For those struggling to rapidly deploy a remote learning environment, our business partner Wowza offers a simple solution!
*Originally posted from wowza.com
To construct a remote learning classroom in a very short time, Wowza Media Systems offers a simple solution that requires zero developer or video experience. Using the Zoom Meeting platform and a Wowza Streaming Cloud license, one instructor can host and deploy a live, virtual classroom to hundreds or thousands of viewers in just ten minutes.
If you’re not familiar with Zoom, it’s an easy-to-use video conference tool that allows people to virtually connect from any location and participate in a class, meeting, or work session. One person can easily host an online classroom, and Zoom offers valuable features such as screen share for teachers who need to display an on-screen presentation to their students.
In this article, I’ll describe how to create and share a virtual Zoom classroom using Wowza Streaming Cloud and a simple RTMP URL. There’s no need for the participants in the virtual class to each download and configure a Zoom account. Rather, the instructor leading the class would create a live stream in a Zoom meeting and then share the stream link with students. For students opening the URL, a player will launch in Wowza Streaming Cloud, connecting them to a virtual classroom.
For those institutions that have a security requirement to embed the live stream in a private course platform, Wowza has a simple way for you to copy and paste the embed code into your own HTML. We will demonstrate how you can do this in the tutorial below.
Step 1: Get Started
Creating a new stream:
1. Go to cloud.wowza.com.
2. Sign in with your credentials provided upon license purchase.
3. Click the Live Streams menu and then click Add Live Stream.
4. Enter a Live Stream Name (it can be anything you’d like), click on the Broadcast Location closest to you, and then click Next.
5. On the Video Source and Transcoder Settings page, select OTHER RTMP.
6. Leave all other settings as the default except for Source Security. Here you want to Disable Authentication, so make sure that you put a checkmark in that box, then click Next.
7. On the Playback Settings page, leave all default settings as they are and just click Next at bottom of the page.
8. On the Hosted Page Settings page, if you’d like Wowza to provide a hosted web page for your video stream, click Yes. You can name it if you’d like, add a description, or even add a thumbnail image prior to start of stream. When finished, click Next.
9. On the final page, Review Settings, simply click Finish at the bottom of page.
Congrats! You are now ready to start your live stream! But, don’t click Start Stream just yet.
Step 2: Create a New Zoom Meeting
Configuring the settings:
1. Sign into your Zoom account.
2. If your educational institute already has a Zoom account, be sure you are enabled as a host. NOTE: This must be a paid Zoom account, not the free version.
3. In the navigation to the left of the screen, click on Settings.
4. Scroll all the way down the Settings page until you see Allow Live Streaming Meetings. *Tip: If you click on: In Meeting: Advanced, you’ll get there much faster than scrolling.
5. Be sure to click on Custom Live Streaming Service. Enter some directions if you’d like, then click Save.
6. Now, you can go to the top of the page to the nav and click on Schedule a Meeting. Enter the meeting description info and click Save.
Step 3: Connect Zoom With Wowza
Sharing the stream information:
1. Once your Zoom call has begun, navigate to the bottom of the Zoom screen and click on More in the bottom right. When you do that, a pop-up will appear. Click on Live on Custom Live Streaming Service. Once clicked, a page with a form will appear.
2. Here, you will need to enter some information and we will get that info directly from Wowza Streaming Cloud.
3. Head back over to Wowza Streaming Cloud and click the green Start Live Stream at the top of the page where we previously left off.
You will see a Streaming Cloud Data Page appear once the stream begins, and we will use some of this information to populate our Zoom form.
Step 4: Complete the Zoom Form:
Starting the stream from Zoom:
1. From your Streaming Cloud Data Page, copy the entire Primary Server line that begins with rtmp://. You can see this highlighted in the example above. NOTE: You do not need to include the IP address number in between the parentheses at the end of the URL.
2. Back in Zoom, paste the RTMP URL into the first line that says Streaming URL. You will get a pop-up saying you have entered a non-encrypted URL. You can ignore that. Cloud security encrypts the stream for playback.
3. For the Stream Key field in Zoom, this is what you named your stream when you first created a new stream in Cloud. If you forget, it’s at the top of your Cloud page just above the start and stop stream button. In the screenshot above, we created a stream called Remote_Classroom.
4. Our last step in the Zoom form is to enter the website page or URL where the stream will be playing. In this tutorial, we did choose to have Wowza create a hosted player page. Copy the Hosted Page URL from Cloud and enter it in the Zoom field for Live Streaming Page URL.
5. Once you’ve completed the form, click the blue Go Live button.
Wowza Streaming Cloud will now start to receive the video from Zoom as an RTMP source. Once received, it will process and package the stream for playback across multiple devices. To see the stream, click the Open button next to the Hosted Page URL and this will launch the player.
NOTE: It may take 30 to 45 seconds for the stream to begin as Cloud is still receiving the initial video data chunks from Zoom.
You are now able to share the HTTPS playback link the following ways:
- Paste the link to the Wowza Host page into your course documentation
- Through an HTML5 Player of your choice
- Direct email to those invited to the session
- Embed the Cloud Player code into a webpage
To embed the Cloud Player into your own HTML, you can copy and paste the code underneath the Player Embed Code. To integrate the HLS playback URL into a player, copy the .m3u8 URL provided in Playback URLs.
Conclusion: Remote Learning With Wowza
There you have it. Wowza Streaming Cloud can easily be integrated with Zoom to create live virtual classrooms and interactive online courses. For organizations solving for disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, this enables today’s educators to build custom experiences at scale. That’s because the Wowza Streaming Cloud service allows you to distribute HLS streams to large audiences on any device.