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Delivering Free Live Streamed Content in Axis LMS

In this article, we will be setting up live streaming using YouTube and Axis LMS.

In addition to having a YouTube account, and Axis LMS, you will need to select a streaming 'encoder' (though, we'll mostly refer to it as a streaming 'software' throughout this article).

Setting Up Your Streaming Software
The first step to streaming is finding a software that you are comfortable with, and is compatible with your Operating System.

For the duration of this article, we'll be referencing the "OBS" software, as it is accessible from both Windows and Mac Operating Systems. To see the different options in streaming softwares, check out some lists here and here (but this article discusses setting up the OBS software).

Using the image above as reference, you'll see five different sections below the display space:
  • Scenes
  • Sources
  • Mixer
  • Scene Transitions
  • Controls
This article won't go into great detail for every section - just the ones which are relevant to getting set up: Scenes, Sources, and Controls.

You'll begin by adding a new Scene (by clicking the + Symbol) and giving it a name. For purposes of setting up, your work with Scenes is done.

Now you'll need to add a Source. Left click your newly added Scene once - this should leave you with an empty "Sources" section. Add a new Source to the scene, and select where the input should come from. The most common would be:
  • Display Capture: for capturing a certain area of your Desktop
  • Video Capture Device: for displaying from a web cam
  • Window Capture: for capturing from a specific window you have open
Each Source you add to the display can then be moved around by dragging them on the (previously) empty canvas. They can also be individually hidden by clicking the eye icon, and re-layered using the up and down arrows.

We'll come back to the Controls later - for now, become familiar with your Streaming software, and make sure you're displaying the content you want to; and that you know how to hide, reposition, and change your inputs before considering taking your stream live.

Setting up your Streaming Service
With your Streaming software set up, now it's time to plug it into a streaming service. The two most popular are YouTube and Twitch - each have their pros and cons; but for this article, we'll go over using YouTube.

If you already have a YouTube account, you'll want to go here then select the "Go Live" button in the top right of the page. If you don't already have a YouTube account, you can sign up for one here.

After selecting the "Go Live button", you should see the YouTube "Creator Studio" on the left.

Make sure you are within the "Stream Now" area, then scroll to the bottom of the page until you see the "Encoder Setup" block. Copy both pieces of information onto a clipboard, and go back to your OBS software to plug them in. This will only need to be done once, and then it is set for future streams.
    In addition to the reminders issued by YouTube, we'd also like to remind you to keep your stream keys PRIVATE- they are for YOUR EYES ONLY. Anyone with this key can stream to your YouTube account.
From your OBS software, select "Settings" from your Controls section, and switch to the "Stream" area.

Switch the "Stream Type" dropdown to "Custom Streaming Server" and plug in both pieces of information from the YouTube Encoder Setup - "Server URL" into OBS's "URL" section, and "Stream name/key" into OBS's "Stream key"

Starting Your Stream
With Your Streaming Software and Streaming Service setup and communicating with one another, you are ready to take your stream live.

To do this, you'll want to begin inside of OBS, and selecting the "Start Recording" button from under the "Controls" section.

Now you're Live. You can stop your stream at any point by clicking the "Stop Streaming" option from inside your Streaming Software.

Embedding into Axis LMS
Return to your YouTube channel by clicking the hamburger button in the top left of the Studio Editor, and clicking "My Channel"

Switch to your Videos tab, where your live stream should appear as the top leftmost video. After selecting the video, click on the "Share" text above the "Analytics" button. When the share menu appears, click on the "Embed" option, and copy the HTML code from the Embed Video menu.

With the Embed code copied to your Clipboard, go into your Axis LMS system.

You can place this link anywhere in your system for users to access. For this example, we will create a trackable web object.

Setting up Axis LMS Trackable Learning Object for Stream
Create a new Learning Object (Learning > Online Courses > Learning Objects > Add), and create a new Web Object of the type "Other / Embed Code".

Paste the code you've copied from YouTube into the text block. Save your changes, and preview your Learning Object. After you've tested that you're seeing your stream (or a placeholder if you've already stopped streaming), you're ready to add it into your Course like you would any other piece of content, like a Quiz or Survey.

After you've concluded your stream, YouTube does a small service for you, and converts your stream into a privately listed video on your channel. Depending on how you want your stream to work after wrapping up, you may want to take an additional action.

By keeping the video on your channel, the learning object that you added to your Axis LMS can now act as a replay of your stream; anyone who may have missed the live stream can see this recording.

If you do not want this recording, you will have to go into your YouTube videos, and manually remove it.
The features discussed in this article may or may not be available on your LMS system.
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