Kaltura is replacing MEDIAL as NIU’s campus-wide video hosting platform. Beginning in May 2020, MEDIAL will no longer accept video uploads. The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) is currently developing a migration strategy for videos in MEDIAL that need to be migrated to Kaltura or otherwise preserved. DoIT will be communicating the migration strategy to faculty and staff who have content in MEDIAL in May 2020. Faculty and staff who have content in MEDIAL or other hosting platforms will be able to receive assistance and advice regarding migration options once the strategy is in place.

MEDIAL (formerly Helix Media Library) is a new feature that makes it easier to incorporate media like audio and video into Blackboard by encoding and converting media so that it is optimized for streaming and able to play on most devices.

With MEDIAL, audio and video files are added from within a Blackboard course, but the content is uploaded to a streaming server. This means that the content does not consume space in the Course Quota and is able to handle multiple students viewing the content simultaneously. Unlike using public services like YouTube or Vimeo, content posted through MEDIAL is private and secured on a locally-based university server. From within a Blackboard course, users have the ability to determine access permissions to posted content. The three permission options include 'Personal' (only instructor and students can view), 'Protected' (only NIU affiliated users) and 'Public' (anyone online can view content).

Helix Media Library (MEDIAL) is a Mashup tool on the Visual Text Box Editor. This means that video/audio content can be uploaded anywhere there is access to the text box editor, by both faculty and students. For faculty, this could include adding items to a content area, creating announcements and assignments, or posting a Discussion Board topic. Students could upload their own media for an assignment or when collaborating on the discussion board, blogs, wikis, or journals.

Screenshot highlighting the MEDIAL option under Mashups in the Text Box Editor

NIU Faculty, staff, and students have 4 Gigabytes (GBs) of storage space for their media content on MEDIAL. However, if needed, they can submit a request at to increase the quota for free in 4 GB increments. Individual files can be up to 2 GB in size, which allows users to upload longer video segments.

Faculty and students who post content should be aware of the copyright status that applies to the videos they post. Preferably, posted content should be created by the individual uploading the file. Otherwise, it is best to have permission to use the materials from the copyright holder.

There are a number of practical and pedagogically effective uses for the Helix Media Integration:

  • Faculty can embed videos as content to enhance/supplement their course materials. Some examples of videos include (but are not limited to): recorded class lectures (instead of or to supplement in-class lectures), interviews with specialists from the discipline, artistic performances (music, theatre, or dance), athletic performances, and demonstrations of lab procedures.
  • Faculty can share videos as prompts for assignments or discussion board topics, such as case study scenarios or current events.
  • Faculty can provide feedback on student assignments by recording videos and posting as part of the Feedback or Comments on a Blackboard Assignment or Grade Center column.
  • Students can create audio or video recordings to submit for assessments, such as a recorded presentation, group debate, or performance.

Last updated: 07/02/2019