A versatile and sustainable video streaming service
By Kristopher Moore and Annette Smith
The demand for versatile, high-quality multimedia in higher education is rapidly increasing. As faculty, staff, and students across NYU’s Global Network University embrace the diverse media options available to them, they are presenting new challenges and opportunities for the NYU staff who support their efforts to be creative and engaged global citizens. NYU Stream, a new service from ITS, provides NYU community members with a versatile and sustainable video streaming service to meet these needs.
NYU Stream was initially rolled out as a pilot project in the fall of 2011, with faculty from NYU Abu Dhabi, Tisch School of the Arts, Silver School of Social Work, and the NYU College of Dentistry using the service to integrate rich media and distance learning content into their coursework. The service has been modified and enhanced in response to the feedback of the pilot participants, and is now available to NYU students in degree and diploma programs, as well as administrators and staff at all of NYU’s Global locations.
Managing media content
NYU Stream exemplifies the experience that the Global Network University strives for by providing the NYU community with an engaging, multi-dimensional, and collaborative communication platform. Using open source video technology from Kaltura, Inc., NYU Stream can prepare several different types of video formats for both standard and high-definition web streaming. The service allows 50GB of storage space and features a wide range of functions, including on-demand viewing and recording via web cam. NYU Stream offers multiple ways to manage content via access control, sharing capabilities, and tagging content. All of this is done through a sophisticated system handling the technical aspects of transcoding, compressing, and streaming high-definition video.
NYU Stream’s innovative technology makes preparing and distributing video a do-it-yourself process. By simplifying the complicated codecs and formatting procedures that used to be associated with video distribution, this service allows faculty to concentrate on the instructional elements of video. NYU Stream videos can then easily be integrated into Blackboard, NYU Classes, NYU Wikis, and many other services by using an embed code that is produced with each uploaded video.
With NYU Stream, faculty members now have more ways to utilize media as a powerful teaching component, and to implement diverse pedagogical strategies that support media into their curriculum. For example, Jack Ford, a journalist and visiting lecturer at NYU’s College of Arts and Science, made use of the NYU Stream pilot to enhance teaching and learning for his fall 2011 freshman seminar, “Trials of the Century.” Using the embed code, Professor Ford incorporated engaging and instructional videos directly into a Blackboard course site. Because the NYU Stream platform allows playlists to be embedded, when he uploaded new videos he was able to tag them to automatically appear with the other videos in his Blackboard course site.
Tazuko Shibusawa (Associate Professor of Social Work; Associate Dean, Professional Programs), used NYU Stream video as an observation and assessment tool by requiring students in her fall 2011 class, “Clinical Practice with Couples,” to upload a 5-minute video analyzing different elements of couples therapy for their final presentations. She was able to critique each presentation and provide her students with valuable feedback using the video as a visual point of reference.
In addition to enriching curricula, NYU Stream can connect the greater NYU community via its public facing video portal. It provides a YouTube-like experience, allowing authorized NYU community members to upload and share content with the NYU community and beyond. NYU Stream helps form stronger connections between faculty, staff, and students by sharing experiences between all of NYU’s Global Network University locations. For example, when NYU partnered with the Bickel & Brewer Foundation to host a global debate program, organizers were able to match undergraduates against each other in one of NYU’s first student activities that spanned the entire Global Network University. Students in New York, Abu Dhabi, London, and Shanghai were all able to share their contest submissions from their local sites.
NYU Stream encourages and supports NYU’s diverse student body, providing a forum where peers can illuminate ideas and share their academic endeavors. Students who are studying in different disciplines can now reach out to a global network to invite collaboration in new ways. The NYU Stream interface was designed to facilitate this type of communication by providing different academic categories and channels to help guide students to related areas of interest.
Because students, faculty, and administrators have such different needs, finding a video service that can support their various requirements has been a daunting task. The NYU Stream service team recognizes these challenges and is designing different training and support strategies to help guide all NYU community members, regardless of role, through the different stages of working with the service.
NYU Stream became a full-fledged NYU service this fall, and ITS continues to make improvements to the web interface as well as the underlying software that runs the system. We encourage you to try the service by uploading your own videos at stream.nyu.edu, and to send your questions and feedback to the NYU Stream service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYU Stream can be accessed at stream.nyu.edu or via the NYUHome channel in the Academics tab. Additional information about NYU Stream, including training opportunities at theDigital Studio and basic instructions on how to publish a lecture or other multimedia content, can be found on the NYU Stream support website.