Video Streaming, An Opportunity For Educational Institutions
LEARNING ON DEMAND: OPPORTUNITIES FOR
Ashish S. Rajadhyaksha, MBA Student in Entrepreneurship, December ‘10
Learning on Demand (LoD):
In general, library videos are intended for a wide, general audience; commercial videos
for fee-based subscription members; and LoD videos for a specifically pre-selected audience
such as a particular course-enrolled faculty and students.
What is Learning on Demand (LoD)? - LoD includes educational faculty-created video,
including class lectures, supplemental materials, etc. Links to LoD videos can be placed within
the faculty member’s course management system (CMS) such as Blackboard. Faculty and
students would be able to interact with videos using annotation and cataloging tools, and
Faculty should be able to upload the videos themselves.
Who could use LoD? - Institutions license commercial videos for all students, faculty and staff
members to view, but LoD videos would be uploaded for only a limited class viewership at the
subscriber institutions. For example, a professor may upload a particular week’s course lecture
for his/her students to review online for the remainder of the semester using the CMS. But
instead of making these videos accessible to the entire student body, only the students enrolled
in a particular course would be allowed to watch it.
Which type of videos can be uploaded? - The video specifications and format suitability, the
maximum duration in length of each video (e.g. YouTube is approximately 10 minutes), etc.
would need to be further evaluated and developed. The system integrators would need to
customize the back-end system to accommodate identified institutional needs.
Are there any access restrictions? Why? - Access to Learning on Demand videos is restricted
to licensing institutions similar to limited access of the commercial videos. The LoD system has
a narrower scope both in terms of policy and database methods by limiting video access to
specific members of an institution rather than the entire membership body.
How are the archiving periods managed? - Since these videos are targeted to specific groups
for a specific period of time (e.g. for students enrolled in a particular course during a particular
semester), LoD videos will not be archived long-term for the most part. This is primarily
because the material will need to be updated every 2-3 years for content relevancy or if a video
addresses only a particular event. So the working group will need to setup policies related to
setting up and removing videos – how, when, and who to do it.
MARKET DEMOGRAPHICS, TRENDS AND COMPARABLES:
With all the excitement these days about video streaming and online education, there
would need to be an easier way to search for educational videos from actual higher education
institutions. One of the major stumbling blocks in all this information is metadata. “Nearly all
video file formats have some provision for embedding metadata such as title, author, and
keywords. For the most part, this metadata is accessible to major search engines, but only when
the original file is available. All of the major video sharing sites transcode uploaded video, a
process in which the metadata goes bye-bye. Although you can enter that information into the
video’s page on the site, there’s no guarantee there will be fields for everything in the file’s
metadata.” Source: Riismandel, Paul, June/July 2009 issue of Streaming Media magazine.
So there’s an increasing need for some sort of centralized clearinghouse system for
academic content that spans the web, developing a common platform for cataloging, organizing,
and sharing content. The public libraries in the United States have developed a very good
common standard for cataloging physical assets such as books and discs, and this form of
standardization needs to extend to educational videos too. Several websites as discussed below
have begun digitizing, storing and streaming videos to their subscribers or providing open
access to general public. While the number of institutions and videos involved are still fairly
small at this stage, it certainly provides a promising opportunity to invite venture capital
funding to supplement the public or current institutional funding availability.
I-Tunes You Tube
Major Industry Players:
1. College AnyWhere: CollegeAnywhere (http://www.collegeanywhere.org/) is a 20-year
old member driven non-profit consortium of higher education institutions which
provides faculty and students with an enhanced online educational experience through
an array of technology products and services.
CollegeAnywhere and its content partners have collaborated to offer a suite of content,
products and services focused on improving the quality of instruction and enhancing
learning by digitizing over 1,500 hours of educational content for online streaming to
distance learning students. Offerings from award-winning Annenberg Media Collection
and the PBS Video Collection can be easily accessed, and incorporated via streaming,
into courses through any content management system. Other products include a
content management tool, an audio/video conferencing tool and a consulting service
covering a wide array of topics.
Programs can be licensed individually or in large libraries at a discount.
CollegeAnywhere has developed a user interface that enables instructors to easily
search for materials and create "bookmarks" of segments they wish to highlight. The
content is assigned a URL that can be placed into any Learning Management System
(LMS). The videos are delivered to students using the Flash Player, making them
accessible to a wide audience without the hassle of installing special web browser plug-
ins. For an optimal viewing experience, several delivery rates are offered, full-screen
mode is available, and captions can be displayed on-screen for most programs.
CollegeAnywhere does not allow uploading own videos. They work with commercial
vendors and offer a way to segment videos through an annotation tool that uses a flash
player, streaming server, and captioning method.
2. Discovery Education: Discovery Education (http://www.discoveryeducation.com)
provides engaging digital resources to schools and homes with the goal of making
educators more effective, increasing student achievement, and connecting classrooms
and families to a world of learning.
Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, LLC the leading global
nonfiction media company. The leader in digital video-based learning, Discovery
Education produces and distributes high-quality digital resources in easy-to-use formats
in all core-curricular subject areas. Discovery Education is committed to creating
scientifically proven, standards-based digital resources for teachers, students, and
parents that make a positive impact on student learning. Through solutions like
Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education Science, Discovery Education
Health and more, Discovery Education helps over one million educators and 35 million
students harness the power of broadband and media to connect to a world of learning.
Type of Programming: Discovery Pricing:
▪ Discovery Education Science Annual ▪ Elementary Schools - $1,695 per year per
Subscription. building; Middle Schools - $1,995 per year per
▪ Discovery Education streaming (5,000 full- ▪ K-8 per building $1,570; 9-12 and K-12 per
length videos). building $2,095.
▪ Discovery Education streaming Plus (9,000 ▪ K-8 per building $2,615; 9-12 and K-12 per
full-length videos). building $3,095.
▪ Discovery Education streaming International. ▪ $3,995 per building per year.
▪ Home-schoolers. ▪ $265/year per household.
▪ Local Host Solutions (rather than from the ▪ Range from $3,000 - $15,000 per year based
internet). on storage requirements.
▪ Network Manager Software (On-Demand ▪ Base Price $295.
Video Storage and Streaming of Content).
3. I-Tunes U: iTunes U (http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u) content could be
made available only to members of an educational community (internal access) or to the
world at large via the iTunes Store (public access). With an internal iTunes U site, user
access is controlled through password protection. Public iTunes U sites such as those
created by Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, and broadcasters like
PBS distribute material for free on iTunes U. There’s always the option of creating both
an internal site and a public site for the best of both worlds.
Apple provides an institution with a free iTunes U site, complete with templates that
could be customized. Administrative access is integrated with Apple ID, so it’s simple to
set up and manage the site, and RSS can be used easily to add and remove content.
An institution creates its own iTunes U site that leverages the familiar interface of the
iTunes Store, and once the site is live, faculty members need little additional help from
IT. They can post content such as lectures, lab demonstrations, historical footage, and
because administrative access is integrated with Apple ID, it’s easy to set up and manage
the site, and add more Apple ID accounts to share site management responsibilities.
This can be integrated with an institution’s current identity management systems to
scale out access to hundreds or thousands of users, and iTunes U supports Shibboleth
(the standards-based, open source authentication system). An institution can also
create customized transfer scripts to integrate with other popular authentication
systems, including Kerberos, LDAP, and Active Directory.
iTunesU offers storage of 500GB, but videos in iTunes are not easily findable and often
there's a need to embed hyperlinks in CMS which is not easy with iTunes. Though one
can subscribe to video, searching is not easy and Linux users are left out since iTunes is
not available for the Linux operating system.
4. YouTube U: Founded in February 2005, YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/education) is
the leader in online video, and the premier destination to watch and share original
videos worldwide through a Web experience. YouTube allows people to easily upload
and share video clips on www.YouTube.com and across the Internet through websites,
mobile devices, blogs, and email.
Everyone can watch videos on YouTube. People can see first-hand accounts of current
events, find videos about their hobbies and interests, and discover the quirky and
unusual. As more people capture special moments on video, YouTube is empowering
them to become the broadcasters of tomorrow.
Some institutions are publishing to YouTube, which promises broad distribution;
however, the YouTube environment is not geared towards learning. Barriers include
numerous distractions (i.e. related videos and comments), difficulty with archiving
videos (students can't easily reference materials), and a non-linear playback system that
can be less efficient and disruptive. Overall, it’s a highly commercial space that won't
necessarily develop features conducive to online learning.
5. Academic Earth: Academic Earth (http://academicearth.org) is an organization
founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education.
Academic Earth, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. is working with leading
universities around the world to identify innovative ways to use technology to increase
the ease of learning.
They are building a free, user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet
users around the world the ability to easily find, interact with, and learn from full video
courses and lectures from the world’s leading scholars. Their goal is to bring the best
content together in one place and create an environment in which that content is
remarkably easy to use and where user contributions make existing content increasingly
6. Learner.Org Funded by Annenberg Media: Annenberg Media uses media and
telecommunications to advance teaching in American schools, and this mandate is
carried out chiefly by the funding and broad distribution of educational video programs
with coordinated Web and print materials for the professional development of K-12
teachers. It is part of The Annenberg Foundation and advances the Foundation's goal of
encouraging the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.
Annenberg Media’s free programs maybe viewed and streamed online (but not stored)
with a broadband connection whenever the icon appears against any of the titles on
the site (http://www.learner.org/index.html).
7. PBS Teachers: PBS Teachers (http://www.pbs.org/teachers) is PBS' national web
destination for high-quality preK-12 educational resources. They list free classroom
materials suitable for a wide range of subjects and grade levels, with thousands of lesson
plans, teaching activities, on-demand video assets, and interactive games and
simulations. These resources are correlated to state and national educational standards
and are tied to PBS' award-winning on-air and online programming like NOVA, Nature,
Cyberchase, Between the Lions and more.
8. Learn360: AIM Education, Inc., based in Plainview, NY, is a visual media publisher and
distributor that supports educators by offering supplemental curriculum, guidance, and
health products to help students achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. The
company is a division of AIM Learning Group, Inc., based in Delaware, and provides a
free 30-day trial. The online Learn360® (http://www.learn360.com) video streaming
service for K-12 schools provides for video streaming, and was built specifically for
9. Brainpop: In its 10th year, BrainPOP (http://www.brainpop.com) creates animated,
curriculum-based content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters
achievement. The online educational resources include BrainPOP Jr. (K-3), BrainPOP,
BrainPOP Español, and the newly launched BrainPOP ESL, and all are supported by
BrainPOP Educators, which features free lesson plans, video tutorials, professional
development tools, graphic organizers, and best practices for the teacher community.
Suitable for both group and one-on-one settings, BrainPOP maybe used in numerous
ways, from introducing a new lesson or topic to illustrating complex subject matter to
reviewing before a test. Content is compliant with state standards and easily searchable
with the online State Standards Tool. All products are fully compatible with interactive
whiteboards, learner response systems, projectors, Macs, and PCs, and no downloading,
installation, or special hardware is required.
Type of Programming: Brainpop Pricing (Annual Subscription):
▪ Classroom ▪ $115-$265 range.
▪ Media Lab ▪ $465-$895
▪ School ▪ $495-$1,495
▪ School Plus Home ▪ $495 - $2,095
▪ Library ▪ $595 - $3,485 (based on the # of terminals)
10. VBrick: Since 1997, VBrick (http://vbrick.com) has helped over one thousand
educational institutions to build compelling, rich media-based curriculums. VBrick's
Education Video Streaming platform supports a variety of E-Learning applications,
including broadcasting and recording lectures, TV distribution, streaming special events
such as graduations, and digitizing VHS and DVD assets into on-demand instructional
libraries. VBrick’s scalable and reliable Education Video Streaming solutions are
installed using existing IP networks and/or the public Internet to deliver live or on-
demand information to students, parents and the local community. Whether it’s a multi-
campus university or a single grade school, VBrick would be able to provide its video
VBrick provides several solutions for recording, storing and distributing streaming
video. An institution can record direct to disk on a VBrick Appliance, choose network
recording using VBrick's Enterprise Media System (VEMS) or distribute a message with
the Network Video Recorder. VBrick provides several different solutions for storing
streaming video and provides playback abilities based on the size of an organization.
The stored content maybe delivered right to a desktop, even over the Internet, with the
Video-on- Demand Servers filled with multiple storage and throughput options. The
solutions make recoding streaming video easy and are flexible enough to add more
Video-On-Demand servers and storage as an institution needs them.
Solution and pricing is completely scalable, and depending on the bandwidth needed
and whether VoD and streaming is involved, the encoder equipment costs between
$5,000 - $15,000, with a setup fee of $2,000 and up, and an annual subscription of
$24,000 and up payable monthly. VBrick also needs to be installed on servers, so there's
the installation and maintenance cost as well.
11. Open Courseware Consortium: An Open Courseware is a free and open digital
publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses. The Open
Courseware Consortium (http://www.ocwconsortium.org) is a collaboration of more
than 200 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the
world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model.
The mission of the Open Courseware Consortium is to advance education and empower
people worldwide through open courseware.
12. OpenCast Community Project: The Opencast community is a collaboration of higher
education institutions working together to explore, define, and document podcasting
best practices and technologies. A group of institutions from the Opencast community
have come together and made a commitment around the Opencast Matterhorn project.
Together, these partners are building an enterprise-level, easy-to-install open source
podcast and rich media capture, processing and delivery system named Opencast
Matterhorn is a free, open-source platform to support the management of educational
audio and video content. Institutions will use Matterhorn to produce lecture recordings,
manage existing video, serve designated distribution channels, and provide user
interfaces to engage students with educational videos. Fees maybe charged for
cataloging, support and maintenance work to recoup costs.
13. Kaltura: Kaltura (http://corp.kaltura.com) allows publishers of all sizes to easily and
quickly enhance their web sites with video and interactive rich-media functionalities,
including video management, searching, uploading, importing, editing, annotating,
remixing, sharing, and advertising. Web publishers, Value-Added-Resellers, and
Integrators use the software development kit to customize a unique rich-media
experience that fits their specific purposes, and seamlessly integrates with many
popular content management systems. Moreover, Kaltura’s reference implementations
and growing library of applications, extensions and plug-ins allow publishers to select
off the shelf solutions for rapid self-serve deployments that can be fully enabled within
The platform itself is free, but Kaltura profits by providing a wide range of value added
services to its platform users: custom work, hosting and streaming, content syndication,
video SEO, ad-serving, aggregation of other 3rd party services, and maintenance and
support packages. The open source cost structure coupled with a large and fast growing
customer base enables them to deliver these services at a fraction of the cost of their
competitors. Annual fee starts at $3,600 and could go into thousands based on the
specifications needed by an institution.