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Massive streaming of classes could lead to problems: not all at the same time

The Centre for Information Technology (CIT) is advising lecturers not to livestream classes through P2Go. If too many students click on a livestream at once, it can potentially lead to network failures.

After a year of online education, the CIT’s advice at the start of the new academic year is singular, to say the least. Everything worked out last year, didn’t it? ‘Actually, not really’, says Louwarnoud van der Duim, head of educational support at the CIT.

Teaching completely online was fine, says Van der Duim. But a hybrid form, where a lecturer is in the classroom, teaching some students in person while livestreaming to others, hasn’t been used a lot. ‘Last year we learned that P2GO has limited capacity for this.’

Simultaneously

Problems could for example occur when too many classes would want to stream simultaneously. ‘It’s possible the server won’t be able to handle it. This would happen when too many students would try to get on the stream at once.’

How many students it would take for the network to fail, Van der Duim doesn’t know offhand. ‘But if we look at how many classrooms could potentially stream at once, and how many students would be watching those streams, it’s clearly a potential problem for the system.’

In order to prevent problems, the CIT advises lecturers to record their classes rather than livestream them. ‘If they do so, the recording will be made available the same day so lecturers can share them with students’, says Van der Duim.

When the capacity issues will be solved remains unclear for now. The university started a tender for this before summer.

Nederlands

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Nederlands