LectureTube is the central platform for recording and streaming videos at TU Wien and is being made available to its teaching staff and employees by the Teaching and Learning Technologies Service Unit. Two new services are enabling teaching staff to create videos any time and anywhere, upload them as LectureTube series and access courses via TUWEL; introducing LectureTube Studio and LectureTube Upload. Record your screen and/or experiments, for example, on your camera directly via your browser or upload pre-recorded videos. The benefits are obvious: videos can be recorded any time and anywhere without the need for additional hardware or software, it relieves some of the pressure on TU Wien to find enough space for everyone and students can prepare better for exams thanks to all the helpful video material. Not only did implementation of the "Video Web Recording as a Service" .dcall project as Proof of Concept (PoC) highlight the enormous demand for a standardised video solution, but it also underlined how important this topic is at TU Wien – for teaching staff, researchers and TU Wien third mission activities.
Existing situation as the project basis for a future solution
The tools previously made available by TU Wien for video purposes did not meet all the requirements and, most importantly, could not be integrated across the board at TU Wien. As Proof of Concept, (PoC), the "Video Web Recording as a Service" project forms part of a range of measures aimed at creating an integrated, overall solution for the "TU Wien Video Portal" at TU Wien. This will enable videos to be better used in many areas, removing obstacles in teaching in particular by making it quicker and easier to record and produce videos and make these available on existing systems.
The requirements are:
- Easy, independent creation of videos using a web-based solution (Video Web Recording as a Service)
- Integration with the necessary TU Wien services (TUWEL, TISS, SSO, Opencast, etc.)
- Reduction of manual interventions by TSC support staff to a minimum
- Automation of most work steps or activation of a self-service option:
Two new LectureTube services at the ready
As part of the .dcall project, two new LectureTube services have been implemented in a matter of months and are currently in a beta phase: LectureTube Studio and LectureTube Upload.
Thanks to LectureTube Studio, you can record your videos not just in the lecture hall, but anywhere – either using your computer browser or your smartphone. LectureTube Studio gives you absolute freedom to choose when, how and where you record. All you need is an internet connection, a browser on a device that can record and your lecture content.
With LectureTube Upload, you can give your creativity free rein. You can use any tool for this purpose, post-edit videos to your taste and even record your meetings. LectureTube Upload is integrated into TUWEL and enables you to upload your self-made teaching videos yourself as your own LectureTube series and make these available to your students via TUWEL. This level of integration is useful to not only teaching staff, but also students, as demonstrated by Andreas Körner from the Scientific Computing and Modelling Research Unit: "LectureTube Upload is a great addition to the existing range of TUWEL services. There's no need for students to navigate lots of individual courses. Instead, they can access the whole range via one central platform, which is hugely beneficial for TU Wien in terms of both organisation and design."
The solutions implemented as part of this project are based on Opencast – an open-source system, which is being used by TU Wien for the LectureTube service as well as other renowned universities, including ETH Zürich. The Opencast community is very open and popular, guaranteeing the further development of the services and the sustainability of this project as well as the topic of "Video at TU Wien".
Both applications are currently in the beta phase, in which more than 20 members of teaching staff from TU Wien have taken part so far. The feedback is extremely positive, as confirmed by Martin Kronegger from the Automation Systems Research Unit: "TUWEL Upload brings a great deal of freedom to (remote) teaching, simply and effectively. You can record lectures with the tool of your choice and upload them directly to LectureTube via a very straightforward interface, making videos available to hundreds of students using a high-performance, reliable system." Irene Reichl from the VSC Research Center Service Unit is also impressed by the two new services: "I like the fact that LectureTube is embedded in TUWEL, where it's easy to add links to individual episodes or an entire series of course videos. It's good that there's no need for an account with an external provider such as YouTube and that the videos are located on a TU server. The support of LectureTube and the TUWEL support team is particularly valuable."
Outlook for the future thanks to follow-up projects
Once the first pioneering steps for "Video at TU Wien" have been taken in this pilot project, it is vital to set in motion additional activities as part of follow-up projects and global measures at TU Wien. For instance, creating, sharing and archiving videos should be an aim that has the potential to build on or supplement the outcome of this project – and thereby create the basis for a comprehensive solution for efficient and optimal process design on the topic of "TU Wien Video Portal" in teaching, research and third mission activities at TU Wien. To whet your appetite, you can look forward to a focus on editing metadata, cutting videos and much more.
In addition to the ongoing development of LectureTube services by the Teaching and Learning Technologies Service Unit together with the Opencast community and crowdfunding support, we are expecting further improvements and interesting extensions to these services before the end of 2021.
If you are interested in trying out these new services, send an e-mail to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line "Interest in LT Studio & LT Upload beta phase".
We hope you have a good end to the semester and a relaxing summer.