7 Things Yale Looked For in a Campus-Wide Video Solution

When video first made its way into the classrooms at Yale University, it did so as it had at so many other institutions — informally, based on the needs of faculty.

A handful of enthusiastic instructors independently sought out recording tools to support specific elements of their classrooms. When things worked well, they then pushed their departments to formally support those tools.

Over the last two decades, video proved to be a useful resource at Yale — capturing lectures and labs for study and review, streaming classes and campus events for off-site viewing, enabling instructors to flip classrooms and assign video assignments, and more.

Yet, while classroom video had become valuable to faculty and students alike, it had just as quickly become cumbersome for Yale’s learning technology team.

The Challenge: Inconsistent, Inefficient Video Support

In 2014, Yale’s Technology Architecture Committee commissioned a report to better understand the full spectrum of video-related services that were currently in use at the university.

What the committee found were challenges related to the inconsistent and inefficient use of video.

Over time, the school had organically adopted a range of video services. Both Echo360 and Kaltura had been purchased as primary video systems, although Vimeo, YouTube, and iTunesU were commonly used as well. All together, the committee reported Yale had:

  • No central library for sharing media materials
  • No cross-course sharing of instructional assets, and
  • No access to video libraries on other web-based tools used for teaching

For administrators, the decentralized approach to video required staff to maintain a complex web of solutions across campus.

For students, it meant that accessing recorded lessons required them to first learn each of these solutions.

7 Essential Elements for Video

Based on this feedback, Yale sought a unified video platform that could address the needs of faculty, staff, and students in all departments. The university’s Center for Teaching and Learning, Information Technology Services team, and representatives from six of Yale’s professional schools together reviewed the capabilities of eight video platforms. Each platform was evaluated based on a range of criteria, including:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Tools for video creation and curation
  3. Accessibility
  4. Integration with Canvas and Sakai LMSs
  5. Responsiveness of customer support
  6. Live streaming
  7. Video search

In the end, Panopto was found to best meet Yale’s requirements, having scored highest on all three of the school’s highest priorities: ease of use, video creation and curation, and accessibility. After an extensive review, the working group members voted unanimously to adopt Panopto to replace the university’s existing contracts with Kaltura and Echo360.

“Video has become a fundamental part of how our students learn on-campus and online,” said John Harford, Manager of Collaboration Technologies, Yale University Center for Teaching and Learning. “As we scale the use of video across campus, it’s imperative that we have an integrated system for video management and lecture capture. Based on our evaluation criteria, Panopto emerged as the clear choice.”

Faculty-Approved Video

Along with the committee’s comprehensive analysis, Yale wanted to understand how faculty would experience Panopto in the classroom. After Panopto had been selected, three instructors were invited to use the video platform in their spring semester courses. When the pilot concluded, each enthusiastically supported making the move to Panopto.

Douglas McKee, former Associate Chair and Senior Lecturer in Economics at Yale and currently Senior Lecturer at Cornell University, found Panopto exceptionally easy to use. “Panopto’s video library is much more usable than the other platforms I’ve used (MediaCore, Echo360, and Kaltura),” wrote McKee. “Likewise, Panopto’s search is miles better. I especially like that it automatically indexes every word spoken and shown in my presentation, and that the search results point to the exact moment in the video where the search term is used — my students would *love* that.”

Sybil Alexandrov, Senior Lector in Spanish and Portuguese at Yale, was pleased with her ability to use Panopto to make her classroom more interactive. “It was great to be able to use Panopto to comment directly on the videos, then open up a discussion for the students,” reported Alexandrov.

Angela Lee-Smith, Senior Lector in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale, also reported the video platform more than met her expectations. “Panopto was very easy and convenient for course members to use, both faculty and students,” noted Lee-Smith. “I’d absolutely recommend Panopto to other instructors.”

Thinking About Making the Switch at Your Campus?

Now’s a perfect time — we’ve just announced we’re renewing our migration program for Echo360 customers. For any interested institution, we can:

  • Automatically convert your Echo360 video library to Panopto
  • Validate the integrity of your converted files
  • Provision your existing users, permissions and folder structure to Panopto

For institutions that commit to migration before September 30, 2017, we’ll waive the $3,000 professional services fee. And if you transition to our cloud-hosted video platform, we’ll also include 1,000 hours of Echo360 video conversion at no cost.

If you’d like to know more about how the program might work on your campus, just click here to learn more.

Published: April 25, 2017