Video can help students express themselves

This article was created by a Technology Services student employee. Our student employees attend, engage, and report on campus events that feature technology. Students provide a unique perspective on how innovations in technology affect campus life.

By Sara Abdeljalil, Economics '18

Spring 2017 is almost over, but summer term is just around the corner. As students prepare for summer and (if they’re really go-getters) fall classes, many are seeing that, more and more, video is part of how they will learn.

Thanks to the rise in technology and demand for online classes, many professors have been taking their classes online. Programs like Kaltura help make this move from physical classroom to virtual classroom possible.

Kaltura is a video creation  service that allows instructors to record their lectures and post them online. This is a real break-through for online education because it basically allows students to learn in a traditional way. Students learn from face to face instruction without actually having to be there in person. Students can also review a lecture multiple times, or view a lecture they might have missed. Because of these benefits, even some in-person classes are integrating Kaltura into the curriculum.

Using video to teach isn’t exactly new. But using Kaltura provides some distinct benefits.

Previously, instructors had to upload their content to YouTube, and have their students stream it from there. Unfortunately, for students who are in countries like China, that isn’t feasible; YouTube isn’t accessible for people in those countries. Kaltura, on the other hand, is accessible. Content can be uploaded to Illinois Media Space or to Compass 2g directly.

The University first piloted the program almost six years ago, thanks to the work of people like John Tubbs, a Digital Media Manager for eLearning at the College of Business.

Tubbs (left; image courtesy of explained how beneficial Kaltura has been for the College of Business and for the University as a whole.

He pointed out that a lot of MBA programs have switched to being online because many of their students are professionals, or are located in other countries. Video allows students to have that classroom experience without having to take off time from work or fly to another country to go to a physical classroom.

At the pedagogical level, Kaltura provides another way for students to learn.

“It allows students who are not best suited to deliver their mastery of knowledge through writing to have another method to express themselves through video,” Tubbs says.

But before Kaltura, video used to pose a lot of challenges. For instance, video size caused problems for creators and hosts alike.

Now, however, according to Drew McGregor, manager of Digital Media Services at Technology Services, Kaltura provides them with a mind-boggling amount of space. “There are currently 38,958 media entries in the system. 10,535 NetIDs have uploaded at least one piece of media since we started the service in 2014. 23,838 NetIDs have logged in to view media that was password-protected, and doesn’t include content viewed that is publicly accessible.” llinois faculty, students, and staff no longer have to worry about a video ever being “too big” to upload.

Perhaps most importantly, Kaltura is a shared tool meant to be used by everyone at Illinois.

“Kaltura takes care of distribution networks. It’s a software service that no one has to maintain. The campus pays for it and you don’t have to have anyone staff it. It’s good to have video supported on a campus level so every department can use the video capabilities,” Tubbs said.

With every person in every department at Illinois able to easily use video to teach and learn, diversity is the real winner. More students from more countries, from more walks of life, and equipped with various skills are all able to experience a University of Illinois education.

“Video gives students another way to deliver their mastery of knowledge and to express themselves,” Tubbs said.

For help with teaching with video, please contact the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). Technical questions about Kaltura can be directed to the Technology Services Help Desk at 217-244-7000 or via email at learn more about how to use Kaltura, please follow this link