Converging Traditional and Blended Instruction with Innovative, Unified Online Multimedia Content

Author Information
Author(s): 
Jason LaMar, Multimedia Video Web Developer, Instructional Technologies and Distance Learning
Author(s): 
Joel Nelson, Multimedia Video Web Developer, Instructional Technologies and Distance Learning
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Columbus State Community College
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 


Columbus State Community College (CSCC) is implementing a campus-wide initiative to unify and automate its lecture capture and streaming video delivery processes through its faculty and Instructional Technologies and Distance Learning (ITDL) division. Working with faculty and two primary vendors -- TechSmith and its turnkey Camtasia Relay desktop recording system as well as Kaltura and its online Content Distribution Network (CDN) video platform -- CSCC has developed a streamlined, easy-to-use solution for faculty to capture and publish lecture presentations throughout the campus. The result is an intuitive system that allows for virtually universal creation and delivery of content -- anywhere, anytime, by anybody, and to any device.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 


CSCC's ITDL division has been at the forefront of facilitating and delivering video on campus in recent years. At the same time, CSCC's Department of Nursing was seeking an innovative way to reach out its students through augmented online content. Online video content soon emerged as a bridge to connect ITDL, the Nursing Department, and Nursing students at the college. An established application development partner with TechSmith, CSCC started utilizing the Camtasia Relay suite of desktop recording tools as part of a significant pilot project with the college’s Department of Nursing in 2009. Based on the overwhelmingly positive results of that pilot, CSCC moved to campus-wide adoption of Camtasia Relay as the standard for lecture capture in late 2009. From 2010 to 2011, tremendous growth in lecture capture usage across the college -- complicated by mounting challenges in storing and presenting faculty recordings from Camtasia Relay -- led CSCC to seek out a better alternative for video content delivery. Given Kaltura's position as a leader in the CDN video storage and delivery space, CSCC facilitated an alliance between TechSmith and Kaltura to jointly develop an end-to-end solution that combined the strengths of Camtasia Relay's local, server-based system on the capture side with the benefits of Kaltura's hosted, cloud-based platform on the delivery side. The partnership between CSCC, TechSmith, and Kaltura has resulted in just that: an intuitive process that makes it simple for faculty to produce their own learning recordings -- from capturing lectures in a traditional classroom environment to creating original supplemental videos in a production environment -- and then seamlessly and transparently integrate those recordings into whatever mechanism they desire, including primarily the college's Blackboard LMS. Furthermore, the recordings are automatically and intelligently adapted to whatever method the student chooses to view them -- whether via a wired PC desktop or wireless tablet PC on campus, via a Mac or iPad at home, or via an iPhone or Droid smartphone over a cellular network. In this way, CSCC has leveled the playing field for the student consumers of academic online video content by accommodating diverse viewing methods and environments. Meanwhile, the college also has leveled the playing field for the faculty content producers so that they can focus on their subject matter expertise rather than having to worry about technical considerations.


Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 


In 2009, CSCC conducted a two-quarter pilot study of its Nursing Department using Camtasia Relay for lecture capture. During the first quarter, 66 total lectures were recorded among seven nursing courses with 483 total enrolled students. Those 66 recordings had 14,955 views, or on average about 31 views per student. During the second quarter, 74 total lectures were recorded among five nursing courses with 385 total enrolled students. Those 74 recordings had 11,993 views, or on average about 31 views per student.


We formally surveyed the first-quarter students and found that:

  • 93% of the students did not find it difficult integrating lecture capture technology into their existing learning style

  • 87% found the technology useful in their learning experience

  • 84% used the technology to study for exams

  • 63% used the technology to gain clarification on weekly topics

  • 52% used the technology to review missed lectures


We also compared the first-quarter courses' student success and retention statistics with the previous offering of the same course, where no lecture capture was available to students. We found that:

 

  • 7 of 7 courses showed an increase in passing grades

  • 4 of 7 courses showed a decrease in withdrawal rate

  • 4 of 7 courses showed an increase in mean GPA score

Finally, we have seen that lecture capture viewership across the entire college has experienced tremendous quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year growth with the campus-wide rollout of the system, following the Nursing Department's highly successful pilot study:

  • Spring 2010: 1,903 students with access -- 14,240 views

  • Summer 2010: 1,084 students with access -- 9,100 views

  • Autumn 2010: 2,381 students with access -- 18,042 views

  • Winter 2011: 2,933 students with access -- 28,851 views

  • Spring 2011: 5,271 students with access -- 82,422 views

  • Summer 2011: 4,391 students with access -- 35,549 views


How does this practice relate to pillars?: 


Learning Effectiveness
-- Online learning technology is perhaps most powerful when it is completely transparent to the user, and unified online video content follows this fundamental and effective mantra by providing a seamless creation-to-deployment experience for the faculty producers as well as a seamless deployment-to-delivery experience for the student consumers. This solution empowers the faculty to easily wield and maintain their own creative control of the video content, which in turn reinforces the academic integrity of the process and outcomes in an online environment. Informal surveys and anecdotal evidence have demonstrated noticeable gains in student comprehension and retention in various disciplines as well as overall improved faculty perception of the learning effectiveness of video content. These ongoing improvements and enhancements would not have been possible, however, without the development partnership between CSCC, TechSmith, and Kaltura.

Scale -- CSCC has made strategic investments in both local and cloud infrastructure to support a robust, flexible, and scalable platform to deliver online video content. On the capture side, increasing capacity can be easily achieved by licensing more simultaneous encodings per server or by adding more Relay servers on campus for processing video recordings. On the delivery side, since Kaltura follows a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, video storage and transfer bandwidth can be increased on an ad-hoc, as-needed basis simply through subscription licensing changes. The financial and philosophical commitment to TechSmith and Kaltura by the college's key stakeholders – including top-level cabinet members as well as IT administrators and technical specialists – has yielded considerable returns in faculty and student satisfaction in an online environment, even while CSCC has frozen tuition rates for several years in a row. Thus, this solution provides optimal educational value while echoing the college's core vision as a dynamic and diverse institution that offers accessible, affordable, lifelong learning opportunities.

Access -- As the only local community college in the central Ohio metropolitan region, CSCC recognizes that broad and reliable access to education is one of its most fundamental and important institutional values. Likewise, broad and reliable access to online video content -- on both the delivery side and the production side -- was a key goal of this solution. To that end, the adaptive and dynamic technology that powers Kaltura's delivery platform allows students to consume online video content whenever, wherever, and however they want. The "intelligent" Kaltura content player is just as comfortable delivering HTML5-based video to an iPhone over an off-campus mobile connection as it is delivering Flash-based video to a conventional PC or Mac browser over the on-campus network. And on the production side, TechSmith bundles an unlimited enterprise-wide license of the Camtasia Relay Recorder software with the server system, so all faculty are free to capture recordings whenever and wherever they want around campus -- in smart classrooms, conference rooms, their offices, or dedicated production spaces. There is even a portable version of the Relay Recorder that allows the program to be run on a self-contained USB flash drive on any Mac or PC, anywhere, extending content creation access beyond campus borders.

Faculty Satisfaction -- CSCC faculty involvement has been consistently enthusiastic since the initial pilot study in 2009. Most of the faculty participants in the evolving online video content solution have anecdotally said that the inclusion of this content has noticeably improved their teaching experience, particularly with online-only students and with students who are not native English speakers. Meanwhile, the tremendous growth of online video content production and consumption across campus can be attributed to "viral" networking among faculty -- particularly new faculty members -- who have seen the positive impact of this solution and have shared their successes with their colleagues. Many faculty users now have multiple academic quarters of recordings in their repertoire, and new users are continuously and regularly being added into the system. This combination of an ongoing, repeat user base and an expanding new user base strongly indicates faculty willingness and desire to make unified online video content an integral part of their curriculum.

Student Satisfaction -- The metrics listed in "Evidence of Effectiveness" above tell the story: CSCC students have overwhelmingly found online video content to be intuitive and beneficial to their comprehension and retention of subject matter. It has also clearly improved learning outcomes and has provided another interactive element to the online environment. By unifying this teaching resource and by making it even more accessible across a range of devices and delivery methods, the students should find even more benefit from the technology. Anecdotally, students have expressed gratitude about the availability of this solution, particularly for general remedial study and for those occasions when they are unable to attend a traditional class session. They have developed an expectation that unified online video content will be an integral part of their learning experience.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 


Production, server side
-- Camtasia Relay Server system (see server configurations under "Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice" below)


Production, client side -- A modern Macintosh or Windows computer with a microphone (USB, Webcam, headset mic, etc.) input; the Camtasia Relay Recorder application; any applications that are to be recorded (PowerPoint, Web browser, PDF reader, etc.); broadband network/Internet connection for submitting recordings for processing


Delivery -- n/a (Kaltura is a cloud-based platform that exists entirely on the Internet)


Consumption, client side -- A modern Macintosh, Windows, or Linux computer (desktop, laptop, or tablet) with broadband network/Internet connection and a modern Web browser; or an iPad, iPhone, Droid, or other smart device with a modern Web browser over Wi-Fi or a cellular connection

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

 

 

Camtasia Relay (On-Premises) System

 

 

Simultaneous Encodings

 

Estimated Costs

 

Recommended Server

1

One-time: ~ $5,000

(+25% ongoing annual maintenance agreement)

Dual-core Pentium 2.4 GHz or better with 2 GB of RAM on 64-bit Windows Server 2008

3

One-time: ~ $10,000

(+25% ongoing annual maintenance agreement)

Quad-core Pentium 2.4 GHz or better with 8 GB of RAM on 64-bit Windows Server 2008

7

One-time: ~ $15,000

(+25% ongoing annual maintenance agreement)

Eight-core Pentium 2.4 GHz or better with 16 GB of RAM on 64-bit Windows Server 2008

 

 


Kaltura Hosted (SaaS) System

 

 

Solution

 

Estimated Costs

 

Details

 

Kaltura Cross-Campus
Media Solution

 

(MediaSpace/Blackboard)

~ $50,000 annually
(scaled, based on FTE enrollment size)

Content storage and 1TB of streaming bandwidth per month

 

One-time setup and implementation fees

~ $6,500

LDAP and Camtasia Relay integration


 

References, supporting documents: 


Recording Lessons Live -- CSCC Camtasia Relay Case Study

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Tom Erney
Email this contact: 
terney@cscc.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Jason LaMar
Email contact 2: 
jlamar1@cscc.edu
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
Joel Nelson
Email contact 3: 
jnelson1@cscc.edu