YouTube embeds just got a little more clear

A few years ago we added the ability to embed a screenshot from a YouTube video through the CMS editor. This alleviated the need to take a screenshot, edit with software to add the play button, and then finally uploading it to the web server to embed it into a page or an email. With one click, pasting the url of the video a screenshot of the video can automatically be generated and embedded into a page.

But there was a problem

YouTube play buttonThe default YouTube play button at the time was a red rectangle which does call a lot of attention and allows users to immediately identify what will happen when they click the image. It became a problem over time as more of our videos (especially now that we can upload a custom still photo as the default screenshot) became people with a YouTube play button head:


New YouTube play buttonWe are happy to announce the play button graphic has been swapped out with a more transparent version that equally emphasizes the screenshot and the fact that the image will link to a YouTube video.

Now at a glance you can see the details in screenshot while still still understanding the link will bring the you to a YouTube video.

How to use the YouTube screenshot button in the CMS:

YouTube Preview

Captioned Videos playing on Digital Signs around Campus


Captioned WSU VideoYou may notice the use of some of Wayne State’s YouTube videos, come up on the digital signs around campus.  We are “peppering” them in, along side our default news, events and promos that run on the screens.  Most of the screens don’t have the capacity to play sound, so we have enabled captioning to play along with the video.  As of now, we are playing them in select buildings for faculty and staff.  Keep a look out for more videos to be put into the rotation in the future, on more of our signs.


Realign: One Minute Scholar

Due to circumstances beyond our control the previous site named One Minute Professor website is now called One Minute Scholar.  We gave the site a visual overhaul, changing the background and elements on the site to a more classroom/lab look to better fit the content.

The premise is the same, our own Wayne State University scientific gurus explaining some of the world’s greatest mysteries, with a one minute video.  Some of the topics covered are “Brain Freeze”,  static electricity and how a taser gun works.  Our professors are hard at work solving more mysteries, one minute at a time with more to come.

The videos are supposed to be quirky and interesting to junior high and high school students. They are all hosted on YouTube but pulled into the site as a continuous series. Most of the videos are inspired by user generated topic suggestions so we wanted to ensure the suggest button has enough prominence.

Don’t forget to Suggest A Topic and check out the new look at

Office Experiment: Mold Test

Since we work in a “pit” environment when one person gets sick we try to separate them from the rest of the group. Recently though a few people have been getting sick more often than normal. We decided to investigate by having the Office of Environmental Health and Safety come out to test the air. They came out but were only going to test the dust in the air. We were looking for mold.

So Tom purchased a do-it-yourself mold test kit. The test was simple: put a petri dish by a vent for 15 minutes and then wait 48 hours. It was Friday so it could sit all weekend but we were sad we couldn’t watch its progress. Luckily, Jenn had a webcam and we hooked it up to take a picture every minute. The webcam was kinda crappy so the the video/images came out pretty blurry. Also we had a light on it that caused some condensation.

Time lapse video of mold sample

What happens next

Now that we have this sample we are sending it in for analysis. As you can see from the picture below the mold has begun to grow legs. We are very interested to learn what we are breathing in. As soon as we get the results we will be sure to update everyone.

Aim Higher Commercials – Round 2

The next round of Aim Higher commercials started yesterday. The goal of the new commercials is to expand on the existing look, feel and add more depth to the Wayne State University message. There are six commercials in total, Class Pride, Ironic, Odds Are, Real Learning, Welcome and Decisions.

Although the commercials don’t have a direct connection to the web they are still posted to YouTube so I thought I would share.

Class Pride

View all the Aim Higher videos on YouTube.

Site Launch: Aim Higher for Students Campaign

Aim Higher for Students Web site

Along side the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs Web site we also launched the newest giving campaign, Aim Higher for Students. The idea is simple, show how much a gift can help a student’s life. Even the smallest gift can make a big difference. Students who might have otherwise had to drop out or go part time or even not start at all are the primary focus.

The goal of this site is to show how giving a little can mean a great deal. The lives you impact will return the favor ten fold in the end. This campaign for students goes beyond the brick and mortar, it shows the true generational impact of gifts to the university.

The centerpiece of the site is a video produced with real students who have received scholarships. In addition impacting quotes and images reinforce how their lives have been changed.

Although there isn’t a lot of pages to the site the goal is simple, push a prospective donor over the edge and get them to donate even just a little, it will not only make them feel good inside but also impact the lives of students they have never met.

The colors and design are simple for a reason, nothing fancy is required to get a simple message across. Real students need your help and it does not take that much effort to extend your hand.

Check out the site and video at

New Branded YouTube Channel


We just upgraded our YouTube channel to the beta version and added our own style. We have had a YouTube channel for a while but just recently we decided to take the plunge into the beta format. So far so good, we really like how smooth the interface is.

Whats different in beta?

  • Complete reorganization of item placement
  • Compact uploads, favorites and playlists
  • AJAX style video switching
  • Cleaner header and subscribe button
  • Even more at the YouTube beta blog

Adding our own style

Making use of the customization options we added a background and overall style that fit the newest branding of the university. The new W is also prominently featured on the channel home and the video player.

Always looking for videos

We are always looking for videos to be included in our channel. Since we are part of the YouTube EDU group they no longer limit our videos to 10 minutes in length. This gives us a large opportunity to post full lectures, speakers and events.

If your department has a video you want posted or featured we would be happy to work with you to determine the best route for it. Just drop us a line at and we can go from there.