Student Upload Media Options and Instructor Access/Grading

Document created by Luke Caldwell on Mar 23, 2018Last modified by Luke Caldwell on Mar 23, 2018
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We have a fantastic American Sign Language (ASL) department at our institution as well as other programs that require media uploads for assignments thus creating a need for a video solution that meets our needs and fits our school budget. Regarding our ASL program. we have used an internal process involving dedicating a server to the their department in which students and teachers can access with certain permissions. This has limited students to being at a certain computer lab to upload/download or access these videos. The server needs to be replaced and our IT department is trying to find another video solution. We do not require enough video submissions to rationalize a contract with companies like Kaltura or (formerly) Mediacore. So the question is what are the best media upload options for our students and instructors who do not have the funds for a more integrated and categorized video solution? Since we have a contract with Office365 (O365) we are moving forward to utilize that storage space as an option. As most HE institutions have either a Microsoft contract or Google contract, one could just exchange Google.Drive for O365. While personally, I prefer the ease of Google.Drive, O365 is proving to be a very logical and helpful solution. I created a small table evaluating four Canvas video solution submission types, rating each one from a student view as well as an instructor view. 


 File UploadMedia UploadOffice365 UploadWebsite URL
Student 3.5/5Students can select file from hard drive. However, the file upload time will vary based on file size and transfer speed.2/5Students can select the media file from hard drive. However, the file upload time will vary based on file size and transfer speed. File size must be below 500 MB or error occurs.2.5/5

Students use the O365 option and can select the file from school O365 account, however, that means students must upload the file to their O365 first. The transfer seemed to go quicker than the file upload, yet this was tested on a school computer with a school internet connection. No restriction on file size.

The O365 LTI must be enabled for this solution.

3/5Students must upload file to school O365 account. Students will then have to open the file in O365 and click on the COPY LINK button. Students then paste the URL into the assignment submission URL field and submit. Submission time is immediate since no file is being transferred. 
(Explaining this process to students could be difficult)
Instructor2/5Instructors have to download file to local computer/flash drive to view. This download time will vary based on file size and transfer speed and then open with the appropriate media player.5/5Instructors do not need to download the file and can preview the file within Canvas' Speedgrader.2/5Instructors have to download file onto local computer to view. This download time will vary based on file size and transfer speed. Also involves every student's file to rest on a professors computer.4/5Instructors will need to click on the link and open in a new tab, allowing them to view the video through their school O365 account. Instructor does not need to download, but will view in a different browser/tab.
Score5.5/103rd Best Option7/10Best option with media below 500 MB4.5/104th Best Option7/10Best option with media above 500 MB


After reviewing the four media upload options offered by Canvas, I felt that Media Upload was the best option for smaller video files (less than 500MB). This is a similar process to the file upload of regular documents, which allows for easy participation and it also allows the instructor to view the video in Canvas without going to another tab or browser. However, the concerns with this option involve what types of video formats are accessible. The list of acceptable formats is longer than I anticipated and is found at What types of media files can I upload in Canvas as an instructor?


The only setback I see is if students are recording on their iPhone or other device that easily creates 1-2GB size media files. If a student tries to upload a +500MB video, an error will show to the student. For media bigger than 500MB, we recommend students store those files on their O365 account. Our student O365 accounts have 1-2TB of storage available.  As long as the student can upload the media file to their OneDrive (which could be an issue for some students), the Website URL option is the best fit as it allows students to quickly copy the link for that file and paste in the URL, it also, by default, allows users within the same organization to view that file so students do not need to perform another step by adjusting permissions to view.


If an instructor can guarantee that all files will be under 500MB, the Media Upload option is the best; however, if not, it would be best for the instructor to use the Website URL option. The first time the Website URL option is implemented, it could create confusion for the student, so creating a student guide with a step-by-step process would be recommended to save time and frustration, as after the first student complains about not knowing what to do, an instructor would have to create that guide anyway!


Regarding the informal Youtube media solution - Our institution has allowed students to upload via Youtube with recommending the unlisted option, because of convenience, but faculty (and some students) are wary of that service and pairing that with the students' ability to edit a video after the fact results in our institution prefering to avoid this option and to keep videos inside of our O365 ecosystem as much as possible.


Finally, I created this document as I found it hard to figure out just what exactly each media upload option entailed as well as the possible restrictions. I am sure their are other options out there and would be interested in hearing how other institutions are addressing media uploads.