What is Bruincast?

BruinCast is a service offered and subsidized by the Office of Instructional Development to video stream and/or audio podcast regularly scheduled undergraduate lectures.

Video Streaming

Video streaming allows students to review the class after the lecture is complete. They are able to see the instructor, the whiteboard, slides, and any image that is shown through the video/data projector. Streaming video is beneficial because it is neither stored on the viewer's computer, taking up hard drive space, nor can it be easily recorded and shared. Viewers can also easily seek and navigate to any point in the lecture. Video streaming requires that the viewer is connected to the internet with a high speed connection (DSL, Cable or LAN).

Podcasting

Audio podcasting can be an extremely powerful review tool, when combined with materials made available through course websites. The biggest advantage of podcasting is that students can subscribe to a course and have that course lecture automatically download to their computer, when it is available. It eliminates the need to manually check the BruinCast webpage. Once downloaded to their computer, students can transfer the podcasts to a portable listening device and listen to the lecture anywhere, without requiring an internet connection. If they choose not to download the lecture and just click on the "Audio" link, the student can begin listening immediately; however, they will be unable to navigate to various points in a lecture until the downloaded content has reached that point.

Purpose and use/The mission of BruinCast

The BruinCast program at UCLA has a different mission than similar programs at other institutions. Our goal is to provide an instructional enhancement to current students, using funding specifically allocated for that purpose by the state. Although it would be a boon to the general public to have all UCLA course webcasts openly accessible, it would not be a direct benefit to our current student population, our defined audience for this program. 

Where is the service available?

Video Streaming

Courses that are located in streaming-equipped rooms are given priority over rooms that would require more technical and human resources to capture the day’s lecture. Currently the three locations that support video streaming/ audio podcasting or combination thereof are Haines 39, Humanities A51, and LaKretz 110.

Audio Podcasting

This service is restricted to rooms that are equipped. Current locations are:

Boelter 2444Fowler A139Math Sciences 4000A
Boelter 2760Franz 1178Math Sciences 5200
Boelter 3400Franz 1260Moore 100
Boelter 5249Franz 2258APerloff 1102
Boelter 5436Geology 3656Physics & Astronomy 1425
Boelter 5440Haines 118Physics & Astronomy 1434A
Botany 325Haines 220Public Affairs 1222
Broad 2100AHaines 39Public Affairs 1234
Broad 2160EHaines A18Public Affairs 1246
Bunche 1209BHaines A2Public Affairs 2214
Bunche 2209AHaines A25Public Affairs 2232
CS 24Humanities 135Public Affairs 2238
CS 50Humanities 169Public Affairs 2250
CS 76Humanities A51Public Affairs 2270
Dodd 121Humanities A65Rolfe 1200
Dodd 146Kinsey Pavilion 1200BRolfe 3126
Dodd 147Kinsey Pavilion 1220BRoyce 190
Dodd 161Kinsey Pavilion 1240BRoyce 362
Dodd 167LaKretz 100Young 1044
Dodd 170LaKretz 101Young 2200
Dodd 175LaKretz 110Young 4216
Fowler A103BLakretz 120 

What equipment & personnel will come to my class?

Video Streaming

A camera operator will arrive, well before lecture, to set up a single video camera and a single wireless lavaliere microphone. In streaming-equipped rooms (Haines 39, Humanities A51, LaKretz 110), no setup is needed. In rooms that are not streaming-equipped and require auxiliary equipment to capture the day’s lecture, a rack of equipment will be brought in to process the audio and video. Setups that require multiple microphones or cameras are, currently, beyond the scope of the basic service and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. This will require that the participating course's department incur charges, accordingly.

Audio Podcasting

Audio Podcasting does not require a technician to come to the participating instructor’s class. Audio Podcasting is an almost entirely transparent process. At the beginning of the quarter, we arrange with Audio Visual Services a lavaliere microphone for check-out to the instructor. The instructor will keep the microphone for the duration of the quarter. He/she is responsible for turning on the microphone for the duration of the lecture. The recording is scheduled and automated at the beginning of the quarter, for each recurring lecture. Therefore, we encourage instructors to turn on the microphone only for the lecture and to turn it off immediately after the lecture is complete. The automated software process edits out long spaces of silence, and the file is then pushed live on the web.

Is there a charge associated with the service?

The basic service assumes a single lecturer using a single microphone. The basic service is subsidized by the Office of Instructional Development except for Summer Sessions. Setups that require multiple microphones or cameras are beyond the scope of the basic service will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will require that the participating courses department be charged accordingly. Additional lectures and make up lectures that meet outside the regularly scheduled time also require a charge to the participating courses department.

Is the recording method fail safe?

No. Although we make every effort to ensure a quality recording, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances that result in the recording not being captured. It can be as simple as a bad battery in the wireless microphone to as complex as corrupted coding that prevents us from getting the recording. We will do our best to keep you informed. Should a lecture not record, we will provide help in any issues surrounding that particular instance.

Can I restrict access so that only enrolled students may access the material?

Yes. If you choose to have your course restricted to students enrolled in your course, they will have to log on using their UCLA log on ID. In addition, you can grant access to guests through a simple process.

Please be aware that the audio podcasts are available for students to download to their computer and portable devices. This means content can be uploaded to other locations. The video content is not available for download, as it is streamed, making it difficult for students to capture and re-purpose the video content.

How is this different from my normal classes?

Our goal is to make the process no different than any other class you teach. We have and will continue to put a great deal of effort into making what we do as unobtrusive as possible. However, we have no illusions that our presence will not have some impact on what you do in the classroom. At every lecture, a camera operator sets up equipment in the projection booth, if available, in the lecture hall where class is meeting. Having the operator in the booth will make it easier for the students to forget about the webcast recording. You will see the operator and the camera but over time their presence will be undetectable. Please feel free to lecture naturally, as you normally do in the classroom. It is the camera operator’s job to follow you, rather than for you to make any special accommodation to the camera.

Do I need to do anything special at the beginning of each class?

Not particularly. However, we have found that it is beneficial (and produces a less abrupt beginning and ending) when an instructor announces the beginning of the lecture with a phrase such as “Let’s begin” and ends the lecture with something like “That’s all for today.” You can let the camera operator know if you have any special requirements for your lecture. If you plan on doing anything out of the ordinary, it is wise to warn the operator in advance. The more the operator knows about your lecture style and approach, the better he or she will be able to adequately capture what happens in your class. Please make sure that you are wearing the wireless microphone that it is turned on and working.

What should I wear?

You do not need to make any particular accommodations in your wardrobe for the webcasts. Generally (whenever you will appear on camera) you should avoid very light or very dark colors. High contrast usually makes the camera’s job tougher. If you wear something very white, the camera will see that as the brightest thing in the picture, correct accordingly and make your face very dark and hard to see. If you wear something too dark, you will probably get lost in the shadows. Finally, it is best to avoid fine stripes, since they will often cause a moiré pattern that can be distracting.

How should I handle questions from the class?

Since only you will be wearing a microphone during the class, questions from the class will not be audible on the webcast version. Please restate or summarize the question before you respond. That way, we will have a complete record of the interaction in the classroom.

Can I use PowerPoint and other visual support?

Yes, we hope you do. The camera operator will follow the action and focus on the screen at the appropriate times. Please keep in mind that the video image that will ultimately appear on student’s computer screens is quite small. If you put too much on a PowerPoint slide, the detail may be lost in the streaming version. An easy work-around is to make the PowerPoint slides available on the course website, so that students can follow along as they watch the webcast. Pay particular attention to the use of copyrighted materials in your lectures. If the use of copyrighted materials cannot be avoided, please inform the camera operator ahead of time.  As with any class, please plan to arrive early to allow sufficient time to connect your laptop to the projection system.

Can I use the chalkboard/whiteboard?

Yes. The operator in the booth will follow the action during your class. If you use the chalkboard, he or she will ensure that a clear shot of what you have written is held on the screen long enough for students to read and copy it down. Please keep in mind that the video image that will ultimately appear on student’s computer screen is quite small. If you limit the length of the lines you write, the camera will be able to frame what you have written and make it appear bigger on the screen. An effective strategy is to divide the board into a number of narrow sections. If you plan to make extensive use of the board, please consult with the camera operator.

Will students be able to watch the online version of the lecture while it is happening?

No. At this point, we are not making the online lectures available as a live webcast. Normally, lectures will be available for viewing the day following the lecture. If you have a special request to make the lecture available earlier or later, we will make every effort to accommodate your request.

Does this mean that a lot of students will watch the lectures online, instead of attending class in person?

While there is nothing to prevent students from skipping class and watching them online later, this is not usually the case. There is no better time in a student’s busy schedule to attend class than at the time it is offered. The purposes of our webcast service are for review and reinforcement of materials covered in class. Large classes (>250) seem to report a larger drop in attendance. In some cases, attendance drops as much as 20%. At the same time, positive attendance results occurred when faculty remind students of the importance of attending lecture and warn that streaming will discontinue if attendance does not improve.

How do students access the webcasts?

Courses are listed on the CCLE webpage.

What should I do if my students are having problems with the podcast website?

Please have them contact us via email at bruincasthelp@ucla.edu. Part of our service is to provide support to the students, so that they can successfully view the podcast content. We are very familiar with the common issues that can affect the viewing of streaming content. Some of these issues are specific to a students particular situation, and others exist on a more universal user experience. We would like to avoid having instructors necessitate troubleshooting these issues, and we encourage you to direct the students to us.

Can I get a copy of my lectures?

At the request of the instructor, a copy of the lectures can be provided for a fee. Please contact BruinCast for more information. 

How do I sign up?

Sign up online. As soon as you know the location of your class, you may sign up to have your course video streamed or audio podcasted. Each quarter, we set out to maximize the number of courses and students we can service with the available resources. Priority is given to faculty teaching in streaming-equipped rooms.

If I participated in past quarters, will I automatically be signed up for the next quarter I teach?

No, the process is not automatic. However, we do make every effort to send invitations to instructors who have previously signed up. Should you wish to have your class podcasted, please sign up ahead of the quarter here.

Who do I contact for more information about BruinCast?

Email us at: bruincasthelp@ucla.edu