About VITAL

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VITAL was decommissioned in 2013. The platforms used to run VITAL became untenable to support and the software was turned off in July 2013. The project was funded by an five-year grant from the NSF in 2003. Many of the features in VITAL have been ported to a new project called Mediathread.

Video Interactions for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) was a web-based video analysis and communication system created by CCNMTL and Professor Herbert Ginsburg of Teachers College, Columbia University. VITAL comprised tools for editing and annotating video and for writing "multimedia essays" with text and video, embedding video into an online course syllabus, and housing the student work within a community space where instructors and peers could review published materials within the system and build up a personal repository of video and written content. Students who used VITAL learned to observe closely, interpret what they saw, and develop arguments using cited video content as evidence.

The VITAL environment afforded a number of benefits:

  • The persistent accessibility of video illustrating key concepts, which students could view as often as they wish;
  • A personal workspace that enabled students to identify and isolate material, to pinpoint precise moments in the videos, take notes, and save their work; and
  • Analytic exercises that required students to develop arguments and support those arguments by citing evidence from selected video clips and references made to class readings.

VITAL demonstration

Examples of How VITAL Was Used in the Classroom

To illustrate how faculty integrated VITAL into their teaching, CCNMTL documented a series of use cases from the disciplines in which VITAL was most actively used: Teacher Education, Clinical Practice, and the Arts.

VITAL Users
Beyond Columbia University and its affiliates, VITAL was deployed at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY), Georgia State University, the Hunter College School of Education (CUNY), Rutgers-Newark, Vanderbilt University, and the University of San Diego. VITAL NSF website.

VITAL Code
The Java-based iteration of the VITAL codebase was released under the Educational Community License, Version 2.0. A VITAL project page has been created in the Google code repository that provides details for the VITAL project. This repository was managed by former VITAL developers Eddie Rubeiz, Schuyler Duveen, Eric Mattes and Gordon Campbell.

This site provides:

  • A history of the VITAL project
  • How VITAL was utilized in various courses
  • Examples from several disciplines
  • An overview of the VITAL Web application
  • Information about obtaining VITAL's succcessor tool, also created at CCNMTL, called Mediathread