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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Should you serve videos directly from Moodle, or use a video sharing service like Limelight or Vimeo?

In the LinkedIn group "Moodlers Online," one member posted a question about the best way to share videos in Moodle courses. This is a frequent question. So I'd like to repost the question, and my response, here.
I've paraphrased the question below:
I am creating a Moodle site where all of the training is either WebEx, swf or .wmv based. It will have hundreds of training videos. Would it be better to upload the files to a video repository service such as Limelight or Vimeo, or just upload to Moodle? What are the pros and cons of each approach? I am worried about the slow loading of videos if they are stored and served by Moodle, and about the ability of Moodle to adapt to a user's slow internet connection.
And my answer:
You appear to be caught between two conflicting technical requirements for this. One the one hand, your users would get the best performance if you host the videos and a dedicated video streaming service and link to them from within Moodle. On the other hand, you need to lock down these videos to prevent anyone with the link from accessing them on the video sharing site. There is a relatively easy, technical solution.
The service that you referred to, Limelight, has an optional feature called "Media Vault." It will prevent your students from sharing the URL to a video. See, another video sharing site, has a similar feature for their Pro account. You can embed videos that you've uploaded to Vimeo directly on a Moodle page, and configure the video so it plays only from that Moodle page (only from that URL).
Moodle is a great learning management system, but it's not a streaming media delivery application. I suggest you upload the videos to a video delivery service like Limelight or Vimeo, embed the videos to keep your users inside Moodle, and use content security to prevent them from being played outside of Moodle.
Hope this was helpful, and good luck with your project!
(cross posted in the blog of my new site at

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