Research – 2/22/15 Update on the Sales Club Website

Hey everyone!

This week has gone well. I’ve been doing a lot of research into how to handle our first task that I brought up from last week. That is, assisting Professor O’Neal in finding places to upload, manage, archive, and distribute student presentations from his Sales class.

At the end of last week, Professor O’Neal came back from the Technology Showcase with the idea that we might use Mediasite. But after looking into Mediasite, getting a copy of the desktop recorder, and playing around with it, I deemed it would not be an acceptable solution for what he wants to do. I talked with Professor O’Neal about why he doesn’t like using Ensemble, and he mentioned how he finds it confusing to work with.

With that, my goal for tackling this problem is to make a nearly automated solution. Along that line, I began researching WordPress plugins that automate the importation and display of files. I’m happy to report I may have found the perfect plugin for Professor O’Neal to use. This plugin adds a front-end file browser to WordPress, meaning that users can visit a page on the site that displays the contents of a directory (recursively, too, so you can see the directories in directories and so forth). What this means is I have created a Presentations folder on my test server, then a Spring 2015 folder, and three presentation folders within that. When all the videos are recorded, all Professor O’Neal has to do is drag-and-drop the video files from the iPad onto an FTP client pointed at the right presentation folder. The videos will be uploaded and automatically be processed for users to view. The page can be password protected so that only students can access the files.

This solution satisfies most of the automation requirements Professor O’Neal is looking for. The main downside is that Professor O’Neal must go off-campus and pay for hosting. While this isn’t normally too large an issue, if he is serving up a lot of video content, a host with nearly unlimited disk space and bandwidth, without paying an arm and a leg, must be found. I will bring this idea to Professor O’Neal and see what he thinks about it. In the meantime, I will search for a host that I think can handle copious amounts of video files on. While I have some ideas, they all have fair-usage guidelines that keep you from using too much of a server’s resources. I’m not sure if we would hit them, but if all of the video files are 1 GB and 50 students download them in a day, I can’t imagine the host being too happy.

Either way, my research will continue as I propose these ideas to Professor O’Neal. That’s it for this week, see you next one.

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