Long Title: Individual Video Training
Universität Bern
Université de Lausanne
Université de Fribourg - Universität Freiburg
SWITCH - Teleinformatikdienste für Lehre und Forschung
Domain: ELS
Status: finished
Start Date: 10.07.2011
End Date: 31.03.2013
Project Leader: S. Minder
Deputy Project Leader: M. Sohrmann

Lecture and individual podcasts are today widely used but the systems are mainly optimized for lecture recording as scenario and do not support other settings sufficiently. This project has developed a strongly automated and flexible video recording and visualization system with a tight access control that covers educational scenarios based on individual training sessions.

(see also partner project Annotating Academic Video)


Component Description
iVT-Plugin Enhanced SWITCHcast Recorder (available from SWITCH on request)
SWITCHcast Plugin (new version) New version of the ILIAS SWITCHcast Plugin
Moodle SWITCHcast Plugin Available from Moodle repository (will become available this summer)
Enhanced SWITCHcast API Implemented on the SWITCHcast server
Presentation of the key features PREZI-presentation of the key features of the system

The modular iVT system is based on the SWITCHcast platform, and composed of an enhanced version of the SWITCHcast Recorder, and plugins for the Learning Management Systems (LMS) ILIAS and Moodle:

  • The SWITCHcast Recorder features a “Kiosk”-mode, which presents an AAI-login to the person being filmed. The login triggers the start of the recording, and the recovered AAIUnique- Id will be automatically linked to the resulting video.
  • The LMS-plugin (in iVT-mode) handles the access rights, and shows to the user that has logged in only the videos of a channel to which he/she has access. The plugin handles the differentiation between a) owner of the clip, b) additional “members” of the clip invited by the student himself, and c) access given using the group feature of the LMS.
  • The LMS-plugin also allows uploading clips to the SWITCHcast server, providing work instructions to the students and handles the access to the videoannotation tool.
  • The LMS-plugin gives teachers read-access to all clips, and also gives the possibility to filter and to sort the clips.

The iVT system offers a number of advantages, such as:

  • simple, fast and flexible installation and setup
  • automated recording, that can be scaled up to many rooms used in parallel
  • automated and reliable access control based on the AAI-login of the filmed student
  • different important management functionalities in the LMS-plugin (sort, filter, edit, delete)
  • fast encoding of the videos on the SWITCHcast platform
  • high availability of the videos (sufficient bandwidth, Browser-based viewing based via a Flash-Player, …)

The developed solution is modular, and is able to accommodate many different use-cases. Videos can be recorded using software different from the SWITCHcast Recorder, and introduced in the workflow at a later stage by direct upload. At the same time, videos recorded using the SWITCHcast Recorder can easily be recovered and distributed independently of the SWITCHcast platform.

The plugin for the SWITCHcast Recorder has been developed by SWITCH, and will also be maintained by SWITCH. The same applies to the SWITCHcast API.

The SWITCHcast plugins for ILIAS and Moodle are both open source, and will be shared within the respective LMS development communities. This should ensure that the plugin will be maintained and updated when necessary.

It is important to stress at this point that the decision of who can see which video is made by algorithms integrated into the LMS plugins, and not by the SWITCHcast server. This will ensure that future adaptations can be made easily, without having to modify the code on the SWITCHcast server itself.

The close link to the Annotating Academic Video project ensured that the developed annotation tool is fully compatible with the iVT LMS plugins.

Initial Situation

There is a great variety of uses of video technology for educational purposes. One important domain is the individual training and assessment of skills, such as communication skills in medical education, teaching skills in pedagogical education or physical skills in sports. Video recordings of these training sessions help to enhance their didactic efficacy by

  • allowing students to analyze their own performance, but also by
  • facilitating the feedback from tutors and peers.

This promotes essential meta skills such as self-reflection and self-assessment.
In medical education, the training of communication skills has become increasingly important over the past years. A common training method is to record and analyze interview situations with simulated patients. Since these recordings contain potentially very personal material access control is very important.
A further increase in the number of training sessions is currently limited by their costs (technical infrastructure) and high demand of human resources (technical assistants). It is impossible to handle a large amount of video material (ca. 1000 hours at UNIBE) without automating the workflow, from the recording to the publishing of the video with the corresponding access rights.


The goal is to develop a workflow and a technical solution, based on the SWITCHcast system, that

  1. supports the recording of large numbers of training sessions with as little use of human resources as possible, and
  2. that allows to automatically publish these videos giving access only to authorized persons.

The system we plan to develop will have the following features:

  • strict assignment of the ownership of the video (by binding the student to be recorded to the video, using an AAI login)
  • easy handling of the recording sessions by students or other lay persons
  • different work-flows depending on the institutional context (local encoding of the video before upload to reduce the workload on the SWITCHcast server, or upload of the raw video file to the SWITCHcast server for encoding)
  • alternative upload mechanisms (automatic or manual upload of the video and its associated meta-data) with subsequent automatic online publishing and setting of the corresponding access rights
  • flexible mechanisms for setting the access rights (for example based on membership to a learning group, and individual invitations sent to peers and tutors)

The envisioned technical solution for such a system consists of the Learning Management System (LMS) of the institution and the SWITCHcast system. During the project the LMS ILIAS (plugin will be developed) and Moodle will be considered.


The new workflow and recorder software will offer the opportunity to record a big number of individual training sessions at the partner institutions and other Higher Education Institutions in Switzerland, and help institutions to keep the recording costs in line with their budget.
Students will profit by the recorder system since this type of teaching approach, based on individual training sessions and their reflective analysis, is not only used in undergraduate medical education, but also in postgraduate medical education, in the education of other health professions (such as nursing or physiotherapy) and teachers, and many other areas. Therefore, the development will be of great importance to many other educational settings and institutions.


At the technical level three major elements can be distinguished, which are extensions to existing technologies:

  1. Extension of the recorder capabilities: AAI login, branding videos with the video owner (AAI unique id), local encoding followed by automated upload, possibility to record simultaneously with two different cameras
  2. Extension of the SWITCHcast-ILIAS interface (SWITCHcast API): upload videos and their associated metadata to the SWITCHcast Server, allow the LMS to retrieve from the SWITCHcast Server all videos with a particular Ivtproject-Id, Owner-Id, etc.
  3. Extension of the ILIAS internal SWITCHcast handling: initiate and terminate iVT projects, assign roles, provide access control, provide functionality to invite viewers to your videos, visualize the videos that are hosted on the SWITCHcast server.

As first step recording technology will be evaluated and compared (SWITCHcast, thir party software) and minimum hardware requirements will be defined.
Depending on the decision (new recorder, third party software, hybrid) the detailed software specification will be defined.
As third an extended SWITCHcast API will be developed for automated upload of videos and metadata and the access control. The handling and evaluation of the access rights is entirely delegated to the LMS.
Then the ILIAS-plugin for access control and visualization of videos in LMS will be produced (based on existing plugin).
Finally the system will be tested, adapted and implemented.