Secure Hosting for Flipped Classroom Videos

Secure Video Hosting for Flipped Classroom

The model of flipped learning has the potential to revolutionize classroom teaching. In this methodology learners are assigned videos to watch before a class. By delivering basic instructions through a flipped classroom video, students are much more informed about the subject before class begins. This makes for a much more engaging classroom discussion, ensuring that the passive learning in the traditional classroom is now replaced by a much more active model of learning.

In this blog post, I seek to explain factors you should consider when hosting Flipped Classroom videos. Designing flipped classroom videos is not straightforward. Prior to flipping you need to map out how you are going to be using your video resources, and how the videos would inform your classroom. You would also need to develop a system to ensure that teachers and parents are able to monitor how students follow the video lessons. Tracking how learners interact with the videos is important in making sure that learning from your flipped classroom videos is effective. A custom secure video hosting solution would enable you to tailor your videos and the technical platform for maximum learner engagement.

Free Resources to Use

There are a large number of free videos that teachers can recommend to students for viewing in Flipped Learning. Some of the most popular resources are KhanAcademy.org and MIT OpenCourseWare. There are a large number of channels on YouTube offering quality videos for education.

Creating Your Own Flipped Classroom Videos – Security

You may wish to create your content for students to watch as part of flipped classroom videos. These videos may be of previous classes, or they may be specially made for the flipped classroom. There are many reasons to consider video security seriously when hosting your flipped classroom video content

    • Information security – When making flipped classroom videos, you need to protect details of learners participating in courses, or special details that you may mention in the course. For videos classes made for a specific audience the information security concern is very much relevant
    • Protection of Intellectual Property
    • Controlling access – You may wish to control access to only the students enrolled in a particular class.
    • Protecting Privacy – You can get students to make videos as part of Project-Based Learning. This encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, as such a project would require them to work collectively and collaboratively through the different stages of video creation. It is necessary to protect the privacy of students making the video.

Stages of security in Secure video hosting

Different parts of secure video hosting for flipped classroom video

Different parts of secure video hosting unpacked

  • Video Storage in Cloud – If the file is not encrypted, anybody with a publicly shareable URL to the file on the cloud can download without requiring authorized access.
  • Encrypted Transmission – Ensuring that while streaming the videos cannot be downloaded and viewed by unauthorized entities, such as during man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Authentication & Whitelisting – The authentication process involves a key being exchanged between the streaming server and the video player (on the viewer’s computer). This key is used by the video player to decrypt the encrypted stream. Private key transfer is necessary to ensure that only learners logged into your system can access the content. Backend Authentication is one implementation of private key transfer
  • Watermarking – The final stage of video delivery is video playback on the video player. Any analog screen recorder can record this stream, and there is no effective way for a DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology to stop this. Viewer Specific Watermarking is a strong deterrent to screen recording videos, as viewers would be deterred from sharing content that has their IP address or contact details on it.

There are numerous paid solutions in the market currently offering security for education providers. When evaluating DRMs for hosting your videos you should consider the above factors, and how the features offered by Online Video Platforms (OVPs) succeed in providing a complete solution. For example RTMP streaming is used by many companies for securing content, RTMP does not involve local storage of video data, and can be encrypted. However the process of backend authentication iUse Learner Analytics in Flipped Classroom Videos not completely secure, as toolkits such as RTMPDump can be used to give access to third-party applications. Here is a guide to implement variety of secure video hosting technologies for your site/app.

Learner Analytics

Research done by T.Lucke et al is inconclusive about how effective flipped classroom method is in contributing to better performance. Flipped classroom videos need to be assisted by developing learner analytics, to better understand the effectiveness of the technique and what further steps may be taken for more effective and engaging learning.

 

Interactive Video – In-video quiz and surveys

You can add video quizzes to learn how students engage with video. Results from student performance in the quizzes will be a good indication of how effective the videos are in communicating concepts to learners. Participating in quizzes in the flipped classroom video also contributes to knowledge retention. Students who have an understanding of a concept before class would engage more in the classroom, making for active classroom learning. Besides, teachers can incorporate surveys in the video, for feedback from students and also feedback from school administrators. Interactivity features can be implemented by adding an HTML5 pages within the video – most OVP (Online Video Platform) s can offer this functionality.

Use In-video Quiz for effective learning using Flipped Classroom Video

Use In-video Quiz for effective learning using Flipped Classroom Video

Tracking Offline Learning Using Tin Can API

In Project-Based Learning students engage in activities outside the classroom. It is important to be able to track student learning outside of classroom. The emerging paradigm of Tin Can API links up a learning record store (LRS), in which students are able to record their activity. The syntax in which an activity is represented is:

Person A Did Activity

Noun – Person A (Name of student)

Verb – Did (or any verb, such as watched in case of video, or read for lecture)

Activity – Details of video, or text

Analytics on students watching videos can be measured by integrating video player with Tin Can API.

Support for Secure Hosting for Your Flipped Classroom Videos

For custom video hosting solutions, support services are very important in ensuring smooth transition to using video hosting and in integrating with current IT systems. It is important to evaluate the support services that your OVP offers.

Louis Deslauriers et al published findings from 850 Physics Undergrads at University of British Columbia, in which learners in the traditional classroom technology had an average score of 41%, whereas learners in the flipped classroom program had an average score of 74%. Videos are becoming increasingly important in aiding classroom teaching, and it is very important that you get your flipped classroom videos right!

Set IP Geo restriction on videos via API/Dashboard: VdoCipher DRM

VdoCipher provides a complete DRM with encryption, backend licensing and viewer specific watermarking to safeguard video content. Sometimes owing to the rights and permissions to distribute a video, businesses look to white-list or blacklist content for certain geographies & IPs. Here is an API guide to do IP & Geo restriction for your VdoCipher account. This should allow you to configure any complicated setting of IP and country restrictions.

Rules are defined by a JSON string called rule-set. This JSON contains an array of rule objects:

  1. Every rule is an object containing action, ipSet and countrySet
  2. Each matching rule overrides the previous matching rule.
  3. Action can be either ‘true’ or ‘false’, whether to allow or deny
  4. ipSet and countrySet are string arrays.
  5. Subnet CIDR block can also be set in ipSet string array.
  6. Both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and subnet are allowed
  7. countrySet has two-digit country codes (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2.).
  8. Empty set matches everything of that type.
[
  {
    "action": "false",
    "ipSet": ["122.0.0.0/16", "49.323.23.56"],
    "countrySet": []
  },
  {
    "action": "true",
    "ipSet": [],
    "countrySet": ["IN", "GB"]
  }
]

The first part of above code will block your videos from playing in the mentioned IP addresses. The second part of the code will allow the video to play only in countries – UK & India. As mentioned in point 2 , the second rules is the dominant one for common users. Thus as an example, if some user has IP – 49.323.23.56 and resides in UK, his videos will not play. So various combination of codes can be used to create custom restrictions. If there is any confusion, drop us a mail and we can provide sample codes.

Benefit of subnet restriction is that you don’t have to write specifically multiple IP addresses. You can configure it to restrict a group of IPs under subnet.

API for setting IP-Geo restriction is the same as the video update API as provided in docs.

Here is a sample HTTP Request:

POST https://dev.vdocipher.com/api/videos/______________
Content-Type: application/json'
Accept: application/json
Authorization: Apisecret ____________

{
  "ipGeoRules": "string_containing_json_encoded_ruleset"
}

Dashboard interface for IP & GEO restriction

*This feature is also present in dashboard. Please click on the top right circular button on any video to open video settings. In it, there will be an IP/geo restriction section. Using above documentation, you can add any restriction.

Let us know at info@vdocipher.com for queries & doubts.

IP & Geo Restrict Video DRM

How to Build an E-Learning Website – 5-Point evaluation


Create your e-learning website, and use VdoCipher for secure video hosting

In this blogpost I discuss how you can build an E-learning website. I make the recommendations on the basis of the following five parameters:

  1. Technical Skills required to create the website
  2. Features and Customization available
  3. Cost of solution for building website
  4. Time to build solution
  5. Expected Number of students and scaling with increasing numbers

The four methods that you can use to create your E-learning website are:

  1. Coding using PHP/ ASP/Jave/ Node.JS
  2. Content Management Systems – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Moodle
  3. Website Builders – Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace
  4. E-Learning Website builders – Teachable, WebAnywhere

Create e-website website, and secure videos using VdoCipher

Here is a video explaining in full detail all the options. A text version of video is also included below.

Coding Using PHP/ ASP/ Node.JS

Technical Skills required

A website may be built from scratch using PHP, ASP and Node.Js. Naturally building these websites would either require an in-house website developer or should be outsourced to web designer. Which of the coding platforms – PHP, ASP or Node.JS you opt for would depend largely on the preferences and comfort levels of the developer in your team/ the web designer that you hire. PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages, while Node.JS is the newest website runtime environment which has seen massive adoption for websites. Alongside choosing the language, you would need to setup the server and database as well. For building a large website you can use a custom solution with a dedicated server on Amazon Web Services. For single-website usages (the more likely scenario) for E-learning websites, you can opt for shared web server hosting, using for example GoDaddy.

Features and Customization

Since your website is being built from the ground up, you have the widest possible options for customization for features that you wish to incorporate. For instance, as a security mechanism against sharing of login credentials, you may set an upper limit on overall time a student may be logged in to the system. Such a solution can be implemented while building the website code.

One thing that you should make clear is to ensure that the code is well documented. Good documentation ensures continuity between different developer teams.

Cost of Solution

Such a solution would require a dedicated development team to build. Support and maintenance are also additional issues that you would need to work on.

Time to Build Solution

Keep a time period of 2-3 months for such a website to build. To minimize site development time you should have developed a good understanding of the design and structure of your website, and communicated that to the developer. This would ensure minimal confusion in the website development process

Scale of website and Expected Number

1,000+ expected annual users – You would be able to incorporate features specifically on the basis of user requirements. It is important to make sure that appropriate security features are installed in the website framework.

Content Management Systems – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Moodle

Technical Skills required

Such an option mainly requires familiarity with the CMS interface. These skills can be learnt quite easily by beginners. A number of our clients – independent artists and individual teachers – have easily setup their WordPress and Moodle websites for hosting their E-learning courses. There would be a one-time effort in setting up the server though.

Features and Customization

Moodle is an LMS, and is therefore designed as an E-learning platform. WordPress on the other hand is a Content Management System, to which you can add LMS functionality through WordPress plugins.

Cost of Solution

Costs of building websites on Content Management Systems include cost of plugins for adding functionalities. WordPress and Joomla offer plugins such as Sensei, Guru and eMember, which simplify the process of course-creation considerably. Many of the useful plugins available are paid, while a lot of them are free as well (generally free plugins offer specific solutions, while paid plugins bundle a whole lot of useful features together). Cost-wise this is the cheapest solution, as the CMS itself is free – the only costs are the plugins and the server hosting.

Sensei plugin for eLearning - use VdoCipher for secure video hosting

Time to Build Solution

Expect a time to launch between 15 to 30 days for a fully functional CMS hosted site.

Scale of website and Expected Number

Such a solution would work pretty good upto a number of 10,000 students. There is no lower limit to the number of students, as costs are low.

Website Builders – Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace

Technical Skills required

In this solution the website hosting company uses a basic website template that they use.

Features and Customization

Such a website would follow a basic template, and there are not many options to customize additional features.

Cost of Solution

The cost of building such a website include purchasing the website template and server hosting.

Time to Build Solution

Fast – You need very little time to deploy such a video hosting solution. Server setup and configuration of the website would take time between 7-10 days.

Scale of website and Expected Number

Implementing such a website is best for the case of fast-deployment of your e-learning platform. Because time of launch and costs are priority in this, such a solution would be appropriate for upto 100 users paying for the course. Beyond this number this solution fails to add the customizations you need to cater to the growing list of users.

E-Learning Website builders – Teachable, WebAnywhere

Technical Skills required

There is no coding required. Most features can be implemented using drag-and-drop

Features and Customisation

Teachable and WebAnywhere offer ready-to-use E-Learning themes, Student management options, Media and text addition, Membership Access, Server hosting and Database management.

The features that these sites offer are sufficient for most e-learning website creators. These sites however are not very customizable in terms of additional security features or tweaks in User Interface. UI additions such as adding comment sections to pages, and security restrictions such as restricting login time on page, are not available when you opt for this solution.

Cost of Solution

Costs are dependent on the features you integrate, and the number of students enrolled. Because the websites are designed specifically for e-learning such a solution is somewhat more expensive than the case of ready-to-make websites.

Time to Build Solution

7-10 days

Scale of website and Expected Number

Such a website solution would be appropriate for upto 1000 annual users. This is the approximate number of students you can manage without the need to alter your User Interface and backend. Beyond this number you should explore CMS hosting or creating your own website.

Suggestions

When you set about creating an e-learning website I recommend that you check other websites in similar areas. You can use the tool BuiltWith to analyze the tech stack on which any website is made. If you find that 8 out of 10 of your competitors use a particular tech stack, then implementing that stack would be the most reliable way to build an e-learning site.

Streaming E-Learning Videos And Protection From Piracy

The reasons I am specifically writing a different section on video streaming for e-Learning is because:

  1. Video courses are typically the lifeline of any e-Learning portal and second
  2. Video streaming and safeguarding the video content from piracy is a major technical challenge, which the 4 options discussed do not solve inherently themselves. Most of E-Learning sites use some premium video streaming provider to cater to their streaming needs.

Streaming bufferless for HD worldwide and ensuring smooth delivery to regions in Africa and India with slow connections is a major problem. YouTube is quite good in this aspect, but lacks business friendly customization. Vimeo has a B2B offering that is quite popular and is okay in terms of streaming experience. YouTube and Vimeo use standard streaming protocols to deliver video content, and thus a lot of free plugins and downloaders are able to grab and download the videos. For this reason, a more custom video player, providing higher security and flexibility to manage video related features, is needed for premium videos. Here is the link to implement and compare secure technologies used in video hosting for education. Many of the top e-Learning companies either go for a combination of the above solutions or build proprietary systems of their own (for example Udemy and BYJU’s).

Aspect of Comparison Code from Raw: PHP, ASP, NodeJS, JAVA Moodle, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal + LMS themes + Plugins Ready to launch E-learning site – Teachable, Thinkfic etc Ready to Launch Generic Website – Weebly, Wix
Coding Skills Required Every functionality is full coded, require full stack development team One Time server setup required Nil Nil
Features & Customization All customizations are possible, but takes time and cost Most of Elearning functionalities available, Decent customizable. Have to give up on 10-20% of your custom needs Common Elearning functionalities available, except some themes, major customizations not possible. Elearning feature set integration not so varied – suitable for start simple cases
Cost One time considerable cost, recommended for long term control and stability Quite affordable, themes plugins have one time costs Charges monthly basis, not much burden in form of upfront costs Quite affordable , one time costs
Time 2-3 months to go live, each new feature takes time 1 month typically to go live, additional features doable through plugins , not much time taken Go live in a day, not much feature addition can be done, so no time addition Go live in a day, not much feature addition can be done, so no time addition
Scale Effects Good for large user base companies Good if number of students not going more then 10,000 Good till scale of 1000 Good for starting and testing up , upto 500 paid users
Conclusion Choice of technology depends on comfort of your dev team, ideal for large custom required sites Optimizes cost , features and control of all the options- Most popular option I have seen Good for individual teachers. Have to give up on customizations. Affordable Good for experimentation, Better to choose amongst other 3 for full elearning portal

I will be happy to have feedback and questions in the comments section below or on my LinkedIn profile. You can also share your experience with above technologies and any interesting insights.

A version of this blog was first published on E-learningIndustry.com

Streaming Video Hosting to Improve Market Reach

Streaming video hosting is a great way for you to communicate with your clients. Videos offer a way to increase the interactivity of your content, besides helping you develop a personal connection with your customers. Authentically presenting yourself and your product to the customer helps develop customer trust. Customer trust is one of the most important elements of ensuring customer retention.

When should you consider Streaming Video Hosting?

For starters, you should try to understand how effective the combination of visual, audio and narrative is in delivering your message. Does a video send across a better message qualitatively than just text? You can also explore whether if the combination of static visuals and texts in infographics can communicate your message. Understanding the value addition that video offers will help you use videos more effectively. You can then put a much more directed effort towards creating your videos. You can start with storyboarding to conceptualize how the visual, audio and narrative elements of your video come together. When used strategically, Streaming video hosting offers a great way to add value to your message.

Streaming Video Hosting for Storytelling increases engagement with users

Streaming Video Hosting for Storytelling increases user engagement

How to Increase the Interactivity of your Streaming Videos?

You can embed tests and in-video quizzes to increase the interactivity of your course streaming video content. Embedding scripts in your streaming videos can enable you to enhance your message. You can include e-mail capture forms within the video, through which videos can complement your e-mail marketing campaigns.

When considering what content to create through video, a suggestion is to create content that directly answers your audience questions. Try to get audience feedback, and use it to directly answer Frequently-asked questions through videos. When you directly answer audience queries through video it helps you build a better connection with the audience, helping you build customer trust with your brand.

How-to videos are one of the most effective uses of streaming video medium. These videos can be used to explain complex concepts to your audiences. You can use features such as screencasting and whiteboard animation to create great how-to videos.

Streaming video hosting allows for great interactivity

Increase the interactivity of your streaming video content

Factors to consider when deciding which streaming video hosting provider is right for you

  • The first criteria is to understand how the Online Video Platform help you communicate your brand values. How well does the streaming video hosting option reach your customers? YouTube is currently the most popular video hosting site. However, there are many negatives to using YouTube. Because YouTube’s first priority is to keep viewers on its own platform, for which reason it can make other videos available to your viewers. There are considerable distractions to watching videos on YouTube, which can dilute your brand message. For this reason most professional streaming video providers look for custom solutions. VdoCipher offers completely secure and private video hosting, which ensures that you can communicate directly with your audiences.
  • Security – Considering the costs that go towards great videos, opting for security in video hosting is very important. Whether you create content for marketing or for paying subscribers, you would want full control over who can access your control. With VdoCipher’s DRM technology you have full security for your video content, right from the point of streaming video hosting to the time of viewer playback.
  • Customizability – Does the video player allow customization? This comprises of integrating video player theme with your website. VdoCipher offers integrating of custom player skins, to match your website theme.
VdoCipher feature set for Streaming video hosting

VdoCipher feature set for Streaming video hosting

Which Streaming Video Hosting Provider has maximum reach?

  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are networks of storage points, which cache your video content. Video caching locations enable fast delivery of streaming video for all geographical locations. VdoCipher uses Amazon AWS + Akamai CDNs, ensuring that both localized and global populations are served.
  • Devices – Does your video player optimize encoding for mobiles and for desktop. VdoCipher encodes separately for mobile and desktop streaming video, ensuring smooth and seamless experience across both.

How to get Actionable Insights from Streaming Videos?

Streaming video hosting for actionable insights

Get actionable insights from streaming video hosting

Streaming video analytics help you to understand viewer response to your video content. You can learn which videos are more viewed, and also what is the most effective length of videos to maximize customer engagement. Actionable insights from video analytics will help you fine-tune your video message, and to target it more effectively to your customers.

VdoCipher offers streaming video hosting for the case of video on demand. We have a wide range of clients interested in streaming video as part of their services. This includes education and corporate training, marketers, and independent creators. As explained, we offer customized solutions, according to the requirements of our clients.

Signup on VdoCipher for a free full version free trial.

Import Videos From Vimeo Pro, Google Drive and Dropbox

VdoCipher’s secure video hosting platform enables educators, publishers and marketers to host their video content online for business use. Our award-winning DRM creates multiple layers of security. These include secure video storage, encrypted video streaming, backend authentication and dynamic watermark, ensuring that your videos are completely secure from illegal downloading.

A large number of our customers have shifted from other video hosting sites. This is mostly because the feature-set of many other online video platforms does not completely satisfy customers’ requirements. We are committed to ensuring that your transition from another OVP to VdoCipher is smooth and seamless. For this we have set up direct import from online video platforms Wistia and Vimeo Pro. You can also import videos from cloud hosting solutions including Google Drive and Dropbox.

Also here we guide you how to easily import videos from your S3 bucket to your VdoCipher account.

Import Video from Vimeo Pro

  1. Go to the VdoCipher dashboard
  2. Click on the “Import from …” button. In the drop-down menu click on “Import from Vimeo”
  3. Click on the “Connect Vimeo” button in the new page
  4. In the next page you can give your VdoCipher account permission to import video from Vimeo
  5. The dashboard will then give you the link to import the videos that you have hosted on Vimeo
Import Video directly from Vimeo Pro for completely secure video hosting

Import Videos directly from Vimeo Pro for completely secure video hosting

Import Video from Wistia

  1. Go to the Import from Wistia page in VdoCipher dashboard
  2. Login to Wistia and go to Account Settings
  3. Click on API access in the right panel
  4. Click the “New token link”
  5. Mark the checkbox “Read all project and video data”
  6. Copy the newly generated token
  7. Enter the Wistia API token at the top right of the page to import video from Wistia
Import video directly from Wistia for secure video hosting

Import videos directly from Wistia for secure video hosting

Import Video from Google Drive

  1. Go to the VdoCipher dashboard
  2. Click on the “Import” button. In the drop-down menu click on “Add from Google Drive”
  3. Give your VdoCipher account access to the contents of your Google Drive
  4. Select the video for import.
  5. You’re done!
Import video directly from Google Drive for secure video hosting

Import videos directly from Google Drive for secure video hosting

Import Video from Dropbox

  1. Go to the VdoCipher dashboard
  2. Click on the “Import from …” button. In the drop-down menu click on “Import from Dropbox”
  3. Sign in to Dropbox from the Pop-up window
  4. Select the videos to be imported to VdoCipher
  5. You’re done!
Import video directly from Dropbox for Secure video hosting

VdoCipher interface to import videos directly from Dropbox for secure video streaming

Please feel free to communicate video hosting requirements to our customer support team.

 

Import videos from S3 bucket with “Import from AWS S3”

Import videos directly from Amazon S3 bucket to VdoCipher for secure video hosting

Import videos directly from Amazon S3 bucket to VdoCipher for secure video hosting

AWS is the most popular cloud service provider at the moment and a lot of our customers have their videos stored in their S3 bucket. Their usual method of import was to generate temporary download URL and using them to import videos. This usually involved a bit of programming to AWS S3 API. With this new feature, we plan to make import videos from S3 to VdoCipher process a lot easier.

Steps to import videos from S3 Bucket

Import from AWS S3 for Secure Video Streaming

Interface for Importing video from AWS S3 Bucket for secure video hosting

  1. You need to create a new IAM user in your AWS account with the permission to do action ListObjects and GetObjects in the desired bucket. AWS IAM console will give you the aws_access_key_id and aws_secret_key.
  2. In your VdoCipher dashboard, click on import and chose the option to “import from S3”.
  3. You can enter the region, bucket, key_id, and secret_key. Upon connecting, you will see a list of your root objects and you can navigate around like a regular file browser.
  4. On clicking the import button, our backend will create temporary download URL for the video object and add it to your list of videos. You will be able to see the video id and current status.
  5. Once you have the videos imported, you can go back to the dashboard to set correct title, description, and tags for the video. Adding tags is recommended because it helps to sort and manage your videos. The files should now be processing. Give the video some time to process. Once their status is ready, you can embed it in your website or mobile app.

Any file with video extensions will have an import button. Currently, we support five extensions (MP4, AVI, FLV, WMV, MOV). Let us know, if you like to have another file extension in this list. learn more about using the dashboard

Permission required for IAM key

AWS recommends creating a new IAM user for every purpose. In this case, you should create a new user with permission to ListBucket and GetObject. Here is a sample policy file that you can use for this purpose. Replace the NAME_OF_BUCKET with the real name of your bucket.

Using Tin Can API in video: Complete Documentation

Tin Can API is a specification for learning technologies that enables Learning Management Systems to collect data from various learning activities that a student may undertake. Tin Can API has succeeded SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) as the new standard for learner analytics.

tin can api in video

Requirements for Tin Can API

In Tin Can API any learner activity on the web may be integrated and logged to the LMS. This includes activities such as reading a blog and watching a video online. For Tin Can API to succeed, all learning activities that a learner performs should be able to transmit learning data to the LMS.

Statements in the Tin Can API are rendered in the form Noun Verb Activity. For example if Learner A has completed watching a video on “Machine Learning: Supervised Learning Part 1”, the corresponding Tin Can API statement would be:

  • Learner A completed Machine Learning: Supervised Learning Part 1

Tin Can API with videos

The motive of Tin Can API is to have maximum feedback for user experience and act on to improve the key metrics. As in case with video, fetching in side video data becomes quite tricky owing to the variety and scale of actions performed by viewers on a video.

VdoCipher as a part of its secure video hosting service,  currently provides viewer data points on all the relevant analytics requirement for Tin Can API

Below are some of the prominent actions of viewers on video (start, pause, end, seek, progress, repeat, load, buffer, view) which are a part of Tin Can API and VdoCipher provides direct JavaScript codes for them.

It is interesting to note that there is always a debate amongst content creators and marketers on what should be taken as a view for the video ? Should just clicking on the play button be considered sufficient to be counted as a view ? Some times it is decided to take say 10 seconds of playback or 2 mins of playback as a view. With the information collected by VdoCipher’s start and progress event trackers you can easily collect viewer information for your particular definition of a video view.

Start, End, Pause, Mute, Unmute events on video player

Please check this javascript code to capture the play and pause events from the embedded video player:
<script>		
function onVdoCipherAPIReady(){
    console.log("VdoCipher API init");
    var videoObjects = vdo.getObjects();
    var video_ = videoObjects[videoObjects - 1];
    video_.addEventListener("resume", function(){
        console.log("ready event called" , video_.time);
    });
    video_.addEventListener("pause", function(data){
        // document.getElementById('totalPlayed').value = video_.totalPlayed;
    });
    }
</script>
You can similarly listen for “start”, “end” and “mute”, “unmute”.

Time Calculation per video playback

<div id="vdo<?= $OTP ?>" style="height: 300px; width: 520px;"></div>
<input type="text" id="totalPlayed" value="" />

/// this is the embed code

<script>
    (function(v,i,d,e,o){v[o]={}; v[o].a = v[o].a || function V(a){ (v[o].d=v[o].d||[]).push(a);};
    if(!v[o].l) { v[o].l=1*new Date(); a=i.createElement(d), m=i.getElementsByTagName(d)[0];
    a.async=1; a.src=e; m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m);}
    })(window,document,'script','//de122v0opjemw.cloudfront.net/vdo.js','vdo');
    vdo.a({
        o: "<?= $OTP ?>",
    });
</script>

/// this is the script

<script>		
function onVdoCipherAPIReady(){
    console.log("VdoCipher API init");
    var videoObjects = vdo.getObjects();
    var video_ = videoObjects[0];
    video_.addEventListener("ready", function(data){
        console.log("ready event called" , data);
    });
    video_.addEventListener("progress", function(data){
        document.getElementById('totalPlayed').value = data.totalPlayed;
    });
    }
</script>
 
Note: The function wrapper with onVdoCipherAPIReady is needed only when it is part of the document load. If this script is to be run after document load, you can run it directly.
Let us know for any custom tracking functionality you require. Most of them are possible with a combination of the above scripts.

Complete Guide to Creating Your Online Video Course

You feel you have a unique understanding of a subject domain. You also feel that you can effectively communicate your expert knowledge through an online video course. But, however, you do not quite know how and where to get started.

Here at VdoCipher we assist E-learning video providers to securely host their online video course. We bring for you a step-by-step guideline on how to conceptualize and produce your E-learning course.

Pre-Production

Production

Pre-Production in Online Video Course

The steps in the pre-production process are:

  • Identifying the course goal – are the videos the sole educational material, or are they part of a Flipped Classroom
  • Gathering content – At this stage of storyboarding, you consult Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to create basic content
  • Defining objectives – This step involves creating a course outline, specifically to decide how you are going to present the content towards achieving the course goal.
  • Creating assessment criteria – How does the course align with the different targets that an e-learning course must satisfy. Learner assessment criteria include knowledge retention, attitude towards newer material in the discipline, and problem-solving skills. Understanding the importance of each of these three targets is critical to design of your online video course. For example if the course objective is to enhance workplace collaboration, the assessment criteria should be target based.
  • Using Storyboard template – At this stage organize your content into chunks using a storyboarding template
  • Picking design model – Choose which e-learning theory to prioritize. Some of the widely prevalent design models currently in use are: ADDIE, Knirk and Gustafson, SAM, Action Mapping Process, Gagne’s 9 Principles
  • Choosing design elements – Images, videos, interactions, quizzes
  • Selecting an authoring tool – Articulate Storyline, Lectora, Adobe Captivate, Moodle, Claro, Udutu

1. Online Video Course Outline

It is very important to first develop a course outline before beginning production on your online video course. The course outline is very important in bringing all stakeholders involved in the course production on the same level. This ensures that all the scripting and production efforts go smoothly subsequently. The course outline may get updated multiple times, as more feedback is received from people involved in your course. The process of storyboarding involves considerable time and effort, and sketching an outline is necessary to ensure that this process goes smoothly.

Course Outline for Online Video Course

Communicate your Course Outline to your colleagues to ensure agreement in course outline

2. Storyboarding

Storyboarding is the process of graphically organizing your video content for the purpose of pre-visualizing the e-learning video. Storyboarding is a great way to organize ideas, and to ensure that the visual and audio forms you use will be effective in communicating your course in a logical manner.

The term storyboard comes from movie production, and the process was most prominently used by Walt Disney in the 1930s. It is a great way for you to organize your ideas, and to make sure that your ideas are communicated to your audience in a logical manner. For this reason having a carefully designed is crucial to making a quality online course video.

Storyboarding for Online Video Course

Use storyboarding to sketch your online video course.

Storyboarding is distinct from a script in that it is a graphic sketch of the course progression. During the storyboarding stage you decide the visuals for your online course video, and accordingly write your final script to correspond to the visual sequence designed. Storyboarding is essential for scriptwriting in that it decides the visual sequence that the script has to be in sync with.

Using storyboarding, as a course designer you can evaluate multiple scenarios for creating your online course video. Through this means they can understand better at what points during their content creation they should be adding interactive features for a more active response from learners. Storyboarding is the first step in creating a simulation of your course, so that everybody in the development team can come together on board. You can sequence instructions, and document changes conveniently using this method.

One tip when you start your course creation with storyboarding is that you should show the most engaging part of your video course first to the learner. This is useful in hooking their attention. This may be an illustration of the course objective, or could as well be interesting applications of the course. Showing the learners highly relevant and interesting content at the outset is a great way to ensure active learning on the part of learners.

3. Authoring Tools

Online Authoring Tools enable you to integrate different media to bring together content for training and education. A good authoring tool would give you a means for creating your online video course, ensuring that you succeed in making engaging and interactive e-learning content. Authoring tools provide a comprehensive solution for the different stages of online video course creation. These stages of course creation include storyboarding, making video block diagrams, and in editing of video content. Authoring tools also offer a variety of templates to follow in the course creation, using which you can better organize your multimedia content.

Use Authoring Tools such as Articulate Storyline for your Online Video Course. Opt for VdoCipher secure video hosting.

Articulate Storyline is a popular authoring tool for online video courses

A major utility of authoring tools is that they enable custom design of the online video course. Creation of increasingly complex training solutions is facilitated by authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and Elucidat. Rapid E-Learning is the process of high-speed deployment of training content in response to fast-evolving training requirements. Courses produced in the Rapid E-Learning paradigm are relevant for a short period of time, and speed of course creation is therefore very important. For this particular requirement of rapid course deployment a good E-learning tool is very important.

Production in Online Video Course

1. Lighting

Lighting is the most critical element of the E-learning course creation process. Three-point lighting is the most commonly used method for shooting of E-learning videos. This lighting system comprises of a bright light on one side, and another more gentle light on the other side, with less brightness. This creates a more three-dimensional effect. The third light shining on the backdrop helps make you stand out from the backdrop, and to eliminate shadow.

Use Three-point lighting effectively for uniform illumination

Key Light – This is the main light, placed to the side of the camera. This light is usually the strongest and influences the look of the stage the most. One side is more well lit whereas the second side has some shadow.

Fill Light – Secondary light, placed on the opposite side of the key light. Used to fill shadows created by the key light. This light is necessarily softer and more distant than the fill light. A reflector can be also be used in place of fill light to achieve the same softer, subtle effect.

Back Light – This light is placed behind the subject, and lights the subject from the rear. Its purpose it to provide definition and highlight the subject’s outlines. This provides depth to the video, separating the subject from the background, and providing a three-dimensional look.

In a four-point lighting system, a fourth light is used to lit up the background. This eliminates any shadows from the background, and also adds depth to the video. The three-dimensional effect more significantly separates the subject from the background.

2. White Balance

Achieve right white balance

Credit: Klara Plicanic, Peachpit.com

Every different light setting indoors or outdoors has an associated light temperature. Achieving white balance is the process of identifying the appropriate light temperature at which to do the filming in a particular location. This is useful in designing of lighting systems for shooting indoors, when you are using different indoor locations for your course video. Essentially it is the process of removing color casts, so that an object that appears white in person appears white in camera. Digital Cameras in indoor lighting can create blue, orange or green color casts, giving a white colored object these shades. White Balancing ensures that in the process of post-production they are appropriately edited out. A slate with color chart can be very useful in this.

3. Video Block Diagram

This is the process of making block diagrams of your video shooting space. Shot Designer is a a very good software used for drawing video blocks.

Video Block Diagram, using Shot Designer

Credit: Shot Designer

Blocking is a concept derived from theatre, and is used to figure out the positioning of actors and props on the stage, so that the performance is never obstructed. Block diagrams enable video producers to map potential obstructions on set, camera and actor movement, and lighting, to ensure that placement of all elements on the production stage is optimal.

4. Slate and Clapboard

Video slates are used during the production process to help in editing video shots being taken. During production, scenes are shot incoherently. The production slate is used to help make sense of all the shooting using a visual cue. The production slate includes details for:

  • Roll Number (or SD Card Number)
  • Scene Name
  • Scene Take number
  • Production Working Title
  • Director
  • Camera
  • Camera Number (for multi-camera production)
  • FPS (Frames Per Second)
  • Date of shooting
Use Production Slate for your Online Video Course

Production slate, with a clapboard on top

Because these details are immediately visible when the slate is placed before the video film, any shot can be uniquely identified, even when fast forwarding the video. Essentially when the video is ready for editing, editors can conveniently refer to the information recorded on the slate for easy sorting. In the absence of a production slate you may use other visual cues to identify a successful take, for example covering the camera with your hand at the end of a successful take.

The production slate and the clapboard are often combined. The clapboard is used primarily to sync the audio and video. This is particularly useful in the case wherein the audio mic does not feed directly to the camera, and the two streams are out of sync. During the stage of video editing, there is a large spike in audio at the point when the clapboard is shut, which can be matched to the same point in the video where the clapboard can be seen to be shut. Matching the two becomes very easy once the two time points in audio and video recording are matched. Even when the audio mic feeds directly to the camera, editing using clapboard can be used to eliminate any lag in either audio or video.

Another addition to the production slates is a set of colored stripes. This is used for color grading. Using this it can be ensured that the video is color-correct, so that white, black and all other colors come out in the same color in the video as on the slate.

5. Microphones

A lapel mic placed on the inside of the shirt can be used for recording audio. For higher quality, boom mics may be used. This mic is placed on a boom pole, which can be wired to the camera. This microphone is mostly placed over the speaker, but mostly out of frame of the shot. The microphone may be above or below the frame, but should always be placed in front of the speaker.

Boom mic for audio in online video course

Credit: George Black, https://goo.gl/gUk3Tw

Headphones should be connected to the microphone as well, so that the audio recorded can be monitored live, as the recording actually takes place. This is necessary for ensuring that no ambient noises sneak into the audio. Finding noises in the recording during the stage of editing and post-production is a very nasty surprise, as background noises considerably decrease the overall video quality.

You can also opt for audio recording in a studio for sections of video over a screencast, or in cases of long monologues that do not require a visual performance from the presenter. There is a shift in sound quality between stage audio and studio-recorded sound, but this is not a major problem, as the gains in audio quality during audio-important sections offsets the discontinuity. Better voiceover quality in certain sections will definitely improve the overall quality of your video course.

Headset vs mounted mics – Headset are better when the speaker is moving within the recording. Otherwise mounted mics offer much better quality.

6. Background Audio

It is recommended that light background music is played. This is because only using voiceover narration becomes monotonic after a while, leading to audio fatigue in learners. To modulate the background music so that it does not interfere with the narration you may opt for the following techniques:

Ducking is a technique offered by video editing software Camtasia. This is the process of lowering volume of background track when narration is happening, and raising the volume it when there is no narration.

Use Camtasia for audio editing

Notching is a technique offered by the (free) audio editor Audacity. The frequencies in the background music may overlap with the those of the narrator’s voice. It is important to remove the frequencies from background music that match the majority frequencies in the voice of the narrator. This means that when narrating those frequencies are used exclusively by the narrator, and the brain does not confuse the two. Background music is mainly used to avoid audio fatigue.

7. Using Screencasting

Screencasting is the process of recording a video of your desktop or mobile screen. The recorded video can be edited for using in your online video course. Screencasting is very useful in e-Learning courses that explain use of software tools and coding. Custom screencasting softwares such as Screenflow and Camtasia let you add voiceovers, text and animations. This makes screencasting a very powerful tool in your online video course. Screencasts are combined with subject narrating to offer variety within the video. This makes the video more engaging, and prevents it from becoming monotonous. Articulate Replay works well for integrating webcam video with the screen recording.

There are more basic screencasting tools available for free. Some recommended screencasting tools are Ezvid, Screenr and Rylstim Screen Recorder.

8. Using Whiteboard

Whiteboard presentations are a great way to communicate complex concepts. A whiteboard allows an easy overview of your course content, using which you can then unpack specific elements of the online course. Whiteboards are a great way to walk the audience through complicated steps, as during the process the narrator is providing active commentary on how the problem is solved.

 

Use Whiteboard for effective communication

This is a very easy to use tool, and features both the presenter and the whiteboard. With this additional element in your e-learning video, you also need to manage lighting for the whiteboard so that it is not obstructed by shadows and is uniformly lighted.

For this purpose, a four-point lighting system should be used. This comprises of a key and fill light in front of the presenter, either side of the camera. These 2 lights should be at a height above the presenter, and at the same distance as the camera.

The remaining two lights are to be covered by flatboards to eliminate glare, and should therefore provide uniform illumination of the whiteboard. These 2 fill lights will essentially eliminate shadows and continue the focus on the whiteboard.

9. Whiteboard animation

Whiteboard animations are videos that use the concept of the whiteboard to show the learner a series of concepts, using hand-drawn figures. Whiteboard animation essentially eliminates the physical whiteboard, to be replaced by a digital whiteboard, used by a software such VideoScribe and Adobe AfterEffects. A whiteboard animation video can be made for the duration of 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and is very useful in presenting an information-heavy message effectively.

Use Adobe After Effects for video editing, and use VdoCipher for secure video hosting

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Make Your Online Video Course More Engaging with these tips

Making your online video course engaging to students is a very important part of creating quality E-Learning courses. Engaging site design ensures that students are motivated to continue your online course, and ensures better results in terms of course completion and knowledge retention.

We have learnt considerably about E-Learning design through working with online video course creators. Here we bring our insights on how to make your online course more engaging.
This is combined with insights collected from leading E-Learning experts – Christopher Pappas (of elearningindustry.com), Tom Kuhlmann (Chief Learning Architect at Articulate LMS) and Connie Malamed (the eLearning Coach).

E-Learning Design Checklist for Your Online Video Course

checklist for online video course

A checklist for you to consider when designing any activity to make your online course more engaging would be:

  • Activity should be relevant to the online course content
  • Activity should be directly linked to the course objectives and outcomes
  • Encourages students’ active involvement
  • Increases student retention of key concepts
  • Activity should be fun and rewarding

Ideas to keep in mind for E-Learning design

1. Gamify your Online Course

Gamification for online video course

Gamification is the process of using elements from game design to help create an immersive environment for your online video course. This comprises of creating a social element to the game, in which users are given a sense of competition. Rewarding points, leaderboards, badges, and user progress levels are elements that can be used to create an environment in which students can immediately sense their progress in the course. Essentially gamification leverages people’s desire for socializing, competition, achievement and status for achieving greater engagement.

2. Create Learner Personas for Online Course

During the stage of online course design it is highly recommended that you create a learner persona, which would serve as an effective prototype of your learners.Having this well-defined learner persona would help the educator design the course keeping in mind the requirements of the target audience, helping ensure sustained learner engagement. This learner persona would share attributes with your learners, which would include training goals, education background, and skill level.

Create Learner Persona for your online video course

To create an effective learner persona, we suggest that you interview a sample of your target audience. This is to ensure that the learner persona you create for your online video course accurately maps to the real audience. Interviews and conversations would help you develop actionable insights into understanding your learners.

3. Simplify Complex Concepts

Simplifying your online course video to communicate complex concepts effectively is very important to sustain learner engagement. Online video courses offer a great solution through chunking content – that is creating short (say 2-3 minute long) videos, explaining a particular element to the concept. Shorter videos ensure higher knowledge retention, and do not demand much attention span from students. Processing and communicating knowledge piece-wise is an effective method increasingly being used by instructors and designers.

4. Use Quizzes Optimally

It is generally advised that a syllabus quiz is incorporated at the outset of the course. Having a syllabus quiz immediately after the introduction to the course ensures that the learners are aware of the course contents and the desired outcomes of the course, and have successfully create a mental scheme about how the course will progress. An ability to map the course structure helps in reinforcing the eventual desired outcome of the course.

5. Engage Students Directly Through Discussion Boards and Feedbacks

discussion board for online course

The level of activity in discussion boards is a good metric for how much students are engaged in the course. A vibrant discussion board ensures that your students find the course interesting and are willing to share ideas and knowledge on related subjects. Student collaboration can be further encouraged by designing group projects. Group projects encourage teamwork, and need to be actively supervised to ensure its success in increasing student engagement.

Creating an online video course requires a great one-time effort in terms of creation of online course content and website. However there is the possibility that this content may become dated over time. You can create a blog to post additional new information on course topics. Blogs complement the online video course by providing relevant current information, and are more authoritative than discussion boards. Blogs can also be used as a forum for discussion, and for engaging students using an expert-learner method.

6. Use Characters for Online Video Course

From the perspective of instruction design, characters may be used to guide the learners through the course. With the objective of guiding learners, the three personas that a character can take are:

  1. Course Guide – Such a character would offer guidance and support for the learner throughout their progress in their course. The character can introduce them to the next activity, as well as remind them of their course progress.
  2. Peer – This is an E-Learning character that would be on the same level as the learner in the course, and is perceived by the learner as training alongside them. The peer is designed to be similar to the learner persona created by the E-Learning team, and would be used to create a sense of competition and socialization.
  3. Expert – This character would embody an expert in the field, serving as an authority figure. This character would offer tips throughout the course, and assist in the learner finding additional knowledge when they would like to go into the topic in more depth.

 7. Storytelling approach for engaging learners

Storytelling for online course

Characters can also be used in storytelling as the primary drivers of the narrative. You can make learner engagement in your course more effective by incorporating a character who would storify the content to be learnt. Well developed E-Learning characters help give your learners a way to emotionally engage with your content. This emotional engagement ensures that your learners remain absorbed in the course, and t
heir engagement is more meaningful, ensuring knowledge retention and better achievement of the objectives.

8. Encourage your learners to pick an Avatar

This would help in creating a more game-like E-Learning experience. Having the users represented by an avatar helps build a direct connection with the course environment, and helps build a personal connection for the learners with the environment.

9. Measuring Course Objectives through Commensurate Evaluation

In the use of E-Learning for workplace training, the objectives of the course are closely-tied to performance in the workplace. For this reason, designing corporate training solutions requires an understanding of the workplace, so that learners from your online video course are able to transfer their learning to the workplace scenario. Interview sessions with the target audience is again highly recommended.

In a corporate training environment an E-Learning course is used to augment a goal defined by the management. For the E-Learning course to be able to achieve the desired objective, it is important to define the desired results from the course in relation to the management’s objective. For example, if the objective of the course is to enhance workplace collaboration between colleagues, the parameter to gauge success should not just be performance in the course itself – a more accurate parameter would be a measurement of scale of collaboration between colleagues. Directly mapping the results of the course to the course objective is essential to maintain a result-oriented training paradigm.