7 Considerations When Choosing an Online Video Platform for Education

The use of video on campuses for teaching and learning is growing at an astonishing rate. Increasing numbers of students are requesting that professors record their lectures, driving the growth in adoption of lecture capture at universities around the world.

Girl at Computer - Panopto Online Video Platform for EducationHowever, the use of video on campus isn’t restricted to lecture recording. Teachers worldwide are using video to improve the learning experience through blended learning scenarios, flipped classrooms, student recording, campus event webcasting, and more.

Given the demand, learning technologists, faculty, and IT administrators are now faced with finding the right online video platform for their educational institutions. But what factors should they consider when evaluating solutions?

Every day at Panopto, we work with hundreds of universities, colleges, and schools worldwide that are launching online video. Here are their top considerations when choosing video platforms for their institutions:

#1: Ease of use

One of the top considerations that our customers have when evaluating video platforms is that it must be easy for everyone to use, regardless of technical ability. Viewing, uploading, capturing video, live broadcasting, and managing video content all must be intuitive to learn and simple to perform.

#2: Integration with learning management systems (LMS) and identity providers

Another critical factor in choosing a video platform is the ease and depth of integration with the school’s existing technologies. The educational video platform should offer the widest range of compatibility with the technologies already in place at your institution. Ready-made integration modules for LMSs such as Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, and Instructure Canvas enable seamless course provisioning from within the LMS. Support for existing identity systems such as Active Directory and SAML also ensure single user sign-on support and hassle-free user management.

#3: Centralized video content management

For IT administrators, one of the biggest draws of implementing a video content management system (VCMS) is the ability to consolidate all video content from various campus servers and manage it from a single, centralized resource — not unlike a “Campus YouTube.” Not only does having a central video resource streamline the user experience, but it also helps decrease IT support and management costs — particularly if a cloud-based video platform is chosen.

#4: Broad device and file format compatibility

Device compatibility affects the consideration of video platforms in two ways. First, the video platform must offer “plug-and-play” compatibility with the widest range of capture hardware and devices. From webcams to digital whiteboards, video-enabled microscopes to document cameras, the platform should be able to recognize and support recordings from nearly any capture device that can be plugged into a PC. Broad device support ensures that IT departments won’t have to worry about whether the school’s existing capture hardware is compatible with the new system, and lets professors concentrate on teaching rather than technology.

Second, the platform must be able to deliver video content to the widest range of devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablet computers. The growth in popularity of mobile devices on campus has only strengthened student expectations of being able to access course materials wherever and whenever they need. Therefore, videos must be able to be accessed from any device. To this end, the platform must be able to take videos that can be uploaded in any number of file formats and transcode them into the appropriate file types that can be viewed on all types of devices, regardless of form factor or operating system.

#5: Inside video search

Unlocking the full power of a campus video platform means enabling students to search for and find the specific parts of a video that can help them revise for exams, or revisit topics that were difficult to understand during class. However, hunting and pecking through video timelines is an inefficient and time-consuming way to search for specific content. Students should to be able to quickly find the information they’re looking for. Therefore, comprehensive video search functionality is a top priority, especially when lecture videos can often last an hour or more.

Leading educational video platforms use Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to index every word spoken or appeared during a video in addition to ingesting PowerPoint/Keynote slide content and user-generated notes, so that viewers can locate specific pieces of information, then access the relevant portion of the video with a single click.

#6: Video analytics

The availability of analytics data is a priority for both IT administrators as well as instructors. IT staff require administrative analytics, consisting of practical information on system performance such as server health and network usage.

On the other hand, instructors are particularly interested in learning analytics, which include statistics on audience engagement and viewing activity (e.g. who stopped viewing and when). This information helps professors personalize video learning modules based on how their students are engaging with the content.

#7: Automated recording

Finally, IT administrators often inquire whether recordings can be scheduled in advance, so that professors don’t need to spend precious pre-class time fiddling with technology to set up a recording.

With automated recording, administrators are able to control all the video recordings and live webcasts currently taking place at the school from a single web browser. Recordings can be remotely scheduled on a one-time basis or for recurring events, beginning and ending at any time specified by the administrator. As soon as the event or lecture ends, the recording is automatically uploaded into the school’s video library, where it is transcoded and made available for students to access on-demand.

Interested in learning more?
Panopto is the fastest growing video platform for education, with over 500 schools and universities using the system worldwide. To learn more ways you can enhance the learning experience at your school using video, contact our team for a demo, or sign up for a free 30-day trial.