According to the 2008 Horizon Report, grassroots video is an emerging trend in higher education. Faculty and students are uploading and linking to videos for course content and projects. Most people think of YouTube when discussing this technology, but blip.tv may be a better option for educators and students who want to upload their own video clips to the Internet.
Blip.tv is a video sharing service with a serious focus on video blogging and podcasting. With blip.tv you can easily upload video and share it with the world. blip.tv was created because of the community that had already started to form around videoblogging.
Blip.tv is dedicated to pioneering the next generation of video programming both narrowcast and broadcast as producers and audiences educate and entertain each other according to the rigorous compliance standards that have been developed in conjunction with their users.
Instructors will determine their own learning goals. Students can register for free accounts and upload and share video clips as part of a course project.
Target Student Population:
University students are a good target population as they have the ability to sign up for accounts without parent approval. K-12 teachers could get around the authentication issue by creating a generic account with a common user name and password for all students. The instructor will want to monitor what has been uploaded, and change the password at the end of the project to minimize the risk of unauthorized content.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Users should have a basic understanding of video production. They must know how to move the video they create to the hard drive of their computer. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to use an MP4 camera like the Sanyo Xacti. This type of camera allows video files to be copied from the camera's memory card to the hard drive without a step to encode the video into the appropriate digital format.
Type of Material:
Blip.tv is a online hosting system for grassroots video projects. Teachers and students can get free accounts to upload and share video content.
Instructors can assign teams of students projects that require them to create and upload video clips. Blip.tv solves the problem of where to upload video as most institutions have not wanted to get into the video hosting market. Once a video has been uploaded, a student only needs to provide a URL for viewing. There is still a problem with how to create a video that can be uploaded. That will will addressed later in this review.
Blip.tv hosts the videos online for free. The content of the videos is up to the creator. Examples of video shows on Blip.tv include: videoblogging, journalism, interviews, educational content, teaching a specific concept, animation, and more.
Users will need a current version of a common browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. They will also need common media players installed such as Quicktime, Windows Media, and Flash player. Video creators will need a video camera and a method for creating digital videos. Blip.tv recommends using Windows Movie Maker (PC) or iMovie (Mac).
Evaluation and Observation
Blip.tv will not only host your videos, they will also teach you the basics of web video. The site contains a Learning Center section http://blip.tv/learning/ where users can learn how to shoot and upload videos. This part of the site is divided into easy-to-understand sections include one titled "11 Mistakes to Avoid."
Blip.tv is not a collection of online video clips, but an online community of shows. Blip.tv defines a "show" as a series of online videos that are tied together by consistent branding, style, and release schedule. Shows can be fiction, or non-fiction. A show can be made by one person with equipment he or she already owns, or many people with a big budget. This means there are a series of content-driven video clips available. Blip.tv is a free service supports several video formats including FLV. Time and file size of videos is not restricted. Blip.tv backups your videos to the Web Archives automatically. Downloading videos is easy to do. Statistics of how the video is being used are provided. Videos are not resized. The creator of the video has an easy and systematic way to share a video show, a series of
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Blip.tv provides a number of options that make it a good choice for grassroots video projects. First, unlike YouTube, the videos aren't limited to ten minutes. This means students could upload videos of themselves teaching a unit. Second, blip.tv retains the original video quailty while creating a Flash version of the video that may stream better. Third, blip.tv allows users to download videos. Some video clips need to be played in locations without reliable internet access. Unilike other services, blip.tv encourages users to download videos, plus the videos can be downloaded in their original format to retain quaility. Finally, students can create their own free accounts and can share video with their instructors and others by sharing the video's URL.
Educators can certainly have students develop videos for publication on Blip.tv. Pre-production, production, and post-production processes would need to be addressed along with the investigation and presentation of the video content. Blip.tv has a Learning Center that addresses how to approach the concept, to tools to consider, to production and more. There are several examples available for viewing as well. Since the content of the video is in the hands of the creator, any curriculum could be addressed.
The only concern is something that blip.tv can't really control. One of the challenges educators may face is how to get video in a format to put online. As has been mentioned before, finding a camera that encodes the video in a digital format such as MP4 can save time and frustration. A project can take twice as much time if a student has to digitize the video after shooting it. It would be helpful if blip.tv would provide a section that helped educators determine which specific cameras will work best with the system.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The system is extremely easy to use. Once a person has an account, s/he clicks on the Upload link, enters a title and description, uploads the movie, sets a few preferences, and then clicks upload. A message will appear letting the user know that the video has been uploaded successfully with an offer to view it. Licensing, categorizing, and publishing can all be taken care when uploading. A video can be uploaded to blip.tv, posted on a blog, and shared with Facebook all on one web page.
The site is visually interesting and systematically designed to help the users. The rigorous standards for submitting appropriate video content that honors copyright laws are impressive. So, too, is the action taken when videos do not do this. The site has a searchable database for video viewing. Links for key sections of the site including the Learning Center, Blog, Principles, Community, and your account (once you sign up for free) are on the bottom of every page. The site is current and is updated daily.
The how and why of creating a Show could have better documentation. The benefits of creating a show isn't obvious even though it is a great feature.
Other Issues and Comments:
Users need to pay attention to copyright laws when creating their video shows. This is a good thing. This site helps model the appropriate uses of copyright which is an educational tool in itself.