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Mediasite Launches New Video Tools for Digital-First Schools, Businesses

Mediasite has announced new video tools that provide users with flexibility to create engaging, data-rich, and personalized experiences for distance collaboration.
(Image credit: Sonic Foundry)

The What: Mediasite has announced new video tools that provide users with flexibility to create engaging, data-rich, and personalized experiences for distance collaboration. New closed captioning capabilities, learning management system enhancements, accessibility and security tools, and seamless support for external videos are among the latest features in the first release of the summer.

The What Else: Users can now add an audio description file to a Mediasite video to better accommodate viewers with visual impairments. Users simply upload an .mp3 file to play alongside the video’s primary audio track. The file is essentially a narration of what is happening visually in the video. 

Related: The Technology Manager's Guide to Distance Learning and Streaming 

Users have better control over the accuracy of their transcripts with more confidence scoring features for automatic speech recognition (ASR). Mediasite now integrates with a broader array of caption providers to ensure the speech-to-text is accurate before displaying it as captions on a video. Once a video is captioned, a confidence result lets users automatically determine which videos should enable captions with ASR and which ones need further human review. This enhances the closed captioning capabilities Mediasite already offers.

Users can now seamlessly use the tab and arrow keys to navigate a Mediasite video, edit transcripts using the caption editor, and change timing on captions. Each action is announced to the user with the screen reader. 

It is also easier to share supplemental content in any Mediasite video. Users can link videos from other sources directly into a Mediasite video. With a few clicks and the URL, any video from sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and others can be added to a Mediasite lecture, training, or meeting recording. Mediasite even automatically pulls metadata about that external video, such as a thumbnail image, name, and description. This latest feature allows users—instructors, students, trainers, employees—to create one comprehensive video collection with easily referenceable additional information.

As more schools and organizations are using video than ever before, it’s critical that Mediasite grows and scales to accommodate that usage securely. Mediasite can now handle more simultaneous authenticated users, essentially having more open gates to let viewers in securely and efficiently. This is an especially important update for organizations with large live events, because it helps scale video streams and ensures that all viewers can securely login to access the content simultaneously. Mediasite administrators can now receive detailed reports of logins—who is attempting to access it, when, how many times, etc. Mediasite already has robust security features that give users complete control over who has access to videos and provides end-to-end protection of entire video libraries and all content creation, management, and editing functions. 

The ability for students to submit video assignments directly from a course in their Canvas learning management system (LMS) is the latest immersive learning feature in Mediasite. The integration helps instructors measure progress and give real-time feedback on students’ understanding during virtual classes. The video assignments automatically aggregate in a dynamic Mediasite channel within Canvas where students curate video submissions for their instructors to watch and review. Instructors can view and grade all course assignments in one streamlined and secure playlist without changing the way they teach. Assignment submission is available in Canvas, Moodle, and D2L’s Brightspace on any device and will be available in Sakai and Blackboard soon.  

“The latest release of Mediasite makes it even easier for our customers to embrace video at their organizations in the current climate,” said Michael Norregaard, CEO, Sonic Foundry, the maker of Mediasite. “As we all navigate this new, uncertain reality, our ultimate goal is to be responsive to the circumstances our customers are facing during the pandemic. Mediasite’s latest tools accommodate a digital-first mindset that allow users to learn and communicate effectively regardless of location, and we are continually making improvements to our technology to offer the most reliable and flexible video solutions on the market.” 

The Bottom Line: As universities prepare for a new normal that includes an essential mix of flipped lectures and real-time discussions and organizations plan for the possibility of indefinite remote work situations, ensuring courses and communications are easily available to all has never been more critical. 

This release is available this week to on-premises Mediasite customers and shortly after for Mediasite Video Cloud users.