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Jan Ozer Introduces "Streaming Media 101" Online Course

Streaming Media 101: Technical Onboarding for Streaming Media Professionals is a new online course produced by Streaming Media contributing editor Jan Ozer. The course contains more than 8 hours of video divided into 56 lessons and 14 exercises, with upwards of 40 quizzes. Students who finish all content and pass all quizzes earn a completion certificate. The introductory price is $299, which will increase to $399 on June 1. 

In the interview, Ozer said he created the course to help new employees in streaming media-related jobs quickly get up to speed on the terms, technologies, and concepts unique to streaming. He says the course will be equally valuable to employees in companies producing live and VOD content and those producing the tools and services that enable streaming production. 

While much of the instruction is contained in lessons, exercises are hands-on videos created with free tools like MediaInfo, Bitrate Viewer, Handbrake, and FFmpeg. As Ozer explained, these exercises walk students through downloading, installing, and using these tools, and performing other fundamental tasks like encoding a file in YouTube and embedding the player into a blog, and broadcasting live via YouTube Live. Exercises introduce students to key tools, reinforce lessons, and demonstrate best practices for encoding and quality control. 

Click here for more information on the course. 

Transcript:

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Hi, I'm Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Editor and VP of streamingmedia.com, and I'm talking to Jan Ozer, one of our longtime contributing editors and a familiar face to anyone who's attended our events. Jan, how are you doing today?

Jan Ozer: I'm good. How are you, Eric?

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Doing well, all things considered, like all of us. Jan also runs his own website called streaminglearningcenter.com, and he's had a number of courses there over the years. And Jan, you've just started a new course there. Can you tell us just sort of the basics for now, and then we'll dig in a little bit?

Jan Ozer: Okay, the course title is Streaming Media 101 Technical Onboarding for Streaming Media Professionals. It's got about eight hours of video divided up into about 60 lessons, 14 exercises, 43 quizzes, and the introductory price is $299 through June 1.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: All right, so what's the elevator pitch?

Jan Ozer: Elevator pitch? Learn the technical fundamentals necessary to succeed in a streaming media-related job from a trusted source with lots of hands-on instruction so you can quickly apply what you've learned. How's that?

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: That's great. That's perfect. Exactly. So talk a little bit about obviously you see a need in the market for something like this, and I see it too. What's the need that you see out there that you're trying to fill with this?

Jan Ozer: I felt like, and I started this course after Streaming Media West in, I guess, last November, and the thought was you need to know a lot about a lot of things to successfully produce either VOD or live video. You need to choose the right codec, use the right encoding parameters. You've got the packaging side, the ABR format selection. You've got the delivery side, CDN, QoS, QoE. You've got the player side, MSE, EME, which player to use. There was no single place that people could go to to get comprehensive instruction on all their subjects, so that's what I tried to put together.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Okay. Is it designed for streaming media producers themselves, or is it more for people who are starting work at the companies that make the tools and services that help those producers?

Jan Ozer: Yeah, good question. I think it's primarily on the production side, the people who are producing because that's the biggest group of people who need this type of instruction. But I also think if you're going to build an encoder, you really should have a good perspective on a lot of the different aspects of encoding that impact that. So it's both.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: You mentioned that the course includes lessons, quizzes, and exercises. What's an example of an exercise, or how do the exercises operate?

Jan Ozer: Exercises reinforce lessons. They teach or introduce students to new tools, and they teach best practice work habits. When I looked at the course and started planning, I thought what do I want the student to know how to do when they finish the course? And that includes things like running Media Info and Bitrate Viewer to analyze files, understand what FFmpeg is and had to create and run a simple script, understand what VMAF is and learn how to compute it because all those things I use in my day-to-day job. I also thought that they needed to understand how to encode a file for uploading to an OVP or UGC site, how to upload, and how to embed that file into a webpage, and the same thing for a live streaming service provider. So those are all the skills that I promote in exercises.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Okay. Now this can be pretty dry stuff. So what sort of strategies are you using in the course to liven things up and make sure that students retain their interest?

Jan Ozer: A couple of things. Number one, whenever I teach an encoding parameter lesson or a codec lesson, I try to tie the lesson back to an encoder that the students may actually have. Anytime I'm choosing a codec or choosing a container format, I will show the student how to do that in the Adobe Media Encoder because I think that's a pretty common tool that's used to create a lot of mezzanine files. And then also cloud applications that students can access, like the Amazon Elastic Transcoder, AWS Elemental MediaConvert. And then finally, I use HandBrake a lot because every student can get HandBrake on pretty much any platform, and it's useful to create some files that I wanted to use in some exercises.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Okay. When students finish the course, will they receive a diploma or at least a certificate to show prospective employers or prospective clients that they've got a mastery of all this material?

Jan Ozer: They do, but I'm guessing the certificate is more for the employer than the employee. Some people may want to get it as a credential, but I see this as something that employers will want to have their students take to make sure that they have the background necessary to succeed in their job. The certificate will show that they viewed all the lessons, scored a hundred on all the quizzes, and went through all the exercises.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Okay. Last question, where can people find out more about it?

Jan Ozer: Streaming Learning Center is my website, and it's the top course listed today.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: All right, Jan sounds like great stuff, and I wish you luck with it.

Jan Ozer: Thanks very much, Eric.

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