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Open Source E-Learning Development 16: Kaltura Collaborative Video Platform

Today, I’m going to talk about a genuinely innovative open source online media production and collaboration environment, and in my view one of  the more exciting (and remarkably unheralded) applications of the Web 2.0 philosophy to emerge from the in the last few years. It’s called Kaltura.

Now Read On…

Kaltura founder Ron Yekutiel (2007) describes the solution as “wiki meets YouTube” or an kaltura_logoonline space that facilitates peer-based generation and modification of content – or for our  purposes – e-learning. As you know, I am a strong exponent of the 3PD model, an approach to instructional design which advocates a iterative approach to courseware development, something which should not be viewed as a short-term process, but rather as a long-term collaborative process which can facilitates focused communities of practice with a shared understanding and a philosophy of continuous improvement of learning materials.

Conceptually, the Kaltura media platform is built on the wiki model, but uses motion-based digital media to collaborate rather than static text and images. In this context, we can say that the Kaltura suite is a hosted solution that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a a WYSIWYG media editor. I would assert that this is potentially nothing less than a revolutionary approach to generating collaborative multimedia content for communities of practice, for personal note taking, and for knowledge management.

Sites using this technology can add video capabilities using the open source community edition of the company’s software, Kaltura’s hosted services, or install self-serve video packages for web-platforms such as MediaWiki, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Using this technology, content authors can create videos by combining existing uploaded media from media-sharing sites, or by creating their own audio and video content locally and distributing it via an intranet or the Web.

Kaltura’s technology allows users to interact and collaborate in digital media development and production. For example, the video platform supports multi-author video and peer production of multimedia. The main components of Kaltura’s online video platform are based on open-source software, enabling any site to add advanced video and rich-media capabilities, and share content across the Kaltura network of “remixable” content, which is available through creative commons licensing.

According to their website,

Kaltura allows publishers of all sizes to easily, quickly, and cost effectively enhance their web site with video and interactive rich-media functionalities, including video management, searching, uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing, sharing, and advertising.

Unlike the alternative proprietary solutions, Kaltura’s platform is completely flexible, extendible and free! Kaltura’s reference implementations and growing library of applications, extensions and plug-ins allow publishers to select off the shelf solutions for rapid self-serve deployments that can be fully enabled within minutes.

At the center of Kaltura are what the developers call “projects” – the suite of applications used to develop and deploy the content on intranets and the Web. The project are:

Project Description
Widgets and UtilitiesClient-side programs and utilities that provide a specific solution. Category include applications such as the Kaltura Dynamic Player, Kaltura Advanced Video Editor, Simple Uploader, etc.
Integrated Applications Combination of Projects (Server, Widgets…) that is customized, skinned, and combined using a specific workflow to form an application – examples include an application for Media and Remixing, application for VideoBlogging on WordPress blogs, extensions for CMS platforms like Drupal, etc.
Client Libraries Projects that provide code bundles to ease the integration and development of Video applications, the usage of the Kaltura Platform and the extending of its functionality. Projects that are written in various languages and encapsulate callback implementations to the Kaltura APIs (Kaltura Client Library; PHP, C#, etc) or provide high level interfaces to develop Video Applications (Kaltura Collaborative Video Framework, KalturaLib, etc).
Server Side ApplicationsBack-end applications for Digital asset management, transcoding, Streaming and Hosting, server Video Processing and beyond. Project in this category include the Kaltura Server (KalturaCE), SWF to Video (flattening) server, etc.
Formats and LanguagesConceptual propositions, theoretical works or implementations of various formats and languages that involve with the processing, serving or management of media on the web and beyond.
Themes and Plugins An addition or enhancement for a specific Project to extend its abilities, features or look and feel, for example a new effect or transition for the Advanced Video Editor, a module that provide ad serving abilities to the Kaltura Player Widget, etc.
Translations and Locales Project’s translations, and a list of all available translations for the various projects.

To whet your appetite for the amazing potential of the Kaltura environment, click on Figure 1 to access an interactive, fully functional instance of the Kaltura Advanced Editor

kaltura_advanced_editor Figure 1 Kaltura Advanced Editor
[Click to Open]

I strongly recommend that you check out Kaltura, but with one proviso: it’s not for the faint-hearted or the the technically incompetent. In my view, you need a very good level of understanding of web server technologies and administration, and of streaming media to implement the system. Having your own web space to host the platform is enormously helpful too. That said, once implemented and tested, it’s a breeze to use. I’m in the process of integrating the platform into my Moodle site, but that is for a different article here on the E-Learning Curve Blog.

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References:

Stern, A. (2007) Conversation with Kaltura Founder Ron Yekutiel http://www.centernetworks.com/conversation-with-kaltura-founder

5 Comments

  1. I strongly recommend that you check out Kaltura, but with one proviso: it’s not for the faint-hearted or the the technically incompetent. – I will surely do that. Thanks for sharing this post. Keep it up man!

    • Hi Jill,
      Thanks for commenting; no I haven’t had the opportunity to integrated the components yet.

      Don’t worry – as soon as I have, I’ll discuss it here on the E-Learning Curve Blog.
      Best regards,
      Michael

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