UK institutions are facing the threat of a significant loss of income from overseas students in the 2020-2021 academic year.
The government has signalled that degree level education can be delivered remotely and online but only where the quality of learning is maintained at a high standard. To achieve this goal, universities are implementing an eLearning strategy that places the student experience first. Without that, courses risk losing accreditation and university funding becomes a critical issue.
Face to face education is clearly the gold standard. Live distance learning over a video conferencing platform comes a close second, but there are obvious practical reasons why a lecturer working at 11am in the UK might find students in New York (5am) and Sydney (8pm) less than receptive for an academic discussion.
In the new reality therefore, watching lectures remotely and on-demand will be a key driver in higher education for the next 18 months and it will change the shape of universities permanently. Although born out of a global crisis, the shift could benefit overseas students who will be able to access courses in a foreign country without the cost of moving abroad and the inconvenience of managing time zones.
Fortunately, many institutions have already invested in a learning platform that can deliver video-based education, whether it’s a specialist on-demand system such as Panopto or Kaltura, or a general Moodle solution.
The pressing concern now is how to feed those platforms with sufficient video-based lectures to complement other existing teaching materials. The obvious answer is to film and share lectures online. Today, anyone with a smartphone or webcam can record video. However, there are issues with this type of consumer technology:
Lecture capture systems of five years ago involved a spaghetti of cabling, a mesh of converters and a complex workflow of media management. Recently evolved video technologies have simplified the process, reduced installation times and enabled pain-free integration with online teaching platforms and learning management systems.
Video technology based on IP (Internet protocol) technology has made a breakthrough in making professional cameras, recorders and streaming devices which can now sit on the standard IT network. This means that all the equipment needed to capture lectures in high quality, complete with a teacher’s presentation, can be connected to an existing Ethernet network. Installation is fast and each device can be managed and operated remotely.
Most professional cameras, recorders and streaming equipment that support the new video over IP standard also feature traditional inputs, such as SDI and HDMI. Lecture rooms with existing video cabling can be quickly upgraded by installing the same equipment listed above, but connecting each piece of equipment using AV connections.
Devices such as the Epiphan Pearl 2 and Lumens LC-200 lecture capture systems support IP and video inputs at the same time and can mix different sources. There’s no disadvantage, no restrictions on what sources can be used – just total flexibility.
Workflows are tested, equipment is certified, installation can be swift. Now is the time to act.
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