Spring 2013 BlueCast 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 Spring 2013 semester.  Deletions will begin on May 19th for these courses. This only applies to courses on BlueCast that have SP13 or Spring 2013 code in it’s folder title. 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.

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. If you have already filled out this form for a course or folder there is no need to re-submit it. 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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Recorded into the wrong course? No Problem!

As we keep course recordings on BlueCast for an additional year past when they end, you still have “Creator” rights to those courses and can technically still make new recordings in them. Often times in the classroom you might accidentally select the wrong course in the Recorder’s course drop down and hit record. There’s no need to worry! You can always move the recording to the correct course after the fact. It’s very easy and only takes 5 clicks! (I counted).

Here’s are the step by step directions for how to do this.

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(Local) Classroom Recordings Cleanup

The Panopto Recorder records your session locally to the computer before uploading it to BlueCast, these local files are technically not needed once the recording has been uploaded, however they can be useful when troubleshooting problems that might occur to the recording once it’s on BlueCast. In the classrooms here on campus the Panopto Recorders place all of their files for the raw recordings on the Deepfreeze Thawspace. This is so that when the computers reboot the recordings stored on them are not deleted. We only have a finite amount of storage on the Thawspace  (40GB) so we need to ensure there is always space on the drive for new recordings otherwise you’ll receive an “Out of Disk Space” warning in the Recorder when you try to record.

We implemented a solution for this back in Fall 2010 which is a script that runs every night and looks for local recordings stored on the computer that are 2 weeks old. When it finds one it deletes it allowing for space to be freed up on the Thawspace for new recordings and other files. Something that we run into every now and then are recordings that are made “Offline” and are never uploaded to BlueCast. This happens when the Creator does not select the folder or course they want their recording to upload to before they hit the Record button. The creator can do this after the recording has ended and it will upload, however sometimes they don’t remember and the recording lives on the local classroom computer. After two weeks these recordings will be deleted from the clean up script as there is no way to distinguish them from a recording that has been uploaded.

So remember to select your course or folder before hitting record! It takes two clicks of the mouse and will ensure your recording is safely uploaded to BlueCast after it’s ended.

ClickDropDown

Click #1- The drop down button

AddNewSession

Click #2- The “Add New Session” button next to your course or folder

It’s easy as that! :) As always if you have any question please feel free to contact us at 402-280-1111!

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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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Blue Tip: Using BlueCast with BlueLine2 #Winning

This week’s BlueTip topic is “Using BlueCast with BlueLine2 #Winning“.  Come to our brief 15 minute session where you can see how the new integration between BlueCast and BlueLine2 can be easily set up, allowing your students simple access to the BlueCast recordings of your lectures, and making you look AWESOME.

BlueTips are offered every week on Fridays at 1:00 pm in the DoIT/Edge training room, located in the lower level of the Reinert Library building.  The sessions last no more than 15 minutes, and then are followed immediately with our BlueFridays where you can drop in to get your technology questions answered.  #WINNING

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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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Spring 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 Spring 2012 semester.  Deletions will begin on June 3rd 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 questions about these procedures please contact us at AeT@creighton.edu.

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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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