4 Questions for Unizin

Costs, media management, capture and authoring, and unified analytics.

June 11, 2014

You have you been spending some time on unizin.org - reading through Brad and James' Why Unizin? blog post, and trying to parse the FAQ.

You have read Carl’s article Unizin Unveiled, have absorbed what Michael, Michael, and Phil have said about Unizin (while anxiously awaiting their next now that Unizin is launched) - and yet you still wonder if you understand enough to even ask the right questions.

I’ll give it a shot:

Question 1 - Costs and Existing Canvas Schools:

Let’s say that I’m already a Canvas school. What does it cost to join Unizin, and what would be the benefits? My sense is that by joining Unizin we’d get to take part in the process of defining the requirements for the learning object content repository / publishing system and the analytics tools that will be built or rented.  

Is this correct?  What else?

Question 2 -  Media Management Systems:

Starting with Canvas, a cloud based LMS with a good community an open APIs, makes sense to me. What I am less clear about is how Unizin will address the mess that is academic media creation, management, sharing, and publishing.   If I had to predict I’d venture that the next deal Unizin makes is with Kaltura.  

Aggregating demand for academic media management with a cloud media management system such as Kaltura, a company that follows a similar open source strategy as Instructure, makes sense to me.  Kaltura already has integration with Canvas, and pooling customers across campuses would be great to bring down costs and spur academic focused development.   

What I’m wondering about is if I’m right about the next big deal, how open the Unizin consortium will be about roadmap and negotiations, and what the value proposition of Unizin will be prior to a deal with a cloud based media management platform such as Kaltura?

Question 3 - Curricular Capture and Curricular Media Authoring Platforms:

The other area where academic media is tied in knots is in the creation or capture of campus media.  

There are no common standards across the major capture platforms, as we have a mix of proprietary players and formats.  This is also a very expensive proposition for higher ed, and the lack of maturity in this market has led many schools to employ multiple curricular media capture vendors.  For instance, at my institution we have Echo360 (for lecture capture), TechSmith (Relay for rapid authoring and some lecture capture), and Crestron Capture (for some lecture capture).   

A terrific thing that Unizin could do would be to help make sense of all the options with media capture, sharing, and publishing - and to figure out how to connect the best capture platforms with the best media management and publishing platforms.   (For instance, should media captured in Echo360 or Relay be managed and published in Kaltura - all in the cloud?)  

Can Unizin create an end-to-end curricular media capture and management?

Question 4 - A Unified Analytics Platform:

Our big analytics problems is that we have no way of understanding the behaviors of our learners as they interact with so many different platforms.   We can look at data from the LMS.  We can look at data from the lecture capture systems. We can look at data from our media management systems.  But we can’t look across all these systems at once.  

We can’t have the student as a unit of analysis to understand her or his behavior as they interact with all of our digital learning platforms.  

Will the analytics focus of Unizin be on creating such a unified view?

What questions to you have for Unizin?


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