This time last year we embarked on a tender exercise for an institutional lecture capture system. Having developed our Replay lecture capture service since 2012 with Echo360, we reached the point where, in order to satisfy increasing demand from academic departments, we needed to equip more rooms with automated recording facilities. In order to ensure our lecture capture provision best supported student learning and delivered value for money, we began a tender process for an institutional licence. The aim is to offer an end-to-end system for staff and students, which will be flexible enough to meet our current and future learning and teaching requirements.
As a result of our tender exercise, the University of York will be using Panopto for its institutional lecture capture platform from Autumn 2016. Panopto is integrated with the Yorkshare VLE, providing an improved user interface and functionality, with excellent capture quality. Our new system also provides opportunities for creative and innovative use of media within learning activities, such as recording student presentations, video feedback and video submissions. Work is already underway migrating content from our existing system to the new Panopto platform. Further blog posts will introduce the new system over the Summer.
The tender process
We adopted a two-stage restricted procurement model, supported by the University’s Procurement Office. In June 2015 an advertisement was placed in the Open Journal of the European Union with the contract notice. Twelve companies expressed an interest in the tender and nine went on to complete a pre-qualifying questionnaire. From this number five companies were invited to submit responses to the full specification of requirements for the lecture capture system. The submissions were scored against detailed criteria in five broad areas:
- Functionality for staff and students
- Application management
- Technical requirements
- Implementation, customer support and development
- Whole life costs
A copy of the specification is available on request (contact the ELDT team).
The tender panel shortlisted Echo360 (with their new Active Learning Platform) and Panopto’s cloud-based solution to proceed to the next stage of the tender process. The two companies presented their solution on separate days to lecturers, support staff and students, who provided their feedback to the tender panel. The Replay service teams then had detailed discussions with the two vendors prior to the final scoring by the panel which was ratified by the Replay Steering Group. University Teaching Committee received and approved our recommendation for Panopto for the institutional system on 12 November 2015.
Summary of the tender process
|Invitation to tender issued to companies||June 2015|
|Tender return date||July 2015|
|Short listing||August 2015|
|Demonstrations on campus (staff and student representatives provided feedback)||September 2015|
|Initial testing and site references||October 2015|
|Recommendation to UTC||November 2015|
|Pilot contract awarded||January 2016|
|Testing phase||Spring Term 2016|
|Pilot phase||Summer Term 2016|
|Pilot evaluation by the Replay Steering Group||June 2016|
|Contract for institutional deployment 2016-2020||July 2016|
|Equip and test rooms; Complete data integrations||August 2016|
|Launch of full institutional lecture capture system||Autumn Term 2016|
Governance for the tender exercise
The Replay Steering Group oversaw the Replay tender process. The Steering Group is comprised of representatives from three academic departments, with members also drawn from central services including the Audio Visual Centre, Timetabling, IT Services and the E-Learning Development Team. The Group is chaired by the Lecture Recording Coordinator.
The Steering Group approved the final statement of requirements (specification) that was issued to vendors at the end of June. A sub-group of members from the Steering Group participated in the Tender Assessment Panel, which was led by the University’s Supplies Office.
Testing and pilot phase
During the Spring Term, the AV Centre team began testing the capture devices for Panopto and reliability of captures. Within the ELDT we started testing the user interface and accessibility, pulling together user guides, integrating with Yorkshare and developing the processes for using Panopto for lecture capture. Colleagues in IT Services started work on the Timetabling integration, allowing for lectures to be automatically scheduled for capture, as we have with our existing system.
Over the Easter Vacation, AV deployed Panopto in 11 teaching rooms. We also began rolling out a recording indicator light, which allows in-class recording pause functionality and will be deployed to the majority of supported capture rooms for Autumn 2016. We made simultaneous recordings with our existing Echo360 service and Panopto pilot system, with around 200 lecture recordings as part of the Summer Term pilot. Recording performance was very successful, with the quality of captures and user experience positively noted by students in their feedback.
In addition to lecture capture, we also piloted camera capture in P/L/001, in collaboration with the Department of Physics (see further information on the Replay+ pilot) and captured student final year presentations in the Department of Computer Science. A number of staff also began using the Panopto personal recorder for making at-desk recordings.
Over the Summer Vacation, AV will be installing Panopto in 66 rooms across the institution. This is a notable increase on the 40 rooms we were able to support last year and accommodates the growing demand for lecture captures with new departments adopting opt-out approaches to record all lectures for certain year groups or programmes by default, and allowing established departments to capture more lectures in smaller rooms.
In tandem with this, IT Services have been developing the data integration with the University Timetable. This is an essential part of the lecture capture system, allowing over 7600 recordings (current number of requests for 2016-17) to be automatically scheduled based upon timetabling data. It is only through the data integration that we are able to reliably record the right lectures at the right time, and make them available direct to students via the Yorkshare VLE without any need for lecturer intervention.
Changes for lecturers
Crucially, there are no changes to the lecture capture process. Requests will still be handled by Timetabling, recordings will still be made and published to students automatically. The Panopto interface is within the Yorkshare VLE, accessed via your module sites, so you will no longer need to go to a separate website to edit captures. The new features in lecture rooms will be the indicator light and ability to pause recordings on-the-fly. See further details on Timetabled Lecture Capture.
If you were previously using Echo360 Personal Capture, you should now use the Panopto personal recorder software. See further details on creating video learning resources.
Over the Summer Vacation, within the ELDT we are migrating all personal captures and the 2015-16 academic year timetabled lecture captures to Panopto, in line with our retention policy. As part of this we will create a new link called Replay Content, which replace the EchoCenters in your VLE sites. Links to EchoCenters, individual captures and any links that start with replay.york.ac.uk will cease to work on 31 July 2016. If you have links to individual captures within Yorkshare, please let us know as we will help change these links to the new system. If you have direct links to EchoCenters or captures on other websites, you will need to change these before 31 July.
The Replay web pages have been updated to reflect the Panopto system. Guides for both timetabled lecture capture and personal recordings are available now at www.york.ac.uk/replay. See also our updated Guidelines for use of the Replay System.
If you have any questions about the tender process or general queries about the Replay service, Timetabled Lecture Capture or creating video learning resources, please contact us.