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Educational Continuity: we are doing it together

To exceptional circumstances, exceptional responses. And I use the word “exceptional” for its two definitions: “unusual” and “remarkable”.

At UbiCast, we are very fortunate but also have the immense responsibility to have our solutions at the heart of the educational continuity systems of many Higher Education Establishments. In this article, I will present some examples which are representative and some reflections to “learn” from the situation we are living in, in order to improve video teaching in the future.

The University of Neuchâtel still uses its amphitheaters

We are proud to support the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland since 2017 on digital transformation and video-learning. Their educational continuity plan has been cited several times by the press in recent weeks because it is “unusual” in that teachers have been asked to come and teach in empty classrooms … But equipped with UbiCast recording solutions!  This set-up made it possible to create course material of high audiovisual quality much better than recording a virtual class.

This case-study is “remarkable” because since March 15, more than 3000 new course videos have been posted online which is close to 2700 hours of content.  Most importantly, the students participated with nearly 88,000 unique views.  At the start of the confinement, the university asked us to strengthen its broadcasting infrastructure because it had planned to run production at full speed, and it worked!  Here is one of the press articles which highlighted the initiative: https://www.bilan.ch/economie/les-cours-en-ligne-vont-exploser

The CNAM accelerates its adoption to its techno-pedagogical tools

UbiCast and CNAM have been in conversations for a very long time and at the end of 2019, the CNAM trusted UbiCast to develop its educational video platform.  The context imposed by the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of our MediaServer by teachers and students.  It is “unusual” to promote and train/adopt a new tool in times of crisis, but the results are “remarkable”.  Very early on, the CNAM Digital Department put its educational continuity plan online, referencing the various tools available to its teachers and viewers.  A large number of tutorials have been produced and disseminated using UbiCast tools to familiarize users with these technical devices.  In particular, the BigBlueButton tutorial has been viewed 3,500 times in the past month.  On the other hand, the teachers were invited and supported to produce educational resources on video with our tools.  More than 650 new videos have been posted since the start of containment, while the tool has remained confidential until then (not in the “top secret” sense, but “not widely used” because it is very recent).

You can consult the CNAM educational continuity plan in the link below : http://direction-numerique.cnam.fr/plan-de-continuite-pedagogique-1149827.kjsp

The University of Lausanne produced  2000 hours of video lessons in 15 days

The health crisis linked to the pandemic has accelerated our relationship.  The desire to work together had been shared for several months already, but the pandemic accelerated everything.  As soon as we had the “Green light” from the University, and quickly cutting through a lot of “red tape”, we were able to activate a video platform in the Cloud so that the University could with its educational continuity activities.  Because a picture is worth 1000 words and a video is worth even more, I let our client explain what we have accomplished together:


Our recommendations

As I explained in the introduction, we must learn from this crisis to come out of it better: better equipped, better trained, better prepared.

Firstly, it seems important to me to remind you  that video is a greedy medium, very resource-hungry.  In addition, to make it accessible to everyone, regardless of the device or connection available, video media is not a file to store but at least 3!

Plan-de-travail-15

 
So our first piece of advice is to prepare your infrastructure. The University of Neuchâtel understood this very well: by strengthening its capacity for processing videos at the start of confinement, it absorbed the peak of creation without worry, without creating a queue for processing media so that it could be made available to students. The University has offered immediacy, which is priceless in the world we live in.
 

Plan-de-travail-13

Second, and because an incredible amount of media has been created in the past two months, we see the opportunity to make it available today. Content accessibility is a major issue for two reasons:

1- allowing students with disabilities to benefit from the same educational continuity as others
2- promoting the searchability of videos.

In fact, at UbiCast, we have the ability to automatically caption all of the content that is uploaded to the MediaServer platform. It works in several languages, the error rate is low, including on videos with “technical” terms and we can add translation. An extra advantage is that once the subtitles are available, our search engine indexes them, we can then know which word is spoken at what time in a video so that a search is most precise and relevant. possible.

Plan-de-travail-14Third, it seems crucial to us to capitalize with teachers on the uses of digital technology that they had to apply forcibly. Once the isolation measures are lifted, feedback workshops should be organized to identify what has worked well and what didn’t in order to highlight the best initiatives to spread them and multiply them amongst the faculty on a larger scale.

The ICT services of the establishments that we have been working with for almost 13 years have always been attentive on the part of the teachers regarding the educational technologies at their disposal. It is clear that the pandemic has put them in red alert mode.

Let us take advantage of this opportunity to anchor these new uses that are beneficial for learning and therefore the success of our students.

And you, what have you learned during  this period?  We will be delighted to read your comments below!

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