Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Creating and sharing a convocation experience for family and friends: 360° video and digital download.
Year Submitted 2019
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name / Nom Title / Titre
Patrick Lyons Director, Teaching and Learning
Jeff Cohen Assistant Director, Carleton University Online
Lisa Runge-Faubert Supervisor, Media Production Centre
Matt DiGiuseppe Web Developer and Computer Support Coordinator
Edward Li CUOL Supervisor of IT Operations
Name of Institution Carleton University
Office Address Carleton University, 410 Dunton Tower
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON, Ontario K1S5B6
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Telephone: 6135204433
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Jerry Tomberlin
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Provost and Vice-President Academic
Office Address Carleton University, 503 Tory Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON, Ontario K1S5B6
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Telephone: 6135202600 x. 3884
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Convocation is a great public occasion when a university celebrates its graduates’ accomplishments. It is a commemoration of student’s life at university and an opportunity to share this significant milestone with faculty, peers, family and friends.

For eight years, Carleton University’s Teaching and Learning Services has provided a live stream of convocation for guests who could not attend the ceremonies on campus. Since the introduction of this service (summer 2010), students and their families also had the option of purchasing a DVD copy of the ceremonies as a keepsake. In recent years however, Carleton has made changes to its offerings around convocation to improve its services and enhance the user experience.  
In summer 2016, Carleton launched a digital download initiative to increase accessibility to convocation keepsakes, while rapidly improving the turnaround time and quality of recordings. Carleton built an e-commerce site to host the digital files for both current and archived convocation ceremonies, giving clients the opportunity to pre-order a copy or order one from years past. After purchasing a recording, they are sent personalized links to different quality downloads (1080p, 720p and 480p).

With the introduction of digital downloads, the DVD-based convocation recordings were replaced, creating a much more streamlined process that improved customer service, erased the costs associated with the DVD production and delivery, and reduced production and delivery times to clients. The digital format also means that users can watch the video on a large variety of devices, including computers, TVs, phones or tablets. 

Most recently, in 2018, Carleton began using a 360 camera to record convocation, which allows viewers to select their view of the ceremony as it happens, a feature that was welcomed with acclaim by viewers wanting to focus on a particular graduand. In addition to being able to get a 360-degree view of the ceremony on their mobile phones or computers, users with a virtual reality headset can get a fully immersive experience of convocation. As soon as it was introduced, the 360-degree stream received lots of attention - over three days of convocation ceremonies in summer 2018, more than 3,000 viewers used this service.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

While a number of institutions offer a live stream of their convocation, few institutions offer a digital download of the ceremony to their graduands, family and friends. The service, process, and code that Carleton University has developed for the digital download service is offered freely to any institution that desires implementing it. Recognizing that some institutions may not have the infrastructure and ecommerce processes that Carleton has build, Carleton is prepared to directly help institutions implement a system with technical support, including hosting materials and ecommerce processing on Carleton systems. 

For the 360° immersive video experience, Carleton has learned substantially about this emerging technology – including preparation, production, camera placement, infrastructure, user technical support, and hosting technologies. It is our plan to share our findings via presentations at CANHEIT and Educause.

Quality Impact

Our 360 video and digital download services improve the customer experience in a number of ways. The 360 video allows those who cannot attend the ceremony to focus on a particular graduand and feel like they are right there with them. It helps viewers fully experience the environment and connect with the convocation experience in a meaningful and emotional way. The digital download service provides graduates and their friends and families with digital keepsakes of their convocation ceremony in just a few days. Their downloads are available to them at any time and they cannot be lost or misplaced, like a DVD. Additionally, unlike a DVD, the digital downloads can be viewed across different technological platforms. They are no longer limited to a computer or TV – mobile devices, including tablets and cell phones, can now be used for playback. Carleton University has received positive feedback from graduates and their family and friends on its cutting-edge and user-friendly design and the simplicity of the ordering process. 

Productivity Impact

The system has resulted in reduced workload, production and delivery times. In the past, it used to take staff 2-3 weeks to process the DVDs. Now, with the digital downloads and 360-degree video, the recordings are ready to go in less than one week. And with a digital download, there are no longer any packaging or shipping fees to worry about.

Since Carleton first began offering digital downloads of convocation ceremonies in 2016, we have sold almost 1,100 copies, which were then shared among 4,200 users (once the video is purchased, the downloadable links can be shared with friends and family members, who can decide to download and keep their own copy. These videos were accessed in countries such as India, USA, UAE, Colombia, UK, and Jordan, to name a few). That means that in just two years, we’ve nearly doubled sales from the previous three years of selling DVD recordings.

Supporting documentation



We are the only Canadian university to offer a 360-degree video of convocation and one of a select few universities to offer digital download copies of our convocation ceremonies. We have taken what used to be a long, tedious process and streamlined it to better the experience for both our production staff and the end user. We are now able to offer the service at a lower cost to both the university (in terms of staff time resources), and to the end user (in terms of lower product cost and the elimination of shipping and handling fees). 

The main advantages of the digital downloads and the 360-degree video compared with DVD production include:

  • Speed of sales and delivery – viewers can pre-purchase a copy of the ceremony from their seats. Turnaround time is a matter of days (approximately four) rather than weeks (2-3 week delivery including shipping for DVDs).
  • DVDs have a high failure rate – therefore creating more interruptions with workflow as well as customer returns. A digital video file has far less room for error.
  • DVDs are being phased out – many computers do not have DVD drives anymore, with USB ports taking their place.
  • Lower costs for the clients – DVDs include shipping at $25 per ceremony while the digital downloads cost just $15 plus tax and have no shipping costs. 
  • As convocation lasts a few days, clients can now download a free PDF file of each convocation program to determine which ceremony they wish to download.
  • 360-degree video increases viewers’ engagement and allow them to focus on content that is most important to them.