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Lecture Capture Goes Campus-Wide at Creighton University, Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of 4 posts featuring Creighton University’s BlueCast lecture capture system, powered by Panopto. These posts will cover Creighton’s implementation from trial to campus-wide capture as follows:

1.     Competition and Selection
2.     Introducing Bluecast
3.     Expanding Adoption
4.     Spotlight: Creighton live streams “Match Day” ceremony with Panopto

Creighton webcasts Match Day 2012 with Panopto

Beyond Lecture Capture

In the fall of 2010, the Department of Information Technology at Creighton (DoIT) began enabling campus-wide lecture capture with Panopto. As the DoIT team continued to extend BlueCast service to new departments throughout 2011, they kept a keen eye on the performance of their servers and network. Panopto remained fast and stable at every level of scale, so the team began allowing campus groups to utilize BlueCast for more than recording lectures.

Live streaming Match Day

Application Specialist Brent Saltzman’s growing confidence in the BlueCast system and his success broadcasting Creighton’s Presidential Convocation in 2011 encouraged him and his DoIT colleagues to use Panopto to live stream another annual event on campus.

“Match Day” happens on the third Friday of March each year across the nation’s 155 medical schools, when 4th year medical students find out where they will begin their residencies. Creighton streams the event live so families back home can see their students opening the envelopes that initiate their careers.

Creighton’s old method of streaming was to use a Windows Media Server with the Windows Encoder and require viewers to drop either an RTSP or MMS link into Windows Media Player (or QuickTime on the Mac using Flip4vid). This method had been used for a number of years, but participation was always low due to the complexity of the process.

According to Saltzman, “This year, we wanted to see what our Panopto system was really capable of. We had our reservations: We were unsure how well the system would perform under such a load in addition to the normal daily volume of lectures being captured and viewed. We were also curious to see how mass streaming would impact CU’s network. With all this in mind, we decided to go with Panopto and use our Windows Media server as a backup.”

Panopto did not disappoint. Saltzman’s team was told to expect no more than 200 viewers. Instead, they got 1,284. End users simply had to click a link to begin viewing the stream. No more complexity.

Match Day viewing statistics:

Total Unique Visitors 1,284
Total Page Views 3,970 (including refreshes)
Peak Simultaneous Views Approx. 375
Avg Outbound bandwidth 400mb
Total Countries 10
Total US States 48

“We were all very impressed that Panopto was handling over 300 simultaneous streams and still allowing regular daily recordings to upload and process,” Saltzman exclaims. “I would call it a huge success.”

After only one year in operation, the same can be said about the entire BlueCast program at Creighton University.