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Serving it Up: Choosing a Video Hosting Platform

Posted by Jim Yupangco on Nov 7, 2013

The use of video isn't a new trend in education and training, but it is a growing one. Whether you work in education or a corporate learning environment, video is often a key component of online learning. How you use video can make a big difference in learning outcomes, but video presents unique challenges: large file sizes, hosting problems, bandwidth hogging and availability across a variety of device types. If video is the future of online learning, how do you get there?

YouTube

The first platform that people think of for hosting video is YouTube. And, for many applications YouTube performs well – look at the amazing success of the Khan Academy for example. However, when you upload video to YouTube, you sign away your rights to the intellectual property that the video represents. The time and effort that it took to generate that video means it is probably worth protecting. Speaking of protection, there are potential security problems since video streams and connections are not encrypted to protect the identity of your students. Sure, you can request that videos remain private, but that makes it difficult to embed them right into your courses and students have to hunt through emails to find the video’s you’ve shared with them. Because YouTube hosts millions and millions of videos, and millions of people will be uploading at the same time, often the video encoding process can result in a long wait. The other thing about YouTube, is that it only hosts videos and does not accommodate other rich media such as audio files, documents and other formats.

Variety can Exclude Learners

PoodLL is an open source series of plugins for Moodle that adds audio and video recording and storage as well as components like stopwatches and flashcards. Files you upload to the PoodLL cloud are available to students working in your Moodle courses. PoodLL is smart, but does not convert files from one format to another, so either you have to upload several versions of a video, or your students have to be working on devices that support your standard file format – this means some people might be left out. For many users, the process of manually converting a video into multiple formats is a technically challenging feat.

Securing Your Assets

A new way to manage your video assets and embed them in courses has recently emerged. Private media hosting platforms like MediaCore and Kaltura allow you to upload and manage your video assets in a private cloud. Your intellectual property remains your own, and all sessions are encrypted both ways – up and down -- to protect student and teacher identities as well as media assets.

Multiple Formats / Multiple Devices

One of the key features that video hosting platforms offer is the automatic translation of an uploaded format into many formats to support a wide variety of devices. For example, when a person wants to watch a video from their mobile phone, MediaCore auto-detects that they require a certain file type and serves them that format. This means that anyone on any device can access the videos you have uploaded to our servers – no matter what format you uploaded. Video hosting platforms reduce latency by ensure their infrastructure can support millions of streams at once – even if the same asset is being requested. MediaCore also makes use of the Akamai Content Delivery Network – mirroring media assets on 100,000+ servers across the world, to ensure great playback regardless of viewer location.

While the speed and flexibility of video hosting platforms makes them attractive, their ease of use in terms of managing assets and embedding them easily into courses makes them even more valuable. For people working with Moodle and Totara, Mediacore takes their built-in course models and organizes videos by course to make it easy for learners, teachers and asset managers to curate their content.

Hosting platforms like MediaCore also allow you to keep tabs on what your learners are watching and how they are interacting with content on your site. This provides you with the capability to monitor how users engage with your media, and what is trending in popularity. While there are many ways to add video to your online learning experience, choosing the right hosting platform for your needs is an important consideration.

Topics: The Future of Learning

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