Stop Using Windows Media Video (.wmv)

Every semester we get calls from faculty and students about issues viewing videos (almost always windows media video format) in Blackboard or eCollege (the two Learning Management Systems we use). While not always, most of the time these calls  come from Mac users.  While Mac users can use Flip4Mac or Windows Media Player for Mac OS X, for whatever reason there are times where even with these media players supposedly installed (note: these are distance students so we can’t verify easily if they installed it correctly) students can’t view the videos.

As a result, we offered a workshop yesterday about avoiding some of these problems. You can watch a recording of the workshop online: https://connect.cuonline.edu/p43536068/

A copy of the basic presentation can be viewed below. But the basic gist of our presentation was to avoid using formats like .wmv or real media and instead focus on using common formats like .flv or .mp4. We talked about the pros and cons of using “Flash Video” (.flv). We specifically went over three different tools faculty can use to convert their videos themselves, namely:

Zamzar (great for short videos; web-based)
Hamster (perhaps the easiest tool out there; but only available for a PC)
Handbrake (very robust tool)

Finally, we concluded with encouraging faculty to put all videos (but especially videos longer than 5 minutes) on a streaming sever.  We talked about the benefits of using YouTube but also highlighted that faculty could use CU Online’s Flash Server.

Do you have problems with .wmv? If so, please share how you handle it.

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