Sharing Video and More with the YuJa Media Library 

By: Russell Davidson; Associate Director for Digital Education, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning 

Last fall, the University added a new online tool to our teaching toolkit. YuJa, which gets its name from the Sanskrit word for join or connect, provides the Detroit Mercy community with a feature-rich, easy-to-use media companion to Blackboard.  

At its most basic, YuJa’s Media Library is an improvement on Microsoft Stream. It lets us share media – video in particular, but also audio, images, even PDFs – with students more easily than we could with Microsoft Stream. Video (and audio) uploaded to YuJa is automatically captioned, and captions can be edited if necessary. And adding a video to your course site (via the Media Library [YuJa] tools in Blackboard) is enough to make it available to only the students in your course.  

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has put together a walkthrough of the upload and embed process, which can be found here. In fact, CETL has put together quite a few pages to help our community use YuJa effectively, and we’ve linked to these throughout this article. 

If students are trying to watch videos on their phones (or upload videos from their phones) and having difficulty, direct them to download and install the dedicated YuJa Mobile app from their respective app store. 

Not Just for Faculty 

Because YuJa is available to everyone at the University and the media library embed tool is part of the toolbar present on almost every text-entry box in Blackboard, students can use the instructions linked above to submit a homework video to their professor through Blackboard’s assignment tool or share a recording with their classmates via a discussion board post. Students can use YuJa’s recording tools (more on those later), or they can record with any other appropriate device (their phone camera, PowerPoint, etc.) and upload the video to YuJa before posting. 

Sharing media is only the beginning 

While the ease of YuJa’s secure media sharing is a big part of its appeal, there’s more to YuJa than media sharing. 

Analytics 

YuJa’s Blackboard integration means we can see which students have actually watched the videos we’ve posted and how much of the videos our students have watched. 

Video Quizzes 

If students aren’t watching pre-recorded videos, an effective approach to encouraging them to watch (and pay attention) is to attach points to viewing. While putting Blackboard quizzes between short videos is a strategy that faculty have had success with, YuJa’s Video Quizzing lets you incorporate assessments directly into your videos. A student watching a YuJa video quiz will be prompted to respond to questions at instructor-set intervals. Video progress can be locked – preventing students from skimming past the quizzes – or left open. For close-ended questions (multiple choice, true/false, etc), video quiz scores are pushed directly to Blackboard. For quizzes with open-ended questions or playback quizzes, which give students points based on what percent of the video they watched push scores usually 2-3 hours after the student has finished their viewing session (though it may take longer, depending on the length of the student’s watch session and the number of quizzes in the sync queue). 

Recording 

If you’re on a PC and you want to narrate a set of slides, PowerPoint’s recording tools are still the easiest way to record your presentation. If you’re a Mac user, if you’ve been using Collaborate as your pre-recording tool, or if you’ve been looking for a more powerful capture tool that lets you annotate anything you can put on your desktop, YuJa has some excellent alternatives. 

YuJa offers a basic browser-based recording tool for faculty and students who either cannot or would rather not install software on their computers. Browser capture lets us record our webcam and / or our desktop activity, with the recording going straight into YuJa’s media library.  

YuJa’s desktop software capture (available on both PC and Mac) goes much further than the browser-based version. With the desktop software capture, we can capture up to 2 video sources, 2 audio sources, and those of us with multiple monitors can capture up to 2 screen sources. As an extreme example, this means, we could capture a tabletop-focused camera, our computer’s webcam, a headset microphone, a remote microphone, and software running across two screens of desktop all in a single video. Possibly the most useful part of YuJa’s desktop software is its set of live annotation tools, which let us draw onscreen to highlight points of interest and draw focus as we record.  

A neat additional feature that results from recording in YuJa – if you capture more than one video source – most commonly this would be screen and camera video – a viewer can move and resize those video sources inside the YuJa video player.  This means, if your bottom-right picture-in-picture overlaps some part of the slide in the background, a student can move that video feed window out of the way (or resize it if they’d like to see more or less of the video). 

Need Help? 

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is here to help you make the most of YuJa, and all the other online education tools available at the University. If you’d like immediate assistance with any of these tools, ask CETL (ask-CETL@udmercy.edu, 313-578-0580). Or keep an eye on your email for more formal workshops, coming soon. 

Guidelines for Lecturing Online 

If you’re considering pre-recording lecture content, or considering whether to pre-record, we strongly encourage you to start out by reviewing the CETL Guidelines for Lecturing Online.