Online video has completed changed how people learn. With just a few clicks, it’s now possible to access and learn from an incredible variety of experts, innovators and thought-leaders from across the globe. As a result, it's no surprise that online video has been embraced by educational institutions as an incredibly valuable tool. 

Modern and Contemporary Poetry, a free Coursera Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) taught by Al Filreis at the University of Pennsylvania, hosts weekly live webcasts from the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia, PA. We decided to take the show on the road and host webcasts in San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC and London. Here's the gear we used, which is optimized with weight, efficiency and travel in mind.

In order to record a Google Hangout, the easiest way is to use "Google Hangouts on Air." Adding the "On Air" feature to a Google Hangout is intended to make your meeting public so that anyone can tune in and watch it -- BUT, you can make it private, if you prefer, and still gain the benefit of a downloadable recording. The easiest way to do a Google Hangout On Air is through YouTube.


The Streaming Media East conference in New York City was excellent, as usual! The conference covers everything from the technical side to the business side of online video. There was a lot of great content, but these are my 7 favorite takeaways.

With modern technology and services, it's now possible to host professional grade webcasts on a small budget. At the University of Pennsylvania, we produce weekly webcasts in our Modern and Contemporary Poetry MOOC. The webcasts are done in regular room on a modest 3-camera setup, comprised of only a fraction of a "professional" studio’s gear.

At the University of Pennsylvania, we’ve been offering for-credit online courses for many years. However, the landscape of online course offerings became much more interesting in 2012 when the University partnered with the online course platform, Coursera, to start offering select courses as MOOCs -- not-for-credit courses that are free and open to the world.

As an I.T. Professional at the University of Pennsylvania, I’ve been lucky to work on Al Filreis’ 10-week Modern and Contemporary Poetry MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Coursera. The free, not-for-credit course is comprised of nearly 100 pre-recorded video lectures, weekly quizzes and 4 writing assignments.

The Wikipedia article for "webcast" states that "webcasting usually refers to non-interactive linear streams or events" and that "essentially, webcasting is broadcasting over the internet." There is absolutely no reason for webcasts to be "non-interactive." You're doing yourself and your audience a disservice if this is the case. At the University of Pennsylvania, we've done dozens of interactive webcasts, trying many new tools along the way.

With Google Hangouts On Air, you can host and broadcast live discussions and performances to the world. You can also embed the live video player into a webpage with an html code, and later edit and share a copy of the broadcast. At the University of Pennsylvania, I've done dozens of complex, large-scale live webcasts using Google Hangouts on Air. Here, I share my findings.