As the COVID-19 coronavirus and its variants remain a global reality, educational institutions find themselves, again, developing contingency plans to serve quarantined students, and to prepare for the possibility of full campus closures. Echo360 can play a valuable role in your contingency planning by providing a wide range of content creation and management tools along with student and media engagement data. These tools are already designed to support and track both synchronous and asynchronous online learning, helping you make remote delivery as effective as face-to-face learning.
This guide is designed to provide an outline of actionable steps, along with links to procedural articles and attached quick reference (QRC) PDFs. Rest assured, Echo360 is ready to support your academic continuity needs, both technologically and organizationally. Use this page to get you started, but if you need assistance, please reach out to your customer success representative or Echo360 support.
We have also created an article that calls out relevant use cases and real-life examples of institutions implementing Echo360's online learning capabilities. These may help with ideas on what YOU can do to provide maximum support and course material access for your students. See Using Echo360 for Remote Learning - Case Studies and Real-Life Examples.
Using Echo360 to Rapidly Enable Remote Course Delivery
Echo360 supports both synchronous and asynchronous learning methods by offering the ability to live stream your lectures to remote students, review student on-demand viewing data, add polling questions into your videos, then embed the interactive media directly into your LMS/VLE course pages. Any one or combination of these capabilities can help you get quickly transitioned to a mostly or fully online environment.
Here are some specific things you can do to be ready to teach remote students using Echo360:
Create Discrete Video Learning Objects
Video content is an important aspect of online courses. One of the best practices for using video content in an online course is to keep videos short, so that they cover a single topic or related set of topics. Multiple large-scale studies recommend video length be between 6 and 15 minutes, to maximize student focus, engagement, and learning.
Trim videos into shorter segments - You can trim longer videos down to single topics and save as, turning what was previously a single longer video into multiple shorter videos with targeted topics.
Create your own recordings - You can use Echo360’s Universal Capture tool to create your own recordings on your laptop or computer. Universal Capture makes it easy to capture your computer screen along with any connected camera (or the integrated camera on your laptop), to produce effective videos from wherever you are. (UC Personal QRC PDF download)
Make the media available to students - Publish your new videos into the Echo360 course, embed into your LMS/VLE course pages, and/or add polling questions into the videos to keep students engaged and on track. Both the Echo360 classroom and LMS/VLE embeds provide a discussion panel for students and instructors to engage with each other about the material.
Replace outdated segments of existing videos with newer recordings - The Echo360 video editor allows you to remove one or more segments of a video and replace it with a different video. The replacement can be something you pulled from another source and uploaded to Echo360, or it can be a Universal Capture recording you make yourself.
Edit old videos for reuse - Echo360’s video editor lets you make changes to an existing video to meet current needs, then "Save As" a new piece of media, so the original remains unchanged.
Embed questions into your videos
One way to ensure your students are actively engaging with your materials is to embed questions about the video directly into the video itself. This can also eliminate the need to provide a separate presentation file strictly for polling question responses, especially if the presentation is already being shown in the lecture recording.
Embedded questions or “polls” in your Echo360 recording gates playback for students until they have responded. This helps you ensure that students are viewing your course materials, and provides YOU a way to assess student learning. See the below section on engagement and media analytics to learn how to review media viewing data and polling responses for interactive media.
Embedding questions into the video can help “refresh” previous lectures you may be reusing. It's important to know though; YOU MUST EDIT the video FIRST and then embed your polls. So, use the Echo360 video editor to make any changes to the previous course lectures, Save As a new item (so the existing recording remains the same), then embed polling questions in the new media as you want.
You can embed polls into ANY video (or audio) media you have: Echo360 class recordings, Universal Capture: Personal recordings, uploaded videos, even Zoom or MS Teams recordings. If the media resides in your Echo360 Library, you can add polling questions to it! And Echo360’s separate polling editor enables creation of customised questions for different courses, allowing you to quickly create more than one version of your video.
Videos with polls embedded in them are called “interactive media” and can be published to a class in your Echo360 course, or can be embedded directly into a page of your LMS/VLE course. And both the Echo360 classroom and LMS/VLE embeds provide a discussion panel for students and instructors to discuss and ask questions about the material.
Live Stream Your Classes
In the event of a campus closure or if you need to reach students who can’t come to campus, you can live-stream your class. By streaming your classes with Echo360, students can participate fully in live classes, including asking and answering questions, taking notes, flagging and bookmarking content, and answering polling slides.
Echo360’s classroom live attendance feature lets you know who is viewing the stream remotely, and remote student engagement appears in your course analytics, just as it does for students attending in person.
For live streaming from a lecture venue, ask your Echo360 administrator to update your class capture schedule to provide live streaming of your classes.
You can also live stream using Universal Capture (Classroom or Personal) running on any Mac or PC computer. Simply launch an ad hoc live stream with Universal Capture with the Live Stream checkbox enabled.
In the event of a full campus closure, keep in mind that live streaming alone might not be your best option as students return home to many different time zones and may not have stable internet access. In such cases, providing both live streamed and on-demand playback of your lectures is likely to be more beneficial for your students.
Build Out Your LMS/VLE Course for Online Learning
These days, nearly every course has an LMS/VLE shell associated with it, and most users access Echo360 via their LMS/VLE. Frequently, instructors are less experienced in building out video-based learning modules in their LMS/VLE for online courses as they are for face-to-face courses. Providing opportunities for students to interact with instructors, one another, and the course material is an important component of effective online course design. Enabling these interactions and active learning activities within the online environment is supported through multiple tools available within Echo360.
For example, instructors can connect with students by creating video announcements using Universal Capture: Personal (QRC PDF download).
Instructors can also create opportunities for interactions with students and student-student interactions by creating secure video assignments and giving video feedback on student assignments.
The below links provide online help articles for assignment tasks:
- Creating Assignments: [Bb], [Canvas], [Moodle]
- Submitting Assignments (Students): [Bb], [Canvas], [Moodle]
The below links provide quick reference PDFs for download:
Providing formative assessments can help you better evaluate whether your students are understanding course material. Video and interactive media (videos with embedded polls) can be integrated directly into any LMS/VLE Echo360 supports:
- [Bb], [Canvas], [Moodle], [D2L/Brightspace], [Sakai]
Review Engagement, Media Analytics, and Polling Data to Ensure Students Are Involved
Echo360 enables and tracks all aspects of student interaction with the platform and its materials. We make this tracking available in a variety of ways and locations. And we are constantly working to improve instructor ease of access to this data.
The most robust set of student engagement data comes from the Echo360 course analytics. This is because we can take the course classes and the media posted there and combine it with the student interaction with the media and the toolset provided in the Echo360 classroom.
Numerous faculty and researchers have found that Echo360's student engagement score directly correlates with course outcomes. Our Analytics page interface allows you to sort the provided student list by engagement score, and then to drill down into specific class data for at-risk students and find out why they may have low engagement scores. Are they viewing the media? Are they participating in discussions? Are they responding to your polling questions? All of this information is available to you.
SPECIFICALLY, Echo360 allows YOU to determine what "optimal engagement" means for each of your courses. Our Weighting sliders, shown below, let you increase the weight for actions that you think will help students gain from the material (and decrease those you don't). It might be viewing the video media (Video Views), responding to polls (Activities), participating in class discussions (Q&A), whatever aspects of interaction with the content or other students you determine are most important.
This weighting is used to calculate the "Weighted Engagement" for each student. And it can be changed as needed, if you find your initial assessment isn't indicative of student involvement or success.
All views of all video and interactive media are tracked and provided in the Analytics tab of the media details page.
The data provided gives overview information, as well as details like WHO viewed the media, for how long, and WHERE the media view occurred, whether from an Echo360 course or through an LMS/VLE course page.
The bottom of the analytics tab (not visible above) lists each user who viewed the media along with viewing duration and other data. Furthermore, the data can be filtered by Time Range, to see who has viewed it more recently, and the filtered data can be downloaded to a CSV file for offline review and manipulation.
Interactive Media Polling Responses
If you have interactive media (videos with polling questions embedded), you can view all of the student responses in either of two places, depending on where the media is posted.
Student responses to polls in the media are tracked and provided in the Polling tab of the media details page. For interactive media embedded into an LMS/VLE course page, this is where those student responses will appear for you.
If the interactive media happens to be published to an Echo360 Course, the responses can also be seen in the Polling tab of the Course. All polls in all media (interactive media or presentations) published to the course are available in the Polling tab for the course.
Using Echo360 with Zoom or MS Teams
There are teaching scenarios, such as labs or group work, where a video conference may be more appropriate than live streaming or recording a class lecture.
Echo360 integrates with both Zoom and Microsoft Teams and OneDrive to support their use for creating your video content.
Full integration between Echo360 and Zoom has multiple options that require Administrator actions. They include the ability to launch Zoom meetings from within Echo360, automatic ingestion of Zoom meetings into Echo360, and Zoom Pro integration with your LMS/VLE for Echo360 courses. Contact your administrator to ask for these configurations if Zoom is an integral part of your class meetings.
Minimally, however, you can manually download your meetings from Zoom and then upload them into Echo360 for editing and use, using the tools described earlier on this page.
Full integration between Echo360 and MS Teams and OneDrive also requires Administrator actions. They can be configured separately, if you do not use Teams for your meetings but DO use OneDrive for recordings or other class content. Contact your administrator to ask for these configurations if using MS Teams and/or OneDrive are an integral part of your class meetings or generating class media.
And as always, you can manually upload your Teams meetings or other class materials into Echo360 for editing and use, using the tools described earlier on this page.
Echo360 Can Scale to Meet Dramatically Increased Usage
Echo360 proved in 2020 after the first global COVID wave, that the Echo360 platform can handle the dramatically increased load needed to reach students in quarantined areas, and a move to fully online delivery in the event of campus closures. From its beginning in our Asia-Pacific region, through the multiple waves and variants, we have demonstrated that we can scale without any problems.
The Echo360 platform was built from the beginning to be a multi-tenant application and our systems are designed to automatically scale as demand increases. We regularly leverage our automation to scale discrete, independent services up and down throughout the day to respond appropriately to changes in traffic and resource demands. Constant testing of our auto-scaling capabilities ensures that when we do see a large increase in demand, we can manage it. If customers schedule live events, Echo360 will provision sufficient capacity in advance of these scheduled events to ensure that capacity can meet demand.
Echo360’s strategic relationship with AWS provides us access to AWS Enterprise Support, a team of expert support and technical resources directly available to our organization. This team is helping us review our current provisioning limits and expedite any changes. They will also monitor our scaling events internally and if any issues do arise, we can work together immediately to resolve them before they affect end users.
Add More Capture and Streaming Venues if needed
The easiest way to add more capture and streaming capacity at your institution is via Echo360 Universal Capture software. It runs identically on Mac or Windows computers and can capture two streams of full HD video with audio. Your Echo360 license provides for unlimited installations of Universal Capture for faculty, students and administrators. If you have classroom computers available, all you need to do is download, install, and configure it to increase your capture and streaming capacity. You can learn more about configuring Universal Capture in the documentation.
If you prefer hardware capture, Echo360 can work with you to expand your installation of Pro and Pod devices as needed. Please contact your Echo360 representative to discuss this.
Other Resources Are Available from Echo360 to Support Contingency Planning
The entire Echo360 organization is prepared to support the needs of our clients in an emergency situation and we have been working closely with our clients who are already affected by the current outbreak. If you need any type of support for contingency planning, please contact your Echo360 representative or Support team. As always, Echo360 is fully committed to helping our college and university clients deliver the highest quality instruction to maximize student success.
The below list are the attached PDFs for a variety of quick reference guides for several of the relevant and more common Echo360 features. Please note that some of these guides are slightly out of date and are in the process of being updated. However you may still find the essential steps useful in directing you toward your goal.