At University of Edinburgh we centrally support and manage two large media services, Media Hopper Create and Media Hopper Replay. Both Media Hoppers are named for Grace Hopper.
Media Hopper Create is our media asset management service (for long term storage and streaming of media) and Media Hopper Replay is our lecture recording service. Both services are integrated into the VLE and core to the University’s teaching and learning. Media Hopper Create’s usage sky rocketed during COVID and although there has been some reduction since the pandemic ended, usage is still very high compared to pre-pandemic. Media Hopper Replay was used less during the pandemic but was used more for live streaming and for automatically pushing Zoom recordings. Now teaching is back on campus, usage has gradually increased to pre-pandemic levels.
Media Hopper Create is provided by Kaltura and Media Hopper Replay is provided Echo360. These 2 edtech partners have been with us since 2015 and 2017 respectively.
The scale of use of media in learning and teaching at Edinburgh is significant. In January this year 2,301 new media items were created in Media Hopper Create by 605 staff and students. 3,792 lectures captured in Media Hopper Replay in January, of which 235 were live streamed. This is an increase of approx. 1,000 from January 2022. Even allowing for some duplication as colleagues move content from one platform to another , that still amounts to around 5,000 new items added to our ‘born digital’ media collections.
As a university, it’s clearly important that we have the tools we need to support teaching and learning. During the last few years we’ve seen a change in the way teaching and assessment is being done at the University and with the development of the Curriculum Transformation project, the landscape will further change. Given the advances in technology over the past few years and the developments with the Curriculum Transformation project, we should complete a detailed analysis in order to inform strategy for the future.
A recent HEPI report highlights that lecture recordings are the most in-demand digital resources for students and that ‘Recordings should be uploaded for the duration of the course and the resource could improve accessibility for part-time students, students with caring responsibilities, and students who are otherwise unable to attend lectures in-person. Videos should be uploaded onto a single, user-friendly platform’.
Our media platforms integrate with our VLE and we have been looking at the accessibility of those materials for students.
During the summer of 2022, 597 pre-selected courses from 19 Schools and Deaneries across the University of Edinburgh were reviewed against a defined selection of accessibility criteria. From the materials available, the review surveyed a selection of course materials published directly into Learn VLE , along with materials uploaded, URLs, images, and audio files. This review provides an overview of course accessibility by analysing a random selection of materials located within the courses. Over 7600 documents/URLs/audio/image files were reviewed overall.
- From the audio and video files reviewed, an average of 95% provided a title that gave a reasonable expectation of the content within. 9 Schools and Deaneries had 100% accessibility rates on audio/video naming conventions.
- An average of 73% showed the duration of the file as part of the description. In 8 Schools and Deaneries, more than 80% of checked files showed the relevant duration.
- An average of 60% provided subtitles (or if no audio was present, this was made clear). In 13 Schools and Deaneries, at least 50% of checked files provided subtitles or a note that there was no audio.
- From the files featuring subtitles/captioning, 91% were of reasonable quality.
- Only about an average of 7% of checked files had made transcripts available to users. Only in 6 Schools and Deaneries did 5% or more of checked files provide transcripts.
- 1.3x is the most popular playback speed.