When UC Berkeley and ETH Zurich initiated project “Matterhorn” more than 10 years ago, course capture and video management were merely on the horizon for most academic institutions.
Today, lecture recording is becoming a commodity for many, despite didactical concerns. Regardless, videos closer to the pedagogical zeitgeist like MOOC, interactive video and student-generated content need a place to live, too and so does material digitised or provisioned by academics ad hoc (“YouTube for your campus”). Video management systems likeOpencast provide a home for all of them, with numerous options to distribute and publish them, Open Access or restricted in access with Shibboleth, CAS or other systems in control of users.
Opencast is being developed, driven, and supported by a community of mainly academic institutions, with commercial and other service providers amidst. The majority of users are universities keen to provide a flexible solution for all videos on campus, on site or in the cloud.Opencast is designed to integrate and communicate with other academic systems in order to schedule lecture recordings from your syllabus, provision them to the LMS or CMS and harvest metadata to the library, where colleagues are also happy to hear the Opencast archive is open to their long-term storage project and DOI.
While much of this remains invisible to the end-user consuming the video, the Opencast player shows off with respect to the features provided:
- slide/scene detection
- options for automated transcription/translation
- user comments
- OCR-based analysis of slides recorded
- 4K video
Obviously, you can customize the player tothe features you want users to see. There are a number of products related to Opencastto facilitate the production of video and its usage in an academic setting:
- tracking systems for cameras to automatically follow the teacher in the classroom
- affordable multi-stream capture devices (PyCA)
- desktop- and browser-based recording options (screencast)
- a powerful video analysis and annotation tool to support video-based learning scenarios
So in retrospect, the Opencast community has successfully “build a communalWebcasting platform to more easily record and distribute […] educational content” as envisaged ten years ago. It’s the only Open Source solution on the market and the only one universities can shape according to their needs.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the 2019 Opencast summit will take place at ETH Zürich January 16-18 – ten years after theMatterhorn kick-off meeting in Zurich. Anyone interested in academic video is welcome to join and contribute, the call for proposals ends mid-December.
Olaf Schulte, Opencast/ETHZurich, Switzerland