What's New: JMUtube
by Reba Leiding
Faculty and staff looking for a way to incorporate multimedia into instruction or training now have a new resource, developed in the Center for Instructional Technology. JMUtube is a web site that offers a one-stop location for faculty and staff to store and deliver multimedia content over the internet. Plus, it has a catchy name.
The JMUtube project started in the late summer of 2008 when Grover Saunders, Kevin Hegg, and Andreas Knab, web and software developers in CIT, began planning an update to the faculty and staff streaming media server. (The streaming server is dedicated to providing faculty and staff with access to the specialized servers necessary for delivering streaming video content.) The group came to the realization that faculty wanted access to more than streaming video. JMUtube is a means for deploying all types of media, including audio, video, websites, podcasts, Presenter, Camtasia, CRASS (Classroom Recording and Streaming System, technology used in Harrison Hall to record classroom presentations), and more into Blackboard and other websites. Branding the service as JMUtube gives the service a “handle,” making it easier for CIT to increase awareness of the service and promote it.
JMUtube’s audience can be divided into two groups: users who create and upload content, and users who view that content. Grover Saunders notes, “We really mean faculty and staff, and hope that JMUtube will be used by departments and organizations across JMU.” Students generally won’t access the JMUtube web site directly, but view its content in Blackboard or other web sites.
JMUtube uses Adobe Flash Player technology as its standard delivery platform. This greatly simplifies the process for encoding video for delivery and allows for extra flexibility in the future. The popularity of YouTube, the internet’s most highly used video sharing web site, suggests that simplicity of use is more important than quality or features. Like YouTube, users can easily create and reuse playlists of content.
Any faculty or staff member at JMU can log into JMUtube right now and begin loading or viewing content. The site runs concurrently with the older streaming site, but content can be transferred easily into JMUtube. Eventually, JMUtube will replace the streaming server entirely.
Currently, JMUtube supports H.264 video files, Adobe Presenter, and Camtasia files. Over the course of Spring Semester 2009, support for audio files and image files will be added, as well as support for CRASS classroom recorders in Harrison Hall. JMUtube also will be integrated with the upcoming MDID 3 (the new version of the Madison Digital Image Database), and will allow faculty and staff to deliver protected content such as the Online Video Collection.