Mediasite Administrator Update, December 2015

As part of an ongoing effort to keep Mediasite administrators on campus informed, we created this DELTAwire article specifically for you! For help with any Mediasite questions, please contact us at mediasite-help@ncsu.edu.

This article includes information on the following topics:

Digital Accessibility Laws, Trends & Best Practices

While the rising tide of academic video has changed education for the better, it also begs the question, “How do we make these assets accessible and barrier-free to all learners?”

SonicFoundry has a mobile accessibility toolkit available covering:

  • Tips to leverage Mediasite’s accessibility support with automated closed captioning, popular screen readers and keyboard shortcuts
  • Examples of solid accessibility practices that increase engagement with faculty and students
  • Up-to-the-minute accessibility requirements, trends and best practices

Should I Use My Mediasite for Classroom Capture?

Since the My Mediasite desktop recorder (MDR) was made available to faculty and staff about a year and a half ago, it has proven to be a popular addition to the instructional toolkit and we’ve seen it used creatively in a number of situations.  

A common question is “Can I use it for classroom capture?” The short answer is it won’t work well as it is the wrong tool for the job, on a number of points.

  • The MDR is not designed for large-scale, enterprise-wide classroom capture.
  • It’s a software recorder and relies more heavily on the server for file processing than do Mediasite hardware recorders. It was designed to use more server “job farm” resources when publishing.
  • It’s meant to do one file at a time. It cannot record again until publishing is complete.
  • It uses more network bandwidth when processing/publishing than Mediasite hardware recorders.
  • It’s intended and designed for one person sitting in front of a computer, using basic webcams, microphones and screenshots. It works very well when used in that fashion, even by someone with limited production expertise.

On the other hand,

  • Mediasite hardware recorders are specifically designed and built for multi-device synchronous recording and publishing across the enterprise.
  • The hardware is standardized and has been thoroughly tested.
  • The audio and video connections are industry standard and meant to interface with professional level A/V classroom equipment.
  • More internal computer processing power and less server resources are used when publishing.
  • They can publish while recording, which is essential in many of NC State’s Mediasite classrooms.
  • Because fewer server resources are used, network bandwidth is spared by default.

These differences may seem small on a case by case basis, but NC State’s Mediasite deployment is a major enterprise-wide system that records hundreds of classes every semester. Many Mediasite-equipped classrooms record classes back to back, one after another, all day long and into the evening. There are multiple Mediasite presentations publishing between classes.

Online students are dependent upon the content, and it’s imperative that presentations publish quickly to the server and become available as soon as possible. If everyone tried to use the MDR for classroom capture, the results would overload the server, bog down the network, and would prevent recording classes back to back. That’s why it is not the best choice for classroom capture.

The MDR is an instructional tool that gives our faculty different ways to create course content, but it isn’t designed for, or capable of, enterprise-wide classroom capture. If a faculty member suggests or tries to use it for classroom capture, please encourage them to use the right tool for the job.

Record your Lectures in Spring 2016: Sign up Now

Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) invite instructors to opt-in to record their course in ClassTech classrooms that have Mediasite classroom capture recording systems. Currently, all Mediasite-equipped classrooms operated by ClassTech have audio and notes (presentation, document camera) recording capabilities, and many have cameras. To see if your assigned room is Mediasite-equipped, visit DELTA’s Classroom Capture Rooms List. (Note: Only rooms with college/department listed as OIT/ClassTech are participating in this service.)

Watching or listening to classroom lectures and discussions allows students to review material multiple times, including right before tests, which should help increase retention of the material. The recordings are not intended to serve as a substitute for attending class, but as a way to reinforce the material.

Instructors can link recorded lectures directly into their class’s Moodle site for easy student access. They may also monitor student usage—through weekly or monthly reports—to see how often students are using the recordings and if there is a correlation with student learning. Lectures are restricted to students enrolled in the section being captured, but instructors can add additional sections if they desire.

Operating Mediasite equipment to record a class is fairly simple for an instructor with moderate technical abilities. A brief equipment training session is provided, but the automated workflow makes recording your course reliable and user-friendly. There is no charge for this service.

If you wish to record your course, please visit the Classroom Capture Portal to opt-in.

Mediasite Server Maintenance

The monthly Windows Updates for the Mediasite servers will be installed on Monday, December 21 between 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. We will also be installing Mediasite v7.0.25 Hotfix-20151113 and doing some back-end server upgrades. Any and all server-side Mediasite functions may be unavailable at any time during the window, including viewing presentations, publishing and management portal functions.

Central IT extended maintenance is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Jan. 24, OIT will perform extensive system maintenance, such as data center improvements that require shutdown and movement of equipment, hardware replacement, and infrastructure configuration. This extended maintenance window will run from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday. Mediasite services may be degraded or unavailable for extended periods during this maintenance window.

If you have any questions regarding the maintenance listed above or experience any Mediasite issues, please contact mediasite-help@ncsu.edu for further assistance.

For further information and updates, please see Updates & Maintenance schedule.

UNLEASH 2016, Mediasite User Conference

The global Mediasite User Conference is the best networking venue for Mediasite enthusiasts. Whether you attend in Madison or choose to participate online, this can’t-miss event is packed with knowledge sharing, best practices and Mediasite Community networking. It’s that time of year to start thinking about Unleash 2016. Registration is open, so register and save the date for your global Mediasite User Conference, May 2-4 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Register today!

  • Select “New Registration
  • Click the category “All Access Pass
  • After the appropriate category has been selected, Click “Apply Code” Button
  • Complete the rest of the form

More Information

To learn more about Mediasite at NC State, or to see other topics covered in our next update, please contact Laura Stephenson at laura_stephenson@ncsu.edu. Your suggestions are always welcome.

Please send Mediasite help requests to mediasite-help@ncsu.edu.

Subscribe to Mediasite updates by sending the message “subscribe mediasite” to mj2@lists.ncsu.edu.