network. This means you can deploy Ensemble Anthem Pro to support simple lecture capture in classrooms and auditoriums! Additionally, Ensemble Anthem Pro can be installed in computer labs to support student capture (screen, webcam and audio).

From small-scale departmental deployments to large-scale campus-wide installations, you won’t find an easier, affordable and flexible lecture capture solution than Ensemble Anthem and Ensemble Anthem Pro.


Screen CaptureThe addition of Ensemble Anthem Pro is a significant addition to an already extremely popular product, Ensemble Anthem. Ensemble Anthem is a powerful Mac and Windows screen-capture solution supporting your lecture capture, screen capture and flipped learning needs. Ensemble Anthem enables users to easily record your screen movements with audio, and/or record video from a webcam.

Once the user has finished their screen capture it is automatically uploaded into their Ensemble Video library and can be auto-published to any playlist or LMS. Ensemble Video has simple and effective LMS integrations in Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle and Brightspace by Desire2Learn.


Learn How to Get Anthem Pro for FREE!