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How University Media Services Pivoted to Distance Learning

Notre Dame's Eric Nisly and UPenn's Chistopher Martin discuss the challenges they faced facilitating their faculty's pivot to eLearning in this clip from Streaming Media East Connect.

Watch the complete panel from Streaming Media East Connect, Education Video Takes Center Stage, on the Streaming Media YouTube channel.

Learn more about EDU streaming at Streaming Media West 2020.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Eric Nisly: The studio portion that I'm part of is also part of the greater IT department on campus. We saw that this might be happening, and we started getting different response groups activated so that we could start tasking, different people to handle different parts of it. We have a very traditional faculty base that was not ready to be going online at all. We had over 3,000 professors and nearly 1,000 of those had not even turned on the learning management (LMS) tool for classes. So not only were they not familiar with it, but they literally had never touched it. And so we had a team of 30 that I was also a part of, because I have a background in academic technologies with the group that supports that directly.

And so I played a dual role between supporting direct calls with faculty of "How do I turn zoom?" or "How do I get my course into the video tool?" We also took all of our studios and flipped them as quickly as we could to be automatic recording studios. Panopto is our tool for doing classroom recordings. We made it to where they could walk in, an operator could start the recording for them, do the labeling, have it automatically go into the system, and automatically dump it into the LMS system for them. So it was as automated as possible.

We only had 15 classrooms and our three studios that were functional for that for some of these professors, because we have a lot of biology and math and chemistry that have a lot of equations that still needed to be able to do heavy diagramming.

And so they would come in and use lightboards in our studio to be able to do a lightboard presentation, diagram everything out, do the conversation, and then walk away. And five minutes later it's automatically into their class for them.

So it was a lot of real quick training to automate as much as possible, because there was no way you could handle that many professors with manual touches. And a lot of education, lot of documents were produced as quickly as possible. There were just teams of people that were just writing docs on how to get things done. And how to use Zoom. How do you most securely use Zoom after the Zoom-bombing issues that were popping up, and what are best practices. And so just the amount of docs that were produced was phenomenal by itself.

Christopher Martin: Right now, we're kind of the epitome of reactive versus proactive in the university setting where we were kind of on a life raft trying to get through the spring semester. And now we have time to think about the fall semester. So I think a big part of our role going forward is going to be reconceptualizing the courses and how we use video in them, and knowing our streaming tools so well that we can provide creative solutions for faculty as well as events and remote recordings and podcasts that normally happen in person.

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