Archive for category Annoucements

Quizzing in BlueCast

Quizzing in BlueCast

New in BlueCast is the ability to add quiz questions to any previously BlueCast video at any point during the presentation.

  • Creators can add multiple choice, multi-select and true/false questions into any video using the HTML5-based video editor.
  • Creators can configure whether:
    • Viewers can see their quiz grade.
    • Viewers can retake the quiz.
    • Viewers can review the correct answers with explanations after taking the quiz.
    • Viewers are blocked from advancing in the video until they have taken the quiz.
  • Video playback is paused when the viewer is prompted to take a quiz in the interactive player.
  • The quiz results are aggregated and available for review by the creator.

How to add Quizzes to BlueCast

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BlueCast Migration to the Cloud

Beginning on Friday July 29, at 5:00 PM Creighton will begin the process of switching our BlueCast environment to the cloud. This process should be complete by July 30 at 2:00am. During this migration, faculty and staff will not be able to record sessions using the Panopto Recorder. Viewing sessions will still be available to all faculty, staff and students. Once this migration is complete, faculty will need to download the updated Panopto Recorder on their individual computers. All classroom computers will be updated to the new Panopto Recorder by DoIT staff. Below are links with directions on how to download and install the new recorder. These directions are only valid once the migration is complete.  For students, they will continue to access their course material the same way as before.

Installing the Panopto Recorder for Mac

Installing the Panopto Recorder for Windows

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Using BlueCast in the Harper Center

A question came up recently about using BlueCast in the Harper Center. Put narrowly, BlueCast is available in properly equipped classrooms. More broadly, access to those properly-equipped classrooms can be complicated; Harper is a multi-use facility that includes classrooms, faculty offices, and public events.

To get the most out of the Harper Center, please contact Creighton University’s Central Reservations Office (a new tab will open if you click on this link). Central Reservations is one-stop shopping for all your Harper Center needs, including access to classrooms, if available.

Mark Andrews, Product Manager / App Admin, DoIT

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Email address change

I have changed the “how to get help” email address in BlueCast to servicedesk@creighton.edu from bluecast@creighton.edu. I think this will give BlueCast users a quicker way to ask for and receive assistance than using a separate email box.

Thank you for using BlueCast!

Mark Andrews ’84, Application Administrator

Division of Information Technology, Creighton University

mja30807@creighton.edu or x3065

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BlueCast Summer Update!

It’s that time again! DoIT will be upgrading BlueCast this summer to introduce a number of new features, fixes, and enhancements into the system. Our target date for this upgrade is July 11th during the standard maintenance window.

Here’s the change log for all of the features and enhancements to expect!

Headline Features

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is now used in our Smart Search to add search data for sessions
  • The BlueCast Viewer has a new look and feel, with many user interface improvements and bug fixes.
  • Updated embedded video player: The embedded player now supports autoplay, auto buffering, an optional link to launch the interactive video player, and an automatic HTML5 fallback for a larger range of browsers.
  • New Android app for searching and watching videos on an Android phone or tablet.
  • Creators can now specify a custom order for sessions in a folder. Using an easy drag and drop interface, you can choose the order that all the sessions in a folder should appear. This is perfect for creating a curriculum or set of training videos that should be watched in order. And when a viewer finishes watching one of these sessions, the player will suggest the next one in the list.
  • Creators can now schedule the publishing of sessions. This is great for releasing sessions along with a big announcement, or removing them after a semester is over. You can also make it so each session in a folder needs to be made available manually before viewers can see them – allowing you to edit or approve your sessions before being published.
  • Instructors can now embed a BlueCast video into any course document directly from BlueLine’s Rich Text Editor editor.

Interactive BlueCast Viewer

The BlueCast Viewer was rewritten with a new look and feel and many improvements:

  • The play controls have moved to the right side of the viewer
  • Improved the way videos with multiple streams (e.g. presenter video and screen recording) are kept in sync during playback
  • Improved the performance of switching between streams when watching a session
  • Sessions with only audio content have an improved layout
  • Information about the session author and their bio now shows in new a contents tab
  • Now includes the help menu from the video library
  • Improved the thumbnails for events in a session
  • Added keyboard shortcuts for controlling playback of the session
    • Spacebar: play/pause
    • Left/Right arrows: skip back and forward
    • Up/Down arrows: Volume up/down
    • ‘m’ key: mute/unmute
  • Play controls now always show when a video is in full screen mode
  • Event thumbnails will now auto-hide shortly after the session starts
  • Creators can now delete any public note on a session
  • Improved the layout of the session player for non-standard screen resolution
  • Fixed issues with the animations and behavior of the thumbnail timeline and table of contents in the player
  • The player now remembers the volume level used when watching a previous session
  • The player now defaults to 100% volume
  • Improved which source is shown by default in the session player
  • Fixed an issue that would sometime prevent showing and hiding the thumbnail timeline in the session player
  • Improved the display and accuracy of some search results when searching in the session player

Embedded Video Player

  • Embedded video playback now works on the Kindle Fire
  • Embedded videos will now play in HTML5 on modern browsers if flash is disabled

BlueCast Web Interace

  • The portal page has a new look and feel when the user is logged in to help guide them into the site
  • Improved the layout of the login controls in non-English languages
  • New alerts system that can publish alerts to all site users for important announcements/maintenance information
  • The share session page has been reworked to be more clear about the audience that a session is being shared with
  • Secondary video edit timings are now preserved when making a copy of the session
  • Thumbnails for powerpoint slides will now always include the full slide
  • Sorting sessions by name will now correctly sort different versions of the same session
  • Improved efficiency of getting the session counts in each folder – this improves performance when loading BlueCast web pages
  • The offline viewer has been removed from BlueCast
  • Improved robustness of resuming a broadcast if the original broadcast was stopped
  • Windows and Mac recorders now capture more details about the machine they are recording on and they are included in the session activity log for easier debugging
  • Clicking on a folder name in search results will now navigate to that folder
  • The session list now defaults to the thumbnail view for all users, if you change views the system will remember your preference
  • BlueCast now remembers which sort you’ve chosen for each individual folder in the system
  • When sharing a session with the Internet or All Users of your site, the option to send an email notification is disabled
  • Users can now correctly work with Dropbox content in the editor
  • Downloaded CSV viewing statistics files now show sub-minute precision for viewing time

Mac Recorder*

  • Sessions recorded on the Mac will now upload in the background, even after the recorder application has been closed
  • The Mac Recorder is using a new audio format that should improve compatibility
  • Fixed several issues in the Mac recorder related to uploading files and client permissions

Windows Recorder*

  • Fixed cases where the Windows Recorder was failing to warn users when sources were not functioning
  • Improved the error message for users who do not have permission to create sessions

Remote recorder*

  • Fixed an issue that would sometimes prevent the Remote Recorder from repairing a session if the recording was interrupted
  • Removed extraneous entries in the event log that the remote recorder would make after a device was removed
  • The Remote Recorder session repairer is now more robust
  • A remote recorder can now be configured via a client setting to only begin uploads during a specified time window

 

(* Recorders will be released soon!)
Bug Fixes

  • If a user has creator access to a folder shared with All Users, that folder will now correctly show in their folders list
  • Slides attached to a session but not included in the recording will no longer appear in search results
  • Sessions that are processing and listed in the “In Progress” view will now properly show the session duration
  • Fixed a performance issue that prevented bulk deleting a large number of sessions at once
  • The ‘Esc’ key will now correctly dismiss settings dialogs in the Web UI
  • The filter by date control in the session list is now usable with the keyboard
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes caused an error on the statistics page
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented deleting of a folder
  • Fixed an issue relating to certain very large recordings made with Mac or iOS recorders
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some Mac recordings from getting thumbnails
  • Fixed an issue that would prevent scrolling the timeline in the editor after performing a Save As operation
  • Fixed minor issues related to layout and display in the sharing window
  • Fixed an issue that would sometimes prevent users from dismissing a user alert
  • Fixed an issue which prevented sharing a session or folder in Internet Explorer 9
  • Fixed an issue that would sometimes prevent deleting a folder

 

If you have any questions about this upgrade please feel free to email or call the Service Desk at servicedesk@creighton.edu or 402.280.1111

Enjoy your summer!

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Fall 2012 Deletions

The policy for keeping BlueCast recordings is to maintain them for one year beyond the semester in which the course was taught.  As such, it is now time for us to delete recordings from classes taught during the Fall 2012 semester.  Deletions will begin on February 1st for these courses.  If you wish to archive and download copies of your class recordings there are a couple of methods for doing this:

Archiving your recordings: Podcasts

This method allows you to download a single MP4 movie file of the lecture which is playable on most any type of computer or mobile device and can be easily put on web pages and BlueLine.

Archiving your recordings: Offline Viewer

This process downloads the presentation as several files which together can let you view the presentation just like it looked in BlueCast, but without the searching capability.  These presentations can be put on a web server for later viewing, but the process is move involved since it is more than just one file.

More information on both of these processes, including how to do them, can be found by clicking the links above.

If you teach an online course which re-uses recordings on BlueCast for multiple semesters please fill out the Long Term Storage Request form to let us know so that they will not be deleted. Please contact us if you require any assistance with re-using lectures for new semesters as there could be implications with the new student rosters.
If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact the DoIT Service Desk at 402.280.1111

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Winter BlueCast Upgrade

Howdy! We’ve had quite a busy year and have seen a tremendous amount of growth in BlueCasting with the addition of the new BlueLine integration this past summer. Our Learning Environments team has also been hard at work refreshing classroom and learning spaces and with this brings new capture technology to these areas. With the addition of 40 equipped spaces on campus to capture presentations, ideas, and lectures it has never been as easy to find a room nearby and hit record. With the release of the latest Panopto for iOS app on iPad and iPhone we’ve seen a tremendous growth in mobile access and usage as well. Comparing the last year and this year we’ve seen an increase of tablet usage by 160% and we attribute that BlueCast being much more accessible across all platforms.

With the added growth in usage we’ve experienced some additional growing pains, but these are the best kinds of pains to have! We’re continuing to scale the system as it grows in popularity and use. With our last update over the summer we brought on Apache Solr on top of our Lucene index to optimized our search and indexing services to make finding the information students need extremely fast. This update will include a few infrastructure updates including the migration of the primary BlueCast database to a new dedicated database server which will help with overall performance by speeding up bottlenecks we still face and also alleviating resources from other applications sharing the database server with BlueCast. We will also be increasing resources given to our encoding servers to allow for quicker turn-around times on heavy recording days.  Last, but never least we’ve also added new points of proactive monitoring so we’ll be notified quickly on more aspects of the system before something arises so we can take action.

For the other side of BlueCast we’re introducing quite a few new features and most notably a refreshed user interface and experience. Take a first glance at the new look!

A first look at the refreshed user interface of BlueCast for the Spring 2014 semester

So lets get into the details!

Headline Features

  • User experience improvements across the BlueCast web interface, including a new look and feel
  • New “Save As” editor workflow for creating multiple versions of the same session
  • The Session Library and BlueCast Viewer now support use with screen readers for greater accessibility and improved Section 508 compliance.
  • Site-wide HTTPS. The BlueCast Web Interface and Embedded recordings will now properly show inside of BlueLine and other secure websites.
  • Podcast analytics reporting. (Note: podcast views will show up as “Anonymous” in the reports)
  • Quick rewind button (10 seconds) in the BlueCast Viewer.

BlueCast Web Management Interface

  • User Experience improvements:
    • All list views have been redesigned.
    • All pop-up settings pages have been redesigned.
  • New “Create” button to centralize core content creation functions:
    • Record a new session
    • Create a placeholder session to record later
  • Session library interface and BlueCast Viewer now support screen readers and keyboard navigation.
  • Better web interface layout for non-English sites.
  • Fixed a bug where deleting multiple sessions would sometimes display an error.
  • Improved “Filter by Date” experience in sessions lists.
  • Added an “All Users” group, allowing for a course or session to be easily shared with any authenticated BLUE user on BlueCast.
  • Added analytics reporting for podcast views of BlueCast videos.
    • Podcast streaming (link from mobile browser, RSS, iTunes feed) & embedded content will track minutes viewed in statistics
    • Downloading podcasts will count as a single view with no minutes viewed.
    • NOTE: Views from the podcasts will show up in the reports as “Anonymous” these are not public views if your recording is still set to private.

BlueCast Editor

  • Improvements to the way the editor chooses what needs to be re-processed. Many changes that used to require a full re-process, such as changes to PowerPoint slide text or caption updates, will now only process the changed pieces.
  • Changed the “Manage Versions” workflow to “Save As.” If you’re working in the editor and want to make multiple versions of the same recording with unique web addresses (URLs), you can now use the convenient Save As functionality to do this. For example, you could split a single two hour recording with two presenters into Part 1 and Part 2, and each would have a unique web address.
  • PowerPoint files can now be uploaded and added to a session – this is especially useful for updating the slides that accompany a previously recorded session.

BlueCast Viewer

  • Viewing embedded podcasts now includes captions.
  • New “quick rewind” button to the transport controls (10 seconds).

Panopto Recorders (Coming soon to classrooms, but download now at bluecast.creighton.edu!)

  • Added an audio gain control to the Windows recorder.
  • Can now record in 720p (up to 1280×800) in any recording mode with Windows Recorder.
  • Secondary capture sources can now record 1920×1080 at 18fps (used to be 12fps) and 1500 Kbps.
  • Windows and Mac Recorders will now automatically detect when there is no audio or video input and alert the user

Over the next few days we will be updating our documentation here on the BlueCast Blog for some of the new features and update our screenshots so you can get a better feel for the new UI changes that are ahead.

 

 

P.S.: As a bonus we’re also formally announcing our BlueCast Statistics site. Navigate on over to bluecaststats.creighton.edu to take an insightful look at BlueCast and it’s usage!

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Keynote 6 Compatibility

With the Panopto Recorder for Mac OS X 10.6 – 10.9, presenters have the ability to capture their Keynote slide presentations.  The Panopto Recorder has had compatibility with Keynote up until Apple’s free update to version 6.0 that was released on October 22, 2013. The latest update is not compatible with the Panopto Recorder because some features from iWork ’09 are not available in the initial release. At this time, our vendor suggest users do not upgrade to Keynote 6.0 if your workflow includes capturing Keynote slide contents with the Panopto Recorder for Mac OS X. We continue to encourage users to continue using Keynote 5.0 for capturing slides, as your able to have Keynote 5.0 installed along side of Keynote 6.  Apple Inc. has issued a document outlining these changes, with a list of features that have been slated for releases in the next 6 months. Once Apple reinstates the features that were removed, Panopto will continue development to provide support for this version of Keynote. Please see the link below for Apples press release.

About the new iWork for Mac: Features and compatibility

If you still wish to capture your Keynote presentation, or you’ve already upgraded to Keynote 6.0, you have a few options:

  •  Capture your screen

- You may capture your screen while presenting in Keynote.

     *Note: Doing this will capture what’s being shown on your screen, it will not create events for each individual slide or index the content from the slides. 

  • Present your Keynote presentation in Office for Mac PowerPoint

- Within Keynote, you have the ability to save your presentation in PowerPoint format. Doing this will preserve slide indexing, and allow viewers to search for terms in the Panopto Viewer.

  To do this, open your Keynote presentation. Once open, choose File>Export from your menu bar. A dialogue will drop down in Keynote, and you will want to choose “PPT” and click “Next”. You will then given the option to change the document name, and storage location. Please note,  that all slide transitions may not be available in Office for Mac PowerPoint.

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Say Hello to the upgraded BlueCast with BlueLine2 Integration!

Ok well cosmetically not much has changed, but there’s a lot of great new stuff, specifically under the hood that’s going to give users a smoother and quicker experience going forward. The upgrade last night while taking approx. 5 and half hours was successful. We learned a lot during those 5 hours, notably  how large BlueCast has grown since it’s launch almost 3 years ago and how massively it has scaled and for that we thank you!

Ok enough with the formalities. Lets talk about what this upgrade included. :)

    • BlueCast Web Interface
      • BlueLine2 Integration with course provisioning and rolling permissions sync – No more synchronizing rosters between BlueLine and BlueCast!
      • New Request Access workflow for content students don’t have access to. Students can request access to recordings that send an email to the recording’s creator where they can grant or deny access.
      • New personal bookmarks to specific times in a session.
        • Available from the Viewer as well as the Sessions list.
      • Added new podcast output resolutions.  If source content is below target resolution, source resolution will be used.
        • Low: 720×480 / 15 fps / 250 kbps (now called SD – 480p Low Quality)
        • Medium: 720×480 / 30 fps / 500 kbps (now called SD – 480p Medium Quality)
        • High: 720×480 / 30 fps / 750 kbps (now called SD 4780p High Quality)
        • HD: 720p / 30 fps / 1.5 mbps
        • HD: 1080p / 30 fps / 2 mbps
      • Fixed many bugs throughout the web interface.
      • Email notifications for recordings that are ready to view only to go Creator that created the recording.
      • Content in student dropboxes can now be shared with other students by a single check of a box.
    • BlueCast Editor
      • Added support for video switching in the editor. You can now control which tabs in the viewer are shown to users.
      • Added crossfading between edits in final encoded output.
      • Added support for combining audio-only and video sessions through splicing.
      • Improved accuracy and resolution of the audio histogram.
      • Added support for smaller segments – they can be as short as 1 second.
      • Increased encoding speed and reliability of edited sessions.
      • Fixed usability issues with the session list when adding a splice..
      • Fixed buffering issues when not playing content in the editor.
      • Show events for all splices in the correct order in the table of contents
      • Improved playback quality.
    • BlueCast Web Viewer
      • New personal bookmarks to specific times in a session.
      • Fixed a problem where hidden events with just searchable metadata were sometimes returned in search results.
      • Added detection and user notification for plugin issues with Firefox on Mac.
    • Panopto Recorder (Windows) * Available now by downloading it from bluecast.creighton.edu
      •  Fail-safe behaviors to reduce data-loss issues.
        • Automatic repair of faulted recordings.
        • Ability to resume a recording that unexpectedly ends due to a system crash, loss of power, etc.
      • A warning dialog now appears when PowerPoint is running in Protected View (which prevents capture).
      • Improved the workflow for audio only + screen sessions resulting in a single video stream at viewing time.
      • Fixed video preview when running with higher than default DPI settings.
      • Better handling of PowerPoint app errors.
      • Better handling of condition where a device is hot unplugged while stopping.
      • Many bug fixes and general stability improvements.
    • Panopto Recorder (Mac) * Available now by downloading it from bluecast.creighton.edu
      • Increased robustness during upload and handling of large recordings.
      • Increased upload speeds by 100%.
      • Made the  Mac Recorder  more resilient to buggy device drivers.
      • Added a preference for disabling hot-keys during recording.
    • New Panopto iPad app

panoptoipadapp

    • The native iPad app will also be available for iPhone users as well, automatically adapting to the iPhone’s form factor.
    • View presentations and videos through an interactive, touch-friendly interface.
    • Search inside recordings to fast-forward to any word in the slides during a lecture.
    • Record HD videos and automatically upload them to BlueCast.
  • Searching, Indexing, and Caching

Apache Solr makes BlueCast’s search lighting quick!

  • Search indexing is now powered by Apache Solr, which powers some of the most highly trafficked websites in the world.
  • Better integration with notes.
  • Search results include bookmarks.
  • Unlike before, now repetitive actions that would require database activity are now called from a cache enabling much quicker load times across BlueCast.
  • Woohoo! A lot of great stuff here! We still have a lot of work to do including updating the BlueCast Blog with new and updated documentation for a lot of these new features and enhancements. Keep an eye out on here as always for the latest news and updates and of course we like to throw in some fun tips/tricks and weird facts that most normal people don’t know such as how a can of Diet Coke will float in water, but a can of regular Coke will sink to the bottom.

    If you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us at AeT@creighton.edu or by calling the Service Desk at x1111.

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BlueLine2 Integration coming June 1st

On the evening of May 31st we will be performing a production upgrade to the BlueCast lecture capture system that includes (among lots of bug fixes, stability improvements, and awesome new features and enhancements) integration between our new learning management system BlueLine2. For the most part this will be transparent, but the login flow will look different then from what everyone is used to.

The login option inside the Recorders and in the Web UI will change from “BlueLine Account” to “BlueLine2 Account”. When you click login you will be presented with the familiar  Creighton authentication page. (Note: It will say “Log on to BlueLine2″) Blue LogonAfter entering your NETID and Blue Password here the next screen you’ll be presented with is an authorization prompt from BlueLine2. This simply is asking for your permission for BlueCast to access your BlueLine2 account which includes your name, email, NETID, and enrollment information.

App_Login_mock

It’s as simple as that! If you’re already logged into BlueLine2 before visiting BlueCast or launching the Recorder you won’t even need to enter your NETID and Password in again since you’ve logged in previously.

Keep your eyes out on the BlueCast Blog for more news about the May 31st upgrade. It’s a big one!

Keep on BlueCastin’

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