Ensemble Video's Dropbox and Blackboard Integration Enhances Online Education at Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a four-year public university in West Michigan that serves nearly 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It has a well-earned reputation for creating unique learning opportunities that attract students from across the state, throughout the country, and all over the world. Located just outside of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, Michigan's second-most populated region, Grand Valley State is one of America's 100 largest universities. GVSU prides itself on the personalized liberal education it offers throughout its academic programs, and one way they are able to accomplish this is through effective use of video. Before using Ensemble Video, GVSU struggled with a challenge familiar to many colleges and universities: They licensed, owned and produced a large amount of video and media content, but had no centralized location to organize, store or deliver it to a variety of devices.

Mary Morgan, Library Technology Manager at GVSU, describes the initial attempt of storing and streaming media across several platforms as challenging. "There was no uniform way to manage and publish content; our users on campus were using YouTube, Vimeo and a home grown solution to publish video in Blackboard. This made uploading, viewing and supporting video difficult." The University continued to acquire and produce more content from library archives, student presentations and educational videos such as screen capture presentations and faculty lectures. The need for a robust, easy-to-use video management system was becoming crucial. GVSU required a dedicated, easy-to-use video platform capable of organizing, describing, storing and delivering all of their media from one central location.

The University began using Ensemble Video in 2012 after seeking a future-proof video platform that enabled students and faculty to upload, access and share all of their videos in one place - anytime, anywhere and on any device. Eric Kunnen, the Associate Director of E-Learning and Emerging technologies says, "Video is becoming increasingly and exceedingly important in teaching and learning. It is one of the ways that faculty can convey complex and very difficult information, but do so in a very visually and interesting way." Ensemble Video was chosen for its simplicity, its integration with Blackboard, and the Ensemble Video Dropbox feature. Kimberly Kenward, an Instructional Designer at GVSU, is dedicated to helping faculty members who are delivering 100% online classes and flipped instruction. According to Kenward "Ensemble Video is the perfect solution, because of the Ensemble Video Blackboard Building Block integration.

The fact that Ensemble Video works inside of Blackboard has been critical to the increasing adoption rate at the University. Searching and embedding video content in Blackboard is simple." GVSU is also excited about the evolution of Ensemble Video on campus.Not only are faculty members creating content, but students are also creating video projects and presentations using the Ensemble Video Assignment Dropbox. This feature has changed what the faculty members are seeing for final projects, private journal entries and reflective work within Blackboard. On top of that, online programs are creating off-campus student teacher video observations. In a recent semester Russ Barneveld, Affiliate Faculty and Field Coordinator in the College of Education, had three online students in the student teaching graduate teacher certification program. Professor Barneveld has to observe each of his students four times throughout the semester, which, for these three students, would be up to 12 individual trips and 800 miles.

"This could have turned into a lot of mileage and time on the road for just one or two class period observations," says Barneveld. So Professor Barneveld used Ensemble Video's Dropbox to do the observations, saving time and money, and simplifying scheduling. "The students love it because students usually have a portion of a lesson they would like me to observe and scheduling and making a three-hour trip to review part of a lesson, it just isn't practical. Now they are able to record the different things they want me to see." Professor Barneveld also told us that the Ensemble Video annotations have replaced traditional note-taking in observations for on-campus and online student teaching observations. Dr. Rosemary Cleveland, Affiliate Faculty College of Education teacher in the graduate teacher certification program at GVSU, provides assignment choices for her students.

One of the most popular choices is video journals and video interviews instead of writing assignments. "In our case we use Ensemble Video and the Ensemble Video Dropbox which allows me to view the videos and also annotate them. The students like the annotations because they can see what I have to say." Dr. Cleveland has also witnessed Ensemble Video making video submissions easier for the students because the Dropbox is built right into their Blackboard course. Today, GVSU uses Ensemble Video to share a variety of media content across campus and beyond. Video is becoming increasingly important in teaching and learning both on and off-campus. John Shinsky, Interim Dean in the College of Education, explains that "Video technologies have been a tremendous resource for the College of Education, to the degree that we committed additional resources to the development and implementation of videos.

We are very pleased with the use of Ensemble Video in the College of Education." Justin Melick, a Digital Media Developer at GVSU, is one of the staff members who is currently threading Ensemble Video into online and on-campus education. Melick states, "Ensemble Video has streamlined this process, especially if the students are in sensitive environments where the privacy of a video is a major factor. We now can have them easily upload their videos through the Ensemble Video Dropbox to their instructor's media library in Ensemble which is a safe location and ready for publishing in Blackboard. Ensemble Video has made all of this possible." In the future, GVSU is excited to use EnsembleLive. EnsembleLive is a mobile app that allows for streaming and recording on-the-go from a phone or tablet. Melick and rest of the GVSU team see the EnsembleLive mobile app complimenting a growing number of video activities on campus.

Ensemble Video is a turnkey online video platform that streamlines video capture, video management and video publishing. Ensemble Video enables hundreds of progressive organizations across the globe to deliver accessible media content any time, over a variety of networks. Discover the incredible value and power of our streamlined video capture, video management and video publishing platform!