COVID-19 - Five things we have learned so far

Updated: Mar 26


First and foremost we'd like to extend our best wishes and regards to any of our customers, or indeed to anyone who is reading this blog post who is either affected directly or indirectly by COVID-19


We'd also like to re-assure you that MEDIAL is here for you at this time of unprecedented uncertainty. We are doing whatever we can to help our customers who are now facing the possibility of teaching remotely for the foreseeable future


Off the back of all of this and rapid changes that we are all experiencing we thought it would be useful to bring together some of our experiences thus far so that we can all pull together and pool resources and knowledge to the benefit of everyone


1) Documentation and Help Guides are key


A great deal of the functions of MEDIAL (although fully documented by us) have also been simply and precisely explained by our customers already


This has made a HUGE difference already and has meant that the departments in charge of delivering these services are not overwhelmed


We have fielded record numbers of enquiries from teachers asking how to use MEDIAL but, more often than not, when we have referred these to the relevant department they have had a ready made help guide or video with internal branding


For those that don't here is a video that we created a little while ago on how to use MEDIALecture, which is likely to come in handy now that recording your lessons has become a necessity rather than a nice to have



Here is the full documentation on MEDIALecture, which we are more than happy for you to cut and paste from and use in your own documentation or simply point people to the page - http://help.medial.com/Content/Media/MediaLecture.htm


If your organisation does not have MEDIALecture - let us know - we'd love to help you out by offering extended trial periods


2) The LMS is coming into its own


MEDIAL has always seen the Learning Management systems as vital to the way that our customers can deliver their teaching materials. And, where video is used, for want of better terminology, you can turbo charge this experience


That being said not all of our customer have had the same opinion opining their LMS as a glorified content dumping ground with Teachers either not knowing how to use it correctly or simply not being interested


This has changed significantly even in the last few weeks. We are seeing a huge increase in the amount of student submissions using video as Teachers look for a way of engaging their now widely distributed audience


Whether you use Moodle, Canvas, Blackboard or Brightspace you can use MEDIAL to allow Teachers and Students to upload or record video all without leaving the LMS


What does MEDIAL do that your LMS doesn't?


Find out here


3) Accessibility is more important than ever


With accessibility already a key issue prior to COVID-19, Educational organizations were either gearing up to ramp up their efforts with regards accessibility or had already done so to a degree


The key issue here was never a lack of desire to make materials accessible, it was simply a case that the budgets available to do it properly were not available. The huge price disparity between captioning by a human versus by a computer is often cited as a "disproportionate burden" in terms of having 99% accuracy of closed captions for all video content


We have seen a steady increase in the demand for our Closed Captioning service over the last 18 months or so, but in recent weeks we have seen many of our customers wanting to implement this in the immediate term as there is a recognition that those with additional needs will either be without their usual in person help, or will now be heavily reliant on the video content produced by their Teachers


Here is a video demo that shows how our Closed Captions feature works

Again, if your organisation does not have Closed Captions on their MEDIAL, and you have a need at this time - let us know - we are keen to help out at this time


For further information about all of MEDIAL's accessibility features go here


4) Zoom is everyone's new best friend!


Long before the pandemic, many of us were using Zoom and extolling its virtues to anyone that would listen

Now in the same way that e-mail gradually went from the domain of the nerd to the mainstream - Zoom is beginning to become part of people's every day lives


From our point of view, MEDIAL and Zoom are friendly already and about to get even more so...


A large amount of our users already upload content that they record in Zoom, largely because MEDIAL (unlike Zoom) does not delete your content after a certain period of time and most MEDIAL installations have no limit on the amount you can store


The HD content looks great in MEDIAL as well as being delivered at an adaptive bit rate to audiences with varying bandwidths. Once uploaded to MEDIAL you can also use it within your LMS


In v7 (out summer 2020) we will be releasing a feature where we fully integrate with Zoom to allow all or selected Zoom recordings from your Zoom account to be automatically ingested into your MEDIAL


We are also acutely aware of the growth in use in Microsoft Teams in recent times. We are currently scoping this integration as well - please get in touch if you have any thoughts on what you might need


5) The Ability to Scale is King right now


In the past there has always been a tendency for users to get hung up on a new cool feature they have seen and use this as a reason to resist using a tool that basically "does the job"


What we are seeing right now is Teachers actively asking for a tool to do the job and the job is getting done in double quick time


Students are sitting and waiting for content to be produced and are lapping up video content in particular as it makes them still feel connected in an otherwise self isolating world


So, how do you set up a system that can cope with this demand bearing in mind that all video once uploaded normally has to be compressed and transcoded prior to delivery therefore going into a queue with everyone else's content waiting to do the same


Enter MEDIALecture....



All content recorded using MEDIALecture is converted and compressed prior to it being uploaded by the user. Where your server would have done the work in the past - your user's PC or Mac has done the work for you long before it makes it to you


Beautiful HD content available instantly to your students and no extra load on your server


No scaling is required, your users just need to download MEDIALecture and they are away!


If your organisation does not have MEDIALecture - let us know - we'd love to help you out by offering extended trial periods


Or, try it our for FREE here on your own computer using our demo system


If users are preferring to upload their own content - MEDIAL can scale by adding more transcoders - again, at this challenging time, we are offering extended trial periods for extra transcoders if you are struggling to keep up with demand


Stay well and best wishes from everyone at MEDIAL


Rob Thomas

MEDIAL

rob@medial.com