ITS recently sent out a survey to solicit feedback on the homegrown video-streaming application, Video47, which many Pomona College staff and faculty use to share educational videos with students. The survey questions are meant to help us determine what features Pomona users most want in the next iteration of a robust video management and streaming service. We would like to share the results of that survey with you, but first, let’s review why Pomona College needs this replacement in the first place.
Video47 is built on old technologies that modern browsers are no longer able to support. To keep it running for the past few years, ITS has had to continually reduce security settings. As much as we would like to avoid any changes to Video47 and simply continue to support this beloved tool as is, we have reached a point in which doing so compromises the security of the entire Pomona College technological environment. This risk prompts our need to find an alternative to Video47.
Because the original Video47 codebase can no longer be shored up, that leaves two obvious pathways of change: build Video47 de novo or find an existing system that meets Pomona College’s educational video-sharing needs. Building a replacement tool locally means hiring a team of developers for the initial build and a team for the continued maintenance, security, and support of the system. The College also would incur expenses related to server hardware, storage, and bandwidth. For reasons such as these, most IT operations have moved away from homegrown systems, especially when there is a viable alternative. We believe there is a viable alternative to Video47. Since Video47 was first conceived and built, many similar products—specifically for higher education—have been designed. We are confident that, guided by the survey results, we can find a replacement tool that would not only meet but exceed Video47’s capabilities.
We had 133 survey respondents, 81 of whom said they use Video47. Features that the respondents most want to maintain include:
- Ability to upload videos
- Ability to share content with students that could be accessed outside the classroom
- Playlist generation
- Sakai integration
Features that the respondents are most unhappy with include:
- Clunky interface
- Degradation of video quality
- Incompatibility with so many browsers
With these responses as well as the open text responses driving our search, we will ensure that the Video47 replacement meets, at least, the following criteria:
- Ability for faculty to upload their own videos
- Full integration into our LMS
- Ability to create multiple playlists
- Video scaling for both different internet speeds and devices
- Full support for all browsers
- Ease of use
We are currently working to match these capabilities and features to existing platforms. Our next steps in this process will be to preview different streaming services which fulfill these features and to reach out to faculty and staff with the results.
This move is stressful for all of us. However, making the move now will allow Pomona College to continue to provide reliable and safe streaming for our staff, faculty, and students and will provide a host of new features to make streaming and sharing clips for teaching much more effortless. Furthermore, we will be able to sustain this service into the foreseeable future.
We look forward to working with Pomona staff and faculty to find the best option. As we prepare for the next steps in that process, we are sharing the current list of most frequently asked questions—with answers! This list will continue to evolve, so please visit the Video47 Replacement FAQs for the most up-to-date information.