Community colleges have always faced a unique set of challenges. From a large non-traditional student population with non-standard schedules to a large number of instructors who sometimes have some very high turnover, community colleges need to be far more flexible than their four-year college colleagues. As technology has changed how students approach education, this challenge has only increased.
So many community colleges have been turning to video to reinforce their curriculum. Lecture capture helps students keep up, even when they face scheduling challenges. It also makes a great supplement to classroom materials. Instructors are also increasingly assigning their students to create videos as well.
But where do you put these videos? To start, many community colleges turned to free platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. But as video use has increased, some problems emerge.
Why Not Just Use YouTube?
Putting your content on one of the free platforms ultimately involves giving up control of your content. There are a couple potential problems to watch for here.
Sending students out of the system.
The majority of schools use an LMS to manage their content and classes. By hosting video elsewhere, they have to send students off the platform every time they want to access class materials.
Not only is it inconvenient, it’s potentially very distracting. Everyone’s gotten sucked into YouTube’s recommendations, falling into the “just one more video” trap. Worse, because YouTube will try to find related videos but there’s no quality controls whatsoever, students may even get pulled into watching videos with incomplete or inaccurate information, making it much harder for them to actually remember the true information later.
Rights can get complicated.
As it should, YouTube does its best to protect copyright. But the algorithms, while very sophisticated, are still blunt instruments. The rules for what can be used to educational purposes and what can be uploaded are not the same. Some materials professors may want to share cannot be legally uploaded to a public forum. Some materials could be legally uploaded but will still be automatically removed (unless you’re willing to get into a complicated and long dispute).
That’s not even addressing community colleges’ own rights. Posting all your own content to a public site may not be in your own best interests, either.
Accessibility also gets complicated.
YouTube does have automated captioning. However, it’s notoriously error-prone. If you want to ensure accessibility, it’s better to have your own control over your captioning.
Student privacy can be compromised.
If you’re going to require students to submit their own videos, steps need to be taken to ensure that their privacy is protected. That’s hard to do in a public platform.
Advantages of a Video Portal or Integration
There are also a number of advantages to deploying a video platform, from taking advantage of more advanced technologies like automated lecture capture and interactive video quizzing to customizing players to match college branding. That’s why increasingly, community colleges are turning away from using YouTube and taking their video strategies into their own hands.