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Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear:
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  • 1. Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear: A one year review of the Rich Media Conversion Project Copyright John M. Morris, 2007. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author. John M. Morris Director: Academic Technology Innovation Drexel University Philadelphia, PA john.morris@drexel.edu
  • 2. Why don’t instructors employ more multi-media in their courses? • Authoring is often difficult – Expensive software – Software isn’t intuitive – Software doesn’t do what they want – Pedagogically unsure as to how to use it • Publishing is often difficult – Don’t know much about the alternatives – Know little or nothing about streaming content – Know even less about things like Podcasting / Vodcasting, RSS syndication, … 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 2
  • 3. Other barriers to the use of Rich Media • Most faculty don’t use Instructional Designers • Most faculty don’t know much about student-centered / Constructivist learning theory – i.e. they are pedagogically challenged • Many faculty are being pressured to teach online or use online resources – poorly motivated • Preponderance of faculty are auxiliary, FT tenured, or FT tenured track – Tenured faculty were typically “depression” or “baby boomer” and are often technology challenged – Tenure track faculty are typically “Generation X” or “Y” but have to focus on publishing and research – i.e. developing and teaching online is often not rewarded – Auxiliary faculty are always on the bubble so they can’t rock the boat 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 3
  • 4. Other barriers to the use of Rich Media • Few good examples • Uncomfortable being “facilitators” of learning rather than lecturers “Sages”. • Not used to “engaging” students even in a f2f environment • Not “tuned into” Generation “Y” technology and learning processes • Aren’t in tune with rich media use strategies • Marketplace’s new emphasis on application and skills over theory • Content territorialism • Choose “ease-of-use” over “robustness” 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 4
  • 5. Other barriers to the use of Rich Media If it isn’t easy to learn or deploy, it’s not worth their effort! 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 5
  • 6. So we had the choice of which problem to tackle first Since my team supports instructors, they would come to us to help with both, but the PUBLISHING was much more time consuming for US! 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 6
  • 7. Rich Media Conversion Project Project Exigency (the Sow’s Ear) • Significant personnel time required to handle media file encoding and deployment and to manage media servers and content. • Significant personnel time required to assist faculty with access management to their media files. • Over 5000 media files on 3 media servers representing >15,000 hours of video / audio accumulated over about 5 years. • Growth in content encoding and deployment requests increasing rapidly due to new capture apps and increased interest in new technologies such as podcasting. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 7
  • 8. Rich Media Conversion Project Project Goals • Reduce personnel handling time! • Increase usability of existing media servers. • Prepare for changes in media encoding and deployment technologies. • Make access to server based media artifacts easier and to make all media content syndicate- able (RSS 2.0 & Podcast). • Use “off the shelf” encoders – keep it inexpensive! • Write it in easy, manageable code Bottom line: Create a simple-to-use media object repository out of our legacy media servers that will significantly reduce staff “hands on”. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 8
  • 9. Rich Media Conversion Project What is it? RMC provides faculty and staff with a quick and robust way to: – Convert (encode) various formats of audio, video and textual content into web-accessible rich media, – Publish the resulting rich media files as web based catalogues and URLs, and – Provide access to the resulting rich media files by web browser, news feed reader (RSS syndication), iPod (iTunes), cell phone or PDA. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 9
  • 10. Rich Media Conversion Project Project R & D Phases • Phase 1 (Feb 2005 – June 2005) – Build and Test – Minimize staff handling of media files. • Create “Drop Box” automation process requiring little or no oversight by my faculty & tech support staff. • Develop RSS 2.0 syndicate-able output with an HTML equivalent. – Create an encoder farm capable of encoding various media formats into web stream-able formats. • Phase 2 (July 2005 – December 2005) Limited Pilot – Limited user base of 25 – Mix of early adopters, middlings and late adopters • Phase 3 (January 2006 – March 2006) – Create web-app to replace drop box 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 10
  • 11. Rich Media Conversion Project Project R & D Phases • Phase 4 (April 2006 – December 2006) – Additional functionality – Playlists and Security – Add content indexing (transcript of audio) with search capabilities • Phase 5 (Jan 2007 – August 2007) Commercialization – Rewrite in ASP.NET or PHP – Update system architecture – Increase throughput and input/output features – Virtualize Channels and Playlists – Complete content indexing and search – Add content authoring • Phase 6 (Aug 2007 – ?) – ASP system and make available to other institutions. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 11
  • 12. The Value Added Proposition • Robustness and ease-of-use drives usability and success • Significant savings in terms of personnel time. • Faculty who typically would not involve themselves in “high” technology can / do adopt. • Adds content richness and engagement to web- based instruction by providing a variety of media formats. • “Cool” technology engages students more! (edutainment factor) RSS Syndication and Podcasting / Vodcasting. • Puts control in SME / instructor’s hands. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 12
  • 13. Rich Media Conversion Project Demo http://www.drexel.edu/irt/rmcweb 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 13
  • 14. Rich Media Conversion Project Metrics 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 14
  • 15. Accessing Output - Examples • Drexel IRT’s Tech Updates – http://broadcast.drexel.edu:8080/httpxml/techupdates/ techupdates.html • Phone Podcasts – http://broadcast.drexel.edu:8080/httpxml/POD- morrisjm/POD-morrisjm.html • iTunes and RSS Syndication 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 15
  • 16. The Pilot Phase 2 July 2005 to December 2005 • 25 users • Evenly distributed between early adopters, fence sitters and late adopters. • Nearly 1000 rich media content items were dropped • Nearly 500 person-hours saved 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 16
  • 17. Web-App Building Phase 3 January 2006 – March 2006 • Same user group as the Pilot phase • January – 568 items dropped • February – 925 items dropped • March – 451items dropped • Total = 1194 items dropped • ~1000 person-hours saved 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 17
  • 18. Post Web-App Phase 4 • Open to all faculty, staff, adjuncts • Currently approximately 130 active users • 5687 items dropped using Web-App • ~2843 person-hours saved 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 18
  • 19. Summary and Survey Findings • 7631 items dropped during 2006 • Survey of participants done in December 2006 Survey Summary • Of the 130 active users – 36% from the College of Arts & Science – 20% are staff (HR, Enrollment Management, University Relations, …) – 14% from the School of Education – 7% each from the College of Engineering, Media Arts & Design and College of Business (21% total) – 9% distributed among College of Information Science and Technology, College of Law, Bio-Medical Engineering. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 19
  • 20. Summary and Survey Findings 2 • Evenly split (50% - 50%) between Males and Females • Teaching Status – 29% FT staff – 21% FT Faculty (non-tenured) – 21% FT Auxillary – 7% FT Faculty (tenured) – 14% PT Adjuncts – 7% PT Staff • Evenly split (50% - 50%) between Males and Females 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 20
  • 21. Summary and Survey Findings 3 • Teaching Status – 29% FT staff – 21% FT Faculty (non-tenured) – 21% FT Auxillary – 7% FT Faculty (tenured) – 14% PT Adjuncts – 7% PT Staff • Computer Platforms – 79% were PC users – 14% used Mac OSX – 7% other (Unix, Linux) 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 21
  • 22. Summary and Survey Findings 4 • Browser Type – 57% IE6 – 7% IE7 – 43% Firefox 2x – 1% other • Course Delivery (what kind of courses the user is involved in teaching) – 50% : Fully F2F without web support – 77% : Fully F2F with some web support – 23% : Hybrid delivery – 80% : Fully online • Length of RMCP Use – 21% > 1 month <= 3 months – 21% > 3 months <= 6 months – 50% > 6 months 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 22
  • 23. Summary and Survey Findings 5 • Features used – UPLOAD : 100% – CHANNEL : 46% – PLAYLIST : 46% • Channel Sharing – 33% Do & 67% Don’t • Playlist Use – 50% Do & 50% Don’t • Playlist Protection – 22% Do & 78% Don’t 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 23
  • 24. Summary and Survey Findings 6 • User Activity – 8% : extremely active – 15% : very active – 23% : active – 46% : somewhat active – 8% : not very active at all • Amount of Use – items per week – 15% : less than 1 per week – 46% : 1 – 15% : 2 – 4 – 8% : 5 – 7 – 8% : 8 – 10 – 8% : > 10 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 24
  • 25. Summary and Survey Findings 7 • File Sizes Uploaded – 9% : < 10 MB – 18% : 11 – 50 MB – 9% : 51 – 100 MB – 18% : 101 – 250 MB – 9% : 251 – 500 MB – 9% : 501 - 750 MB – 9% : 750 – 1 GB – 9% : > 1 GB • File Types Uploaded – 54% : AVI (Camtasia) – 8% : AVI (non-Camtasia) – 23% : Quicktime (QT or MOV) – 23% : MPG – 8% : DV – 31% : WAV – 23% : MS Office (DOC, XLS, PPT) – 8% : other text files (RTF, TXT, HTML, …) 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 25
  • 26. Summary and Survey Findings 8 • Requested Output Types – 33% : Real Media – 33% : Windows Media – 33% : Flash – 50% : MP4 – 0% : 3GP – 42% : MP3 – 8% : PDF – 8% : Graphics • Likeliness to Continue to Use – 69% : Very Likely – 15% : Likely – 15% : Neither Likely nor Unlikely – 1% : Somewhat unlikely – 0% : Not likely 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 26
  • 27. Summary and Survey Findings 9 • Impact on Teaching – 60% : Significant impact – 20% : Some impact – 20% : Neutral (jury still out) – 0% : little impact – 0% : no impact • System Friendliness – 31% : Very Friendly – 38% : Friendly – 15% : Neutral – 15% : Unfriendly – 0% : Very Unfriendly 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 27
  • 28. Summary and Survey Findings 10 Overall Experience – 69% : Very satisfied – 15% : Satisfied – 8% : Neutral – 8% : Dissatisfied – 0% : Very dissatisfied 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 28
  • 29. Some Conclusions 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 29
  • 30. The End! Questions? 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 30
  • 31. Rich Media Conversion (RMC) Best Practices and Project Notes 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 31
  • 32. RMC System Limitations • Incompatible input formats will be rejected at the time of submittal. • Available output formats depend on the input format. For example, AVI video cannot be converted to a PDF file format. • Output formats have been pre-defined and as such cannot be changed. • The RMC system can ingest very large files (> 2 GB) but the user must be aware that the upload time for such large files can be considerable depending on their native bandwidth. It is recommended that you contact IRT at richmedia@drexel.edu if you plan to submit to the RMC system any file > 500 MB. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 32
  • 33. RMC System Limitations • Because of the wide variety of codecs available to create AVI, MOV, QT, and other file types, the system may not be able to create a viable output file. Typically using the default output types associated with the creation of audio or video files will generate the best results. • While users can overwrite content files (i.e. replace one with another of the same name), new functionality allows users to delete content files from the system and they modify the HTML or XML files. Please contact IRT at richmedia@drexel.edu for more information. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 33
  • 34. RMC System Limitations Encoding Speed: (Please plan accordingly) • The time it takes to encode a content file into a streaming media file varies greatly and is dependent on the input file format and required output formats. For example, a one hour AVI file converted to a 56k and 256k Real Media files will require about one hour for each output – i.e. about 2 hours. • Stripping audio from AVI files requires the creation of an intermediate WAV file thus requiring time to strip and time to encode. • Encoding of Flash SWF files can take up to 8 times the temporal length of the input file. • The higher the resolution and/or the higher the frame rates, the longer it will take to encode. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 34
  • 35. RMC System Limitations Presentation Window Size: • Video window size is optimized for the output format. For example, 56k Real or Windows Media video output is shown in a 240 x 180 window to make it bandwidth compatible. This is true for both video and Flash output types. • Recognize that there is a difference between the resolution of capturing screen video from a computer versus capturing TV video from a VCR or other like device. You can generally control the capture resolution of a computer screen, but you generally cannot control the output of a TV (analog or DV) or like device. • Always capture at the lowest resolution and slowest frame rate suitable to minimize quality losses inherent in video encoding. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 35
  • 36. RMC System Notes • Users can have multiple Channels and Playlists. • Only one user can own a folder but other users can drop content into folders owned by others. • The Channel name will be used to rename the input file and to provide user access to the content. • Multiple contiguous blank spaces will be consolidated to a single blank space and that blank space will be replaced with an underscore character. For example, if you entered ENG 101, this will be converted to ENG_101 when the input file is renamed. • Non-alphanumeric characters are also removed and replaced with the underscore character. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 36
  • 37. RMC System Notes • Channel and Event names are limited to a maximum of 20 characters. The Description field does not have a character limit. • Users will be prompted if the input file is not one of the allowable conversion file formats (AVI, MOV, QT, WAV, DOC, PPT, XLS, TXT, RTF, HTM/HTML) or pass-thru file formats (RM, WMV, WMA, SWF, PDF, MP3, MP4, M4V or 3GPP). • Pass-thru files: A pass-thru file is a file that has already been encoded to an allowable format. If a pass-thru file is selected as input, the Output File dialogue is NOT displayed and the user is alerted that they are submitting a pass-thru file for inclusion on the streaming server 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 37
  • 38. Video Files – Screen Capture An hours worth of AVI video can be upwards of 150 MB, and depending on capture frame rate and other settings upwards of 400 MB. It is recommended that you: – Set your screen resolution to no more than 800 x 600 – Set your capture frame rate to 15 fps or less. These settings will reduce the size of your capture file significantly and improve the encoding speed. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 38
  • 39. Video Files – SD or HD Video • SD (Standard Definition) and HD (High Definition) video are typically taken from either a: – Digital video (DV) source such as a DVD, DV Camcorder or previously encoded computer file (e.g. QuickTime) or from a – Analog source such as a TV, VTR or analog Camcorder (also referred to as NTSC video). • All video formats must be converted to either AVI, MPEG or QuickTime (MOV or QT) in order to be ingested for encoding. Pass-thru files can be any supported video format (RM, WMV, SWF, 3GP or MP4/M4V). 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 39
  • 40. • Salt 2007 - Playlist • Competition – http://www.rhozet.com/ – http://heywatch.com/page/home • Resources – http://www.streamingmedia.com/ 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 40
  • 41. Media Handling Process (Phase 1)` Mi = Manually Mi Mi A Processed by Media Instructor Raw dropped into Media media “Drop Box” A = Auto file file encoded Processed by produced A new process Media moved to server A A Mi/A A URL N/A Instructor Encoded Instructor Instructor given puts single file emailed with copies and to URL into deployed URL instructor pastes URLs CMS* * Only initial one 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 41
  • 42. What kind of files? • As inputs – Video files: AVI, MOV and QT, MPEG, DV – Audio files: WAV – Text files: TXT, RTF, HTML – MS Office files: DOC, XLS, PPT – Common graphic formats: GIF, JPG, BMP, TIFF • As outputs – Real (RM) & Windows Media (WMV) streaming video – Macromedia Flash (SWF) video – Adobe PDF – Text-to-Speech MP3 (audio) – Podcast-able MP3 (audio), MP4 (video) and 3GP (video for PDAs and cell phones ENCODING_CHART.pdf 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 42
  • 43. How does it work? The RMC system ingests, through the use of a simple to use web app, various audio, video, text and MS Office file formats, converts those files, based on user requirements, to one or more common output formats, places the results on a streaming server, emails the content author that the process has completed and makes the content available on the Internet via HTML or XML RMC-Process-Diagram3.pdf 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 43
  • 44. What is the output like? Every file ingested by the RMC system is placed in a user- definable “Channels” and “Playlists” which contain not only the encoded results but also a dynamically updated “catalog” of all the content placed in that “Channel”. These cataloges consist of two files: a HTML and XML file. The HTML file can be used by any web browser on any platform. XML file produced is an RSS 2.0 and iTunes validated content syndication file and can be used with any news feed reader, news aggregator or iTunes (for pod / vodcasting). Media players, such as a Real Player, Windows Media Player or Flash (Shockwave), may need to be installed to play the content stored on the server. http://rmc.irt.drexel.edu/playlists/morrisjm/SALT-Orlando.html http://rmc.irt.drexel.edu/playlists/morrisjm/SALT-Orlando.xml 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 44
  • 45. Channels and Playlists Channels are Playlists are aggregations aggregations of content: of content: •Based on a user define •Across Channels (your private “topic” and all public) •Structured as last in-first out •From outside media (lifo) •Can be sorted in any order •Can be public or private •Can be password protected •Are RSS 2.0 and iTunes •Have metadata separate from compatible the Channel metadata. •Are RSS 2.0 and iTunes compatible 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 45
  • 46. Accessing Channel Content • When a new Channel name is used, new folders are created to contain the output files. One of these folders contains the HTML and XML access files. • When additional content is added to the same Channel, the HTML and XML files are dynamically updated. Content references are added to these files in a last in / first out manner; i.e. the latest items will be at the top of the list. • You can use the HTML file as you would any web-accessible file. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 46
  • 47. Accessing Channel Content • The XML file can be read by browsers that incorporate news feed readers, such as Firefox (PC / Mac) or Safari (Mac) or by any news feed reader or aggregator. • The XML file is also iTunes compatible, so it can be dragged into the iTunes “Podcast” directory. Applicable content will be automatically downloaded to iTunes for syncing with your favorite MP3/MP4 player or iPod. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 47
  • 48. Publishing Playlists • Playlists have two states: – Published/Unpublished and – Protected/Unprotected. • New Playlists are empty, and unpublished • Publishing (or re-publishing) a Playlist results in an email being sent to the Owner containing the URL links to the Playlist HTML and XML. • Playlist XML links are compatible with RSS 2.0 news readers and iTunes. • Changes made to a playlist are not immediately available until the Playlist is re-published. 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 48
  • 49. Channel URL Access 1 • Access to ingested content is dependent on the name of the Channel used when the file was submitted to the RMC system. • The Channel Base URL is ALWAYS http://broadcast.drexel.edu:8080/httpxml/ 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 49
  • 50. Channel URL Access 2 • The Channel name is added to the Base URL first as the name of the sub- directory on the streaming server and then as the HTML or XML file: • For example: if the Channel name was WebCT then the resulting URL would be: http://broadcast.drexel.edu:8080/httpxml/webct/webct.html (or .xml) 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 50
  • 51. An Example Catalog Page 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 51
  • 52. Playlist URL Access 1 • Since Playlists are aggregations of content across Channels, Playlists are manually created by the content author. • The Playlist Base URL is ALWAYS http://rmc.irt.drexel.edu/playlists/ 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 52
  • 53. Playlist URL Access 2 • The author ID is added to the Base URL first followed by the Playlist name as the name of the sub-directory on the streaming server and then as the HTML or XML file: • For example: if the John Morris (morrisjm) is the author and Foreign_Voices is the Playlist name, then the resulting URL would be: http://rmc.irt.drexel.edu/playlists/morrisjm/Foreign_Voices.html http://rmc.irt.drexel.edu/playlists/morrisjm/Foreign_Voices.xml 15-Jul-10 NERCOMP - 2007 53

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