Lecture recording & Live streaming

Record and broadcast lectures

Over 50 lecture halls at the University of Bern are equipped with a podcast infrastructure. This infrastructure and the Opencast software make it easy to record, process and publish lectures, conference talks and other events, and now also to broadcast them live. The words spoken and the image projected by the beamer (e.g. PowerPoint or Visualizer slides, websites, videos) are recorded or live streamed as standard, but not the person speaking. The recording can be post-processed before publication and finally made available in ILIAS or on the video platform «Tobira» with or without a download option, or integrated into a website. Live streaming takes place via ILIAS or Tobira (YouTube only in exceptional cases).

Migration from SWITCHcast/-tube to Opencast/Tobira

Since Wednesday, August 10, 2022, the University of Bern no longer utilizes the video service "SWITCHcast" (based on Opencast) but operates its own Opencast. As a producer and/or user, very little changes for you, as all your videos remain available to you, and the familiar user interfaces in ILIAS and Opencast remain the same (see below).

Why do I need to request access to Opencast again?

SWITCHcast had more than 4500 accounts for producers, of which only a minority were still actively used. We are now taking advantage of the migration to our own Opencast for a cleanup operation. All users have to be created again. If you usually administrate your Opencast videos via ILIAS, you will not realize any changes: As soon as you cut an Opencast video from ILIAS for the first time, you will automatically be granted access rights. Those who administer their videos directly in Opencast have to fill out a short application form once. You will be redirected to this form when you log in to https://opencast.unibe.ch for the first time.

What remains the same?

  • All your videos, scheduled recordings and live stream will be available after the migration.
  • Videos published in ILIAS will still be accessible on the same path.
  • Ordering process of podcasts & live streams (via KSL or the order form).
  • Upload, edit, cut and watch podcasts and Opencast videos on ILIAS and Opencast.
  • Podcast hardware in the lecture hall
  • Use of SWITCHtube without connection to SWITCHcast or Opencast (until probably the end of 2023)

What is new?

  • Video portal Tobira (only for delivery of podcasts and/or live streams - if publication via ILIAS is not sufficient)
  • Name of the ILIAS object, new: "Video (Opencast Series)"
  • After uploading, lecture recordings now automatically have set markers, suggested by the Opencast software based on the audio track. You can freely adjust or remove these as you wish.

New video portal «Tobira»: Gradual replacement of SWITCHtube.

If you had previously published your SWITCHcast series via SWITCHtube, this publication will now be done through the University of Bern's new video portal ("Tobira", https://tobira.unibe.ch). Under the following link, you will find various instructions, such as where to find the direct link to your series in Tobira in ILIAS or Opencast (https://tobira.unibe.ch/manual, in German). Videos already published via SWITCHcast on SWITCHtube can be accessed through both SWITCHtube and Tobira until September 9, 2022. After that, these videos will only be accessible through Tobira. If you have integrated/embedded such videos on the University of Bern's website or on other websites, you will need to adjust this integration/embedding (Instructions: https://ilias.unibe.ch/goto_ilias3_unibe_file_2494451_download.html, in German).

Unaffected by this transition are SWITCHtube channels and SWITCHtube videos that you have directly created or uploaded to SWITCHtube. The use of SWITCHtube as a standalone video platform will continue to be possible temporarily (expected until the end of 2024), as currently, series cannot be created and videos cannot be uploaded via Tobira. This functionality is expected to be introduced in Tobira in early 2024.

Courses (german)

Upcoming trainings on podcasting, live streaming, and video in education: https://zuw.me/ilub


If you have any questions, or if any problems arise for you as a result of the completed migration, please contact: podcast@unibe.ch

Reasons for podcasts

More and more students of the University of Bern are expressing the wish to have their lectures recorded. In its position paper on Good Teaching, the SUB (Student Representation) also advocates increased availability of podcast recordings. So, what are the advantages of creating and offering podcasts in university teaching? Below, you find a list with eight sound arguments.

1. Podcasts enable effective follow-up and self-directed learning

The learners can listen selectively to those parts of an event that they did not understand for the first time. In this way, podcasts enable self-directed learning at students' own pace. Owing to the rewind and pause functions, students have time to reflect, research, and take notes. Thus, they are able to process the content much more thoroughly than in the classroom lecture. This particularly applies to all students whose native language is not German.

2. Podcasts improve learning success if they are used in a sensible way and as supplements to lecture attendance

Many students value the opportunity to prepare for their exams with the help of podcasts. However, as the first surveys show, this method alone does not lead to improved learning success: only if the podcasts are used as supplements—and not as substitutes—to lecture attendance, an improvement of the examination performance appears to be taking place (see Spaeth-Hilbert, Seufert & Wesner, 2013; study at the University of Manchester, available here from minute 5:30). Therefore, it seems that only the combination of lecture attendance and the use of podcasts for post-session and exam preparation can lead to higher learning success. This fact should be pointed out to the students at the beginning of their lectures.

3. Podcasts fill the gap when either the lecturers or the students are absent

If the lecturer is absent, no lectures are cancelled, as the content of podcasts from previous semesters can still be accessed. Alternatively, these podcasts can also be pre-produced. In this way, the planned content is being processed despite the “missed lecture”, and the learning objectives are achieved. By linking these podcasts to tasks, self-tests, or exercises (e.g. on ILIAS), students are encouraged to become involved in effective learning activities.

Podcasts enable students to take part in lectures even when they cannot attend them due to family or professional obligations, illness, military service, or lack of space in the lecture halls.

4. Owing to the integration in ILIAS, podcasts hardly require any additional effort and can be edited before publication

If you would like to record your lecture, you can apply for a podcast-capable room and activate the option «Podcast» or «Podcast & Live stream» in CTS when registering your lecture. You will then find an Opencast series with the dates of your lecture in your ILAS course short time later. The recording and any live streaming will then occur fully automatically. After the lecture you can edit the recording in your ILIAS course (e.g. cut out breaks) and publish it. The final product is therefore under your control.

5. Podcasts enable interactive event formats in the following semester

Podcasts that have been recorded once and are still up-to-date in terms of content can be used effectively in later semesters. This can be done, for example, by instructing students to use these podcasts to prepare for the attendance phase of the course. As the knowledge transfer now takes place in self-study, theory may be deepened and put into practice in the classroom course. Further questions can be discussed in plenary sessions. Exercises with immediate feedback or cases may be dealt with in smaller groups. What used to happen at home (and often) in isolated individual work is now taking place through social exchange with fellow students and in contact with the lecturers. Detailed information about the teaching scenario "Inverted Classroom" can be found here.

6. Podcasts enable lecturers to enrich and supplement face-to-face events

Contents that cannot be discussed in depth in the classroom may be made available in the form of podcasts. These podcasts can be used, for instance, to ensure that all students have the same level of knowledge before the event begins.

7. Podcasts facilitate the didactic and content-related development of one's teaching activities

Podcasts display and reflect a teaching situation and the lecturer's teaching methods. Consequently, self-evaluation and feedback measures can take place, possibly accompanied by didactic counselling. The team of the Learning and Development Unit will be pleased to support you.

8. Podcasts allow more flexible study models and the integration of people studying at a distance

Owing to the podcasts, knowledge transfer can take place regardless of time and place. As a result, students can decide for themselves when and where they want to listen to a lecture. In addition, it is now possible to involve students living far away in events.

Wiedererkennungsmerkmal "Gute Lehre an der Universität Bern"
Good Teaching University of Berne

Live streaming option

Since September 2021, live streams can be broadcasted from all podcast lecture halls. The transmission of projector screen, lecture hall audio, and any potential camera feed occurs with a delay of approximately 20 seconds, either via ILIAS (standard for lectures) or Tobira. Broadcasting to YouTube is only possible in exceptional cases. In ILIAS, communication with external participants is possible through an integrated chat.

Features of the live stream service

  • Live streams can be ordered identically to lecture recordings (via KSL or using the provided form, see Procedure).
  • A live streamed event is always also recorded. The recording can be edited and published afterwards as usual.
  • Live streams transmitted on Tobira can get embedded on your website. The subsequently published recording appears in the same embedding window.
  • There is no monitoring of the live stream. If the live stream is interrupted, the focus is on securing the parallel recording. A restart of the live stream is not possible.

Further notes

  • In the case of events or conferences, a declaration of consent must be obtained from all speakers. This declaration must not only include the live stream but also the recording and any publication (e.g. on the institute or conference website).
  • In case of breaks, a break slide with reference to the later continuation of the live stream may be useful. Templates for this can be found below.
  • Whenever the spoken word is not suitable for live streaming (e.g., before the event, during breaks), turn off the microphones or set them to «mute».
  • Don't forget to turn the microphones back on after such brakes.
  • If you want to open the live stream on the presentation computer (e.g., to use the integrated chat) make sure to mute the audio of the live stream. Otherwise you risk unpleasant audio feedback.

Way to your lecture recording or live stream

In order to record or live stream a lecture, the room must be equipped with the necessary infrastructure (see «Equipped Rooms»). You should therefore ask for a suitable room when making your room reservation. Alternatively, two sets of mobile podcast equipment can be borrowed for the purpose of recording one-off podcasts.

1. Reservation

You can reserve a podcast-capable room either directly in CTS/KSL when registering your lecture or at one of the decentralized reservation offices.

2. Order a recording / live stream

Two options are provided here. If your event is registered in CTS and you would also like to have an ILIAS course, then activate the option «Podcast» or «Podcast & Live stream» in CTS when registering your lecture. You will then find a «Opencast Series» in your ILIAS course shortly afterwards. In all other cases, please fill out the order form at an early stage. The processing time is 2 working days for a single recording, 5 working days for multiple or repeated recordings.

3. Recording / Live streaming

The recording and an eventual live streaming takes place automatically. When presenting please use the microphone and, if possible, the HDMI port of your notebook for your presentation. Alternatively, we recommend that you take your own adapter to HDMI with you. Live streams will be broadcasted via ILIAS or Tobira (via YouTube only in exceptional cases).

4. Editing

After the recording the videos need to be edited and published (also possible with live streams). You can do this in ILIAS or Tobira a few hours after the end of the lecture. You can cut the recording, remove breaks and add information. The effective publication takes place only after this step and again can take up to several hours.

5. Location of publication

The recordings are published either in your ILIAS course or in Tobira. You specify the location of publication either when ordering the recording or at a later time in ILIAS or Opencast. If you wish to live stream using YouTube, the publication will be on YouTube.

Detailed instructions for the most important steps can be found below.

Ordering process

There are two ways to order a recording or live stream. These depend on whether your lecture is registered in CTS/KSL and whether you would also like an ILIAS course.

Option 1: "Lecture is registered in CTS/KSL, an ILIAS course is desired"

When registering the lecture in CTS, activate the option "Podcast" or "Podcast & Streaming". Before the semester, you will find a Opencast series in your ILIAS course. Here students can access your live streams and/or recordings.

If your course has already been registered in CTS, you can also set the options for podcast or live stream in hindsight. The best way to do this is to send an email to: podcast@unibe.ch

Option 2: "Lecture NOT registered in CTS/KSL or an ILIAS course not desired"

Fill out the appropriate order form for the lecture series or single lectures. The processing time is 2 working days for a single recording, 5 working days for multiple or repeated recordings.

Online form: Lecture series (only in German)

Online form: Single recording (incl. conferences) (only in German)


Report date adjustments

If the date, time or room of your lecture has changed, please let us know by sending an email to podcast@unibe.ch. In order to process your request correctly, we need the full title of your Opencast series.

Cancelling recordings and live streams

If you do not wish to have a recording or live streaming for individual sessions of an event for which a podcast or live stream has been scheduled, please proceed as follows:

  • Faculty of Medicine: Lectures of the study programme Human Medicine which do not get recorded are already marked with (oP) in the title («ohne Podcast»). If other lectures are not to be recorded, please report them to studium@meddek.unibe.ch, at the latest five days before the lecture. By default, all lectures in the academic years 3-6 are recorded.
  • All other faculties:
    • Cancellation of recording series: By switching the option «Podcast & Live stream» in the CTS/KSL course settings to «No» (under «Room Requests») you cancel all recording and live stream dates of a course. After receiving the confirmation e-mail, the scheduled dates can also be deleted in the Opencast series in ILIAS. If you delete only the series, the scheduled dates will remain and will be recorded.
    • Cancellation of individual recordings: No active measures are necessary. Just forgo post-processing and publication, and delete the recording afterwards. Alternatively, you can also delete the unwanted appointment shortly beforehand.

Rooms ready to record and live stream lectures

* = Room camera available to record speaker or blackboard.

Equipped podcast lecture halls
Exact Sciences (ExWi) Mit Wandtafelaufzeichnung: A006*, 099*, B005*, B006*, B007*, 119*
Hallerstrasse 001* (Hallerstr. 12), 020 (Casa Silva, Hallerstr. 6)
Engehalde University 001*, 002*, 111*
Main building 101, 110* (Audimax), 120, 201, 210* (Aula), 220
Plant Sciences (Botanical Garden) 020* (Grosser Hörsaal), 201*
Sports Center (ZSSw) C001* (Note: Currently, recording is only available via the HDMI port and not through VGA)
UniAlhambra 001* (Maulbeerstr. 3)
University Mittelstrasse 124, 224
UniS S003, A-122
University Muesmatt 235 (Studer-Auditorium), 248 (Haller-Auditorium), U113 (DCB), EG16* (DCB), 018 (Aula, GeWo5), 220* (Gemeinschaftshörsaal, GeWo5)
Unitobler F021, F022, F023
Vetsuisse (Animal Hospital area) NLG 001 (Lg 124c), 020 (Bg 109), 115 (Lg 120), 116 (Lg 120), 215 (Lg 124), 303 (Lg 122)
Von Roll area 001*, 003, 004, 102, B101 (F8)
Insel Hospital area HS1* (Kinderklinik: Auditorium Ettore Rossi), HS2* (OPO: Auditorium MEM), Langhans 111, Autopsiehörsaal* (H115, Murtenstr. 31), Mikroskopierhörsaal (H431, Murtenstr. 31), Felix Frey Auditorium (SITEM: E0.211), Plenarsaal 121 SBPE* (Güterstrasse 121)

For more information about the individual listening rooms, see Lecture hall search in KSL.

Expansion of equipped rooms

If there isn‘t a room well equipped near you, please inform the podcast support (podcast@unibe.ch, +41 31 684 31 91). The infrastructure is broadened continuously. 

Mobile equipment for a single podcast

Do you need mobile equipment for a single podcast? The podcast support (podcast@unibe.ch+41 31 684 31 91) provides you with two mobile equipments. This includes all hardware and software required to record podcasts with the Opencast software in a room already fitted with a microphone. If the room does not have a microphone, you can borrow microphones from us. All equipment must be picked up at Hochschulstrasse 6.

You can also borrow various audio and video equipment (e.g. cameras, tripods, USB and wireless microphones, various cables etc.). These can be borrowed free of charge for a limited period of time. Available loan materials can be found on the uni-internal website: http://av-ausleihe.unibe.ch