BCNET: The Power of Working Together (Even While Social Distancing)

BCNET brings together schools from across British Columbia. They needed a video platform for their members, and so they made a decision that would get members access to video tools they could use both for teaching and learning and across the organization. But when COVID-19 forced schools to go into lockdown, how would they provide the video tools necessary to keep learning alive?

The Institution

BCNET is a not-for-profit consortium of all the higher education institutions in British Columbia. Originally the internet provider for BC higher education, they have expanded in more recent years to provide shared software services to their members, including Microsoft, Adobe, and more. It’s not just about money—although banding together certainly does allow the member institutions to enjoy economies of scale. It’s also about leverage—working as a group allows them to access knowledge from across the region and bargain collectively to get the technology solutions they need.

At a Glance
  • 20
  • 162,000
  • +170TB
    of content across members
  • 4
    different Learning Management Systems

The Challenge

The schools needed a more robust and transparent video platform—they wanted to know where the videos were being played and to make sure that instructors could ensure students could access the correct videos and watch to the end. But with so many different institutions involved, the platform would need to be flexible, integrating with many different systems and working for many different use cases. In addition, British Columbia has the most restrictive privacy laws in North America.

The Solution

Kaltura’s LMS integrations made it easy to add video for teaching and learning, regardless of the LMS—D2L, Moodle, Canvas, or Blackboard Learn. Instructors could easily capture themselves with Kaltura Personal Capture and publish the videos to the LMS; students could easily do the same with their own assignments. Kaltura was also able to offer an on-premise solution in addition to their cloud solutions, to meet BCNET’s privacy regulation needs.

Many members also needed video portals, both public-facing and internal. One major use case has been learning portals for internal onboarding, for example. “MediaSpace is also super popular with the libraries,” says Devon Keys, Business Analyst, Shared Systems and Technology at BCNET. “It’s a big selling point for libraries that they can just move everything over. It makes content so much more accessible for students, especially now, if they can access it remotely.”

Kaltura Capture has been immensely popular, as have video quizzes. Some campuses also use Kaltura for livestreaming, especially around Convocation and guest lectures.

“Once you reach a critical mass, it becomes a question of, if you don’t have it, why don’t you,” says Dean Crawford, Director of Shared Systems and Technology at BCNET. “It becomes a tool that is expected at any BC institution. Some of the institutions have become particularly heavy users, and Kaltura is immersed in marketing, training, libraries—not just teaching. The amount of uses cases is just endless.”

Kaltura users across institutions have formed a supportive community. Their private chat channel is by far the most active BCNET channel, as users from all over the province chime in to help each other. “It’s a very unique collaborative experience that you don’t often see,” says Crawford.

“Kaltura is immersed in marketing, training, libraries—not just teaching. The amount of uses cases is just endless.”
- Dean Crawford, Director of Shared Systems and Technology at BCNET

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Video Usage

Usage Surging During Pandemic
  • Pre-pandemic: Largest member institution peak daily consumption: 21,000 minutes/week
  • First week of Fall 2020 semester: 621,000 minutes in a single day!

With the sudden transition to online learning in Spring 2020, video suddenly went from a “nice-to-have” to mission-critical. The impact has been huge.

“As learning transitioned, Kaltura has become one of the top priority tools, as a way to deliver lecture content to students so they could actually see the professor,” says Crawford. Three member institutions of the consortium starting onboarding Kaltura at the start of summer to prepare for the fall; a fourth joined in early August, bringing the total to 20.

“The vast majority of our faculty are using Kaltura now,” says Crawford. “Students are producing video. The majority of all their classes are using Kaltura. Usage is surging, and I don’t think it’s plateaued, either.”

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