Setting the lecture capture standard

Kaltura’s Jeff Rubenstein explains how a new open capture standard will help to banish video data siloes

The adoption of rich media – and especially video content – in educational institutions is growing rapidly. Lecture theatres are being equipped with lecture capture solutions to capture large quantities of classroom video;  schools and universities are  professionally producing a good deal of instructional media; and many institutions are also offering media lab facilities to assist teachers in producing their own videos.  

Lecturers and tutors are also using live video to enhance or replace in-person contact hours with virtual classroom time, while students are creating video for online collaboration. 

In fact, in a recent survey we undertook into the use of video in education, 67% of respondents reported that students in their institution now use video for their assignments. The ease with which students and lecturers can now shoot, edit and share videos means that the video pool will continue to grow. 

This is good news all round, because video has a major role to play in improving learning outcomes. But this surge in video content has also thrown the spotlight on a growing problem: video siloes. The fragmentation of video assets on campus may not have been considered an issue until recently. But, as enterprises have already found out to their cost, a siloed data mentality is fraught with issues in the long term. The problems stem from legacy content being locked up in proprietary formats. These different formats are usually a result of using technologies from multiple vendors. For example, the formats used by those companies specialising in hardware for large-room video and audio capture differ from those used for studio recording and post-processing. And, confusing the picture further, different formats are used for teaching and learning collaboration technologies. 

The fragmentation of video assets on campus may not have been considered an issue until recently

This creates challenges for any institution looking to make free use of these assets as part of an open data strategy, making the content universally searchable and re-purposing it for other use cases where it can add value. To do so requires open access to the assets for cataloguing, tagging, archiving, managing rights and permissions.  

Key to success is the ability to transcode the assets to ensure they will play on any device and can be published on Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and other portals such as website and mobile applications for prospective students and alumni. Even in the increasingly common case where a campus invests in a centralised video management solution and begins to migrate its assets to that system, the lack of media format standardisation results in yet another expensive and lengthy project every time a new capture technology is adopted.

To help solve this problem, Kaltura is now co-chairing the development of a new IMS Open Capture standard. The goal of this new standard is to define a simple, open format for rich media that will allow easy interoperability of any standards-compliant capture solution with any compliant media management solution.

Just as other IMS standards, such as LTI, ensure interoperability between systems, the IMS Open Capture standard will give every educational institute open and easy access to its media from any Open Capture-compliant system. Users will be able to move the content and manage it in any other system as that school sees fit. 

Open and easy access to content will give universities freedom to maximise the value of their media while reducing the costs and risks involved in video asset management.