AWS to host cloud-based academic video platform for Canadian universities

Today’s students expect high quality digital services throughout their academic journeys, and a new partnership will provide that.

Education technology company Echo360 has announced that its cloud-based video and active learning platform will be available in Canada thanks to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which will host the solution from its Canada (Central) region out of Montreal.

While the platform has been available in Canada for a couple years now, it was only an on-premises solution due to Canada’s stringent data sovereignty regulations, which requires all data from public institutions that is on the cloud to be stored in Canada. With AWS opening a local region in the country in 2016, Echo360 can now offer its customers cloud-based platforms.

“This announcement marks a shift from traditional old-school on-prem video platforms in Canadian schools to leading edge technology thanks to AWS,” Fred Singer, founder and CEO of Echo360, tells IT World Canada. “We had clients on our old system but it was challenging to deal with their desire to move to the cloud and to be more cutting edge before AWS was here because of the strict data privacy rules. This partnership really alleviates that and now we can deliver without compromise for the first time, and that’s a big deal to Canadian universities.”

Echo360’s platform is easily scalable across multiple campuses, and is an affordable, flexible, and effective learning tool while keeping student information secure.

Singer says it will allow students to “watch and rewatch lectures, ask questions in real time, take notes and have them synched to the presentation being watched, and flag slides as important for a study guide or as something that needs more clarification.”

He adds that the platform has proven to boost student interaction and engagement, leading to better grades.

“Our claim to fame is that we dramatically improve engagement by, on average, between 300-600 per cent. With kids asking more questions and taking better notes, that engagement directly correlates to better grades and that’s our big focus,” Singer explains. “If schools are spending this much money on a brand new technology system, they should be demanding that the tech improves their core mission of educating students, and our system does that.”

Echo360 is currently in over 700 universities across 30 countries, and counts the University of Ottawa, Queens University, and the University of Western Ontario (UWO) as some of its more prominent Canadian customers.

“Lecture capture is nearly ubiquitous at postsecondary institutions, but given today’s advanced capabilities, it can do much more than simply capture video,” says Dr. Kem Rogers, professor and chair of anatomy and cell biology at Schulich School of Medicine at UWO. “It’s critical that we invest in forward-thinking, cloud-based platforms designed to enhance teaching and learning and enable greater student engagement. Echo360 has helped me to continually evolve the classroom experience, meeting the needs of my digitally native students.”

An additional benefit that Echo360’s platform offers, Singer continues, is that it starts to build a data profile on what students are doing, watching, and interested in, which can be used to improve teaching methods.

“When students take notes, review lectures, etc., the school can begin to see how the content is being viewed and reacted to. They can start to get a data profile, which is important for improving teaching and learning,” he emphasizes. “Schools can begin to measure not just how a student performs on a test, but the activity leading up to it. This is the early stages of using big data to improve the higher education system.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Mandy Kovacs
Mandy Kovacs
Mandy is a lineup editor at CTV News. A former staffer at IT World Canada, she's now contributing as a part-time podcast host on Hashtag Trending. She is a Carleton University journalism graduate with extensive experience in the B2B market. When not writing about tech, you can find her active on Twitter following political news and sports, and preparing for her future as a cat lady.

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