| VITAL: Student User Guide

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This is a student user-guide for Video Interactions for Teaching and Learning. After a Columbia University faculty member has created a VITAL environment, students can use this guide to learn how to use VITAL.

Set Up

  1. You will need a high-speed connection (campus, DSL, or cable) to use VITAL. Any web browser except Safari will work. (Mozilla Firefox is an excellent browser for both Windows and Mac. Download Firefox at http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/.)
  2. You will need the current version of QuickTime (at least version 7). Download at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.
  3. Go to VITAL: http://vital.ccnmtl.columbia.edu
  4. Log in with your Columbia UNI, or, if not a Columbia affiliate, your VITAL username and password. You will be taken directly to your course, unless you are currently enrolled in more than one course using VITAL, in which case you'll be given a choice.


  1. View a topic by clicking the "+" sign next to it.
  2. View videos by clicking the video title or thumbnail image, which will launch the video viewer.

Creating Video Clips and Essays

  1. Create video clips by clicking "Set start" and "Set end" during the video. Title your clips. You may also add notes and/or tags, which may make it easier to find them later. You will be able to embed these clips in any of your essays. After you save a clip, it will appear on the right side of the video viewer. Clips can be edited and/or deleted.
    # Begin your essay by clicking the title of the assignment. You may choose to write and save your essays in Word and then paste them into the VITAL text area, or compose them within VITAL. Remember to use the "Save Draft" button.
  2. Embed a video clip by clicking the film icon () to place a clip wherever the cursor is located in the essay, or you can drag the icon to where you want it to appear. Use cut/copy and paste to move the clip within the essay. It will not be clickable while the essay is in edit mode.
  3. Submit your essay by clicking the "Submit" button. Once you do so, the instructor will be able to read your essay, as well as any classmates who have also completed their own essays. You cannot undo your submission.
  4. Share and discuss. VITAL is intended as a platform for sharing ideas. When you have completed your essay, feel free to read others'.

If you have trouble getting VITAL to work on your computer, consult the help documentation (link in the upper right hand corner of the VITAL homepage), or submit a question or problem using the "Report Problems" link (also in the upper right corner).