Update: I gave up on Kaltura. Despite the warm and fuzzy outlook that follows I later found the information available for supporting it extremely poor. I wrote about that here if you’d like to read it.
When I came to UMW last year there were few options available to students and faculty that wanted to publish media content online. We’ve always encouraged folks to push their stuff to YouTube, Vimeo, or Blip where the hosting was free and the embedding options were simple. We even made it easy to embed in blogs by making use of plugins like Viper’s Video Quicktags which works like a charm (oembed options now are pretty good too, but a bit hit or miss occasionally).
That being said the issues surrounding copyright of educational content online has made the waters a bit muddy. Student work gets pulled from YouTube and thus begins the game of cat and mouse finding where and how long a video can be up on a service before getting pulled for daring to include any content that a company might decide to claim ownership of. Meanwhile for departments that were creating fully originally content that they might not want hosted on free and ad-supported networks there was little recourse.
I think those days are now over. After working closely with the great IT department at UMW to get a new media server online we’ve gotten a copy of the open source version of Kaltura installed and it’s working really well. A great example of this is the Great Lives series at UMW which previously used a paid Vimeo Pro account for all the video hosting and embedding. Below is an example of how the videos look:
Branded players, a transcoding system that allows for multiple formats including iOS friendly H.264 files, and an entire syndication system for publishing the content to other platforms like iTunesU are just some of the features we’re playing around with now and it feels great to know we can do all this on a system that we own, with no bandwidth or size limitations, no cost passed off to faculty, departments, or students, and that it just works.
To make it even better we’re experimenting now with the All in One Video Plugin that will connect a user’s blog to their publishing account on our server. It lets users upload a video directly in a post to the server and gives them nice embed options automatically, as well as recording videos and video comments on the fly with their webcam.
We’ve got a lot more playing, experimenting, and testing to do to make this a great system, but I’m already impressed by what we’ve accomplished in a relatively short amount of time and it’s great to finally give folks better options for storing and serving their media without offloading it to whatever video hosting platform is alive and well today (and might not be tomorrow). If anyone else is using Kaltura at their University I’d love to know more about how you manage it and integrate it into the offerings at your institution. With Canvas having a hosted Kaltura system we’re eyeing that as a possible integration with our server next to give folks using the LMS options for owning and controlling their media better, but what else is out there? I’m anxious to know more!