Planning and Implementing Instructional Video
By Allen Burnett, Don Maue, and Edward McKaveney
Since its first experiments with instructional video
in 1995, Duquesne University has gained significant experience in producing and
delivering video for multimedia, video conferencing, and Web-based courses.
Here, three campus technology leaders examine the evolution of instructional
video at Duquesne and explain how a collaborative planning process is
shaping its future.
As faculty, students, and presenters begin to use new video capabilities at
Duquesne University, they are collaborating to make instructional video
successful and planning the technology infrastructure to support it. The
university is enhancing equipment installations and augmenting services to
support video streaming, multicasting, and Internet-based conferencing.
Most elements of a collaborative
strategic plan developed in 2001 have now been completed, including: sharing
results of faculty members using video, developing university standards,
providing consulting and training to faculty members, optimizing video services
for campus network topology, and establishing a stable production process. But
instructional video at Duquesne has come a long way since the initial efforts
began in 1995.
The Early Stages: Evolved Rather than Planned
Each year, the university delivers a growing number
of courses via video conferencing, the Internet and the Web, or a combination of
technologies. These technologies are also playing a greater role in
supplementing traditional, face-to-face courses. According to Ira Fuchs, vice
president for research and technology at the Andrew Mellon Foundation:
“Students, faculty, and staff expect their colleges and universities to be on
the leading edge of video use.” Duquesne University is no exception. Music
Technology, Multimedia Technology, Nursing, Instructional Technology, Studio
Arts, Communication, Education, Business, Health Care Ethics, student radio and
TV stations, and Distance Learning are just a few of the programs at Duquesne
that have either used or expressed serious interest in multimedia projects that
experiences with new video technologies on campus were evolutionary—that is, as
new technologies became available, we offered them and looked for faculty
willing to experiment and apply these technologies to their content areas. There
was no overall plan to target specific areas for development, though we did have
a university-level Educational Technology Committee to recommend the use of new
technologies to improve teaching and learning.
As a result of this evolutionary
approach, we have had, and still have, a mix of systems. Three course delivery
systems have been supported at the university: FirstClass, WebCT, and
Blackboard. We have both high- and low-end video recording and editing
equipment, and a mixture of platforms and media, including the Mac OS, Windows,
TARGA, Dazzle, VHS, S-VHS, MiniDV, Media100, and FireWire. We can deliver video
on campus via our Fiber-Optic Video Network, cable television system, and
programs operate their own servers for video streaming, and faculty use desktop
cameras for conferencing, but these particular implementations are not
sufficiently prepared to scale in size or to provide high levels of quality.
Video may be delivered from a variety of points on campus, but there is no
planning for the uneven impact on portions of the network.
Adopting and Adding New
We began our evolutionary process
in 1995 with the use of ISDN-based video conferencing from VTEL. Also in 1995,
we opened our New Media Center, composed of a Faculty Development Studio and
Media Distribution Center to assist faculty in learning, developing, and
applying the newer multimedia technologies of that time, such as QuickTime and
Adobe Premiere. Subsequent years have seen the addition of QuickCams, CUseeMe,
Webcam Turbo, Real Server, Netmeeting, Media Cleaner Pro, and a variety of other
authoring and production tools.
In 1998 we expanded the
scope of our Fiber-Optic Video Network and began to add more robust hardware and
software development resources. In 2001 we made major upgrades to our video
services, with the addition of Windows Media and QuickTime servers, high-end
encoding workstations, and digital video cameras, as well as portable lighting
and sound equipment, and we upgraded our legacy video conferencing system with
current technology by Polycom.
Selected Resources for Video and Streaming Media
· Consortium of College
and University Media Centers
· Discreet CleanerLive (Live Web casting of
Real and Windows Media Streams)
· e-learning and Teleconference
· eMEDIA Magazine
· iCanStream.tv (Media100 affiliate info and
tutorials on QT, WM, and REAL)
· New Media Centers
· QuickTime Streaming Server
· Real Networks/Real System iQ, Real
Server, Real Producer, Real SlideShow
· Streaming Media Magazine
· Streaming Media World Video
(Tutorials, reviews, references, services, and
· University of Wisconsin
Madison, Streaming Media
· Video Conferencing Cookbook
· Video Development Initiative
· Windows Media Technologies, Windows
Into the Future: Making a New
Plan for Technology
Since there has been growing
interest in the use of video technology for instructional purposes, Duquesne
University has a unique opportunity to optimize and capitalize on this
technology by organizing its efforts into a working strategic program. Members
of Computing and Technology Services, the Center for Distance Learning,
Multimedia Technology, and faculty from several schools are collaborating in
this planning and implementation process.
In 2001, we launched an
Instructional Video Technology Subcommittee (IVTS) as a working subcommittee of
the Educational Technology Committee. The purpose of the IVTS is to develop a
plan for successful use of instructional video at Duquesne University. During
2001, we completed the majority of the elements in our strategic plan for
- Develop a context for scholarship, research, and
sharing the results of faculty members utilizing instructional video.
- Create university standards and policies for the use
of instructional video.
- Define the various types and needs of instructional
video services, e.g., streaming, conferencing via ISDN, WAN H.323, and LAN
- Develop the criteria for ongoing selection and
evaluation of appropriate elements in instructional video, e.g., codecs,
streaming technology, network topology, formats, and architectures.
- Evaluate the need for educational consultants in the
Faculty Development Studio to provide video-related services for faculty
members using instructional video.
- Provide a plan to optimize video services in our
- Produce a report identifying the university’s current
effort in resources and dollars for the delivery of instructional video.
- Develop initiatives and workshops on instructional
video pedagogy for faculty.
- Develop a strategy for current and emerging needs for
distance learning use of instructional video.
- Plan for a video front end enabling WAN instructional
- Build a team for the ongoing assessment of emerging
technologies in instructional video.
- Establish a stable production and delivery process
while maintaining the capability to experiment with prototype systems.
To support our growth and anticipated future
endeavors, current basic video equipment installations are being enhanced and
services augmented to support the production of quality video streaming,
multicasting, and Internet-based conferencing. Ongoing enhancements to the
university’s network are providing a robust means of quality delivery of these
products to our students and end users.
Added services are intended to define processes so
that we gain efficiency and effectiveness. This means that we add trained staff,
dedicated video servers, and encoding workstations for improved reliability and
scalability. We also market the services internally to make good use of our
capabilities. Faculty and staff can contact our New Media Center for
consultation and to develop video projects.
Funding and Staffing
We employ four full-time staff and 16 students in
our New Media Center, which is part of a larger Educational Technology division
of the Computing and Technology Services Department. Funding at this time is
part of our Computing and Technology Services operational budget, and we do not
charge for our media development services. We have recently restructured a
charge-back policy for video conferencing services, in order to reflect changes
and innovations in the system.
Training and Faculty
If faculty are more aware of the
basics and the big picture before they begin any video projects, they can
collect better-quality video for post-production. Otherwise, we face the
situation where they decide to reuse or Web cast video obtained under varying
methods and conditions, and then they and the students are disappointed with the
quality of the end product.
already have permanent video recording hardware installed in our Law School
courtrooms, Speech Language Pathology clinical observation rooms, Biology
microscopy labs, and other campus locations. Departments in other disciplines,
such as the School of Business, have been capturing video segments with portable
cameras and placing the video onto CD-ROM for use in face-to-face classes and
for replay on the Web.
Faculty members may want to do
their own video project development, or they may want our New Media Center to
work with them. In either case, the faculty need to know our capabilities and be
able to determine which types of video can help improve teaching and learning.
To facilitate these efforts, we offer ongoing overview seminars and training
workshops. Faculty development is a key part of our collaborative efforts as we
move into the future with instructional video.
Allen Burnett, Ph.D., (firstname.lastname@example.org) is
distance learning coordinator; Don Maue is director of computing support
services; and Edward McKaveney is the New Media Center team leader, all of