UALR Video Player

I spent some time working on providing teachers, students and university staff some resources for online videos within Blackboard 8 (Vista/CE) and Blackboard 9. Read more for some context…

First, some context. UALR does not have a campus-wide video solution managed by IT (like Kaltura or a campus-wide Youtube). When I first arrived to my new job at the university, instantly there were several major issues that struck out at me about the existing process for creating online videos. The turn around for a single video was about 3 days. This meant that 10 videos had about a month turn around. This delay was caused by the lack of automation. Therefore my primary focus (as you will see in the videos) was around automation. There was a single person working full time on video management and she had been given a set of very manual instructions written by another person who handled the videos before leaving. Cutting down on the amount of labor for this lady, meant she could spend less time handling videos and more time being productive elsewhere. Some obvious to-dos were:

  • Automate video re-encoding (utilize existing campus resources)
  • Delegate access to teachers (encourage self-service model)
  • Re-use flash video player (use parameters, instead of building new swf for each video)

Below is a video, so you can get an idea of the processes and environment before I arrived and insight into the solution provided and also why I did some of the things that I did.

This process has saved our office countless hours. While it is not perfect, it works - and is an improvement. It saves other offices time as well. For example, Disability Resources Center captions existing videos and to have one central location for search for videos saves them a lot of time. The instructors enjoy the new process as well because it allows them to be flexible with shorter turn around - usually within the hour the video is ready for playback on Blackboard.