Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Video Streaming Site Options

It's a good idea to put instructional videos somewhere online where students can view them, rather than uploading them directly to D2L. This is called "streaming." The main reason to do it is because streaming video works better for students and we want to make it as easy as possible for students to obtain course content. Here are the main options that I recommend to UWEC faculty, based on what you want/need to do. They change, so I'll update this post periodically.

This post focuses on instructor-created videos. If you want to stream a video that is copyright-protected (movies/DVDs), that needs to occur through the Video Department so it is behind a password protected site. We are also working on building a repository of these videos.

These sites all function pretty similarly. The main difference is permissions: who can view/find videos. The University Server differs from the others the most because it is managed by the university and linked with your UWEC account, whereas the other sites are not associated with the university and are managed by you. If portability is a concern, for instance if you intend on using the videos for teaching at another school, it is probably a better idea to use a site other than the university server or to put your videos on both.


I am a big fan of YouTube; check out this post for the reasons. This is my #1 recommended option for faculty who want to upload and manage their own videos. A Google account is required, which is not affiliated with your UWEC account. Remember you can have multiple Google accounts if you want to separate your work and personal information.

  • Many people like the "unlisted" option which means only people who have the link can view the video. Of course people can share the link with others so it is not secure but it won't be suggested or come up in a search. 
  • The default is public which means anyone can search for it and it may be suggested. 
  • There is also a private option in which you'd need to invite specific people to view the video. This is not a good way to share course content. 


I use Vimeo for most of my personal videos, to create a little work/personal separation and to gain experience with it.

I recommended YouTube first because Vimeo Basic (free) has a limit total storage space and how many videos you can upload per week, whereas there are no limits on the university server or YouTube (well, there's a 15 minute limit but you can verify your account to get around that).

I like Vimeo better in some ways because it's a prettier site than YouTube with less junk all over and videos automatically are viewable in a larger window. Videos on Vimeo Basic used to be inaccessible on mobile devices, but that's changed. Yay!

Vimeo on the left, YouTube on the right. Same video. You can make the YouTube video bigger, of course; this is just what automatically comes up. I find the suggestions on the top in Vimeo much easier to ignore, but maybe that's just me.
  • Vimeo has a cool setting where you can put a password on a video. That is not available on YouTube or the University Server. Of course, people could share the password so it's not very secure but it adds a little bit of security, kind of like the "unlisted" function in YouTube. 
  • The other options are anyone, only me, only people I follow, and only people I choose.
  • Videos are not very findable here. I left a video set to public and didn't share it with anyone specific, and it only has the one hit that I caused (i.e., nobody found it). I could have set it to "only me" because I just wanted to make sure I saved it but turns out it doesn't matter. 
  • There are also less stupid comments on vimeo, maybe just because it's used less. 


I like screencast.com because it is associated with the Techsmith products such as Camtasia so there's a "share to screencast.com" function in Camtasia. Also, it is the only place that streams Camtasia videos with quizzing in them. 

There is a limit on storage space and monthly bandwidth. I know some faculty who use YouTube for almost everything and then screencast.com for Camtasia videos with quizzes. You can attach a file to a video here, like you also can on the university server. 

  • There is no way to search this site, so random people won't be coming here to find stuff. 
  • This site is the weirdest one for permissions because they are set on folders rather than individual videos. Individual videos that are not within folders are automatically public and cannot be changed individually. 
  • A person's screencast.com user page is public so any videos not in restricted folders would appear publicly, but I don't know how anyone would find it unless they had the link. 
  • The privacy options for folders are 
    • Public: viewable on your page and other items within the folder are viewable to people who get in to see one thing
    • Hidden: people need the URL and they won't be able to see other things in the folder 
    • Password: people need the URL and a password
    • Authenticated: people need to login to screencast.com
  • Here's more info. 

The University Server (V-Brick)

This site is located at media.uwec.edu and requires a UWEC username and password to access. A positive is that no additional accounts are required since it is integrated with UWEC accounts. Right now, only the Video Department staff can upload videos; individual instructors cannot. This should change in the summer of 2014.

  • The default setting requires people to login with their UWEC username and password to view videos when provided with the direct link. 
  • Permissions can be restricted so that only certain people (such as a class list) have access. Right now, the Video Department needs to set up those permissions. They would need to be changed each semester with a new class. 
  • Videos that are not locked down will be available via search and may come up as suggestions when watching other related videos. So, unless restricted, videos are "public" within UWEC. 
    • There is no "unlisted" option like there is in YouTube where anyone with the link can access it but it won't come up in searches. 

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou April:
    Good unbiased review of options for sharing media.