We Need Your Feedback on Panopto

From confusing control panels to expensive hardware, recording a lecture can go from a nice way to extend the classroom to an IT horror show in short order. While Northwestern has support in place to try to avoid the worst, it’s not always possible.

So, what can we do to fix this? Try something new! Enter Panopto – a cloud-based video lecture capture tool for training, teaching, and presenting that allows for easy recording and webcasting as well as the management of video content. It makes recording or sharing your videos easier than ever. Panopto also uses your computer or the room’s computer to record, so there’s no cost involved. Best of all, the software was designed by faculty at Carnegie Mellon to simplify and improve the user experience.

Here’s a quick list of Panopto’s features:  
  • It is easy to install, works on both Windows and Mac. 
  • Supports multi-camera video capture to record the instructor, the content of the screen, a document camera, a digital whiteboard, and more.
  • Provides the ability to transmit live and on-demand video streams over the Internet, or record and store them for on-demand viewing by students from a web browser.
  • Add time-coded notes to videos so it’s easy to quickly get the information you need. 
  • Includes a cloud-based video content management system for uploading, managing and sharing all your video files.
  • Comes with built-in video analytics, a web-based video editor, automatic encoding to ensure your videos play efficiently on any device.
  • Panopto can be integrated into any Canvas course. The integration allows videos to be uploaded directly to any course site.
How’s it being used around Northwestern?

During this past fall quarter, Professors Ross Sweet and Nick Marchuk of the McCormick School of Engineering did some preliminary evaluation for Northwestern Information Technology. Prof. Marchuk found Panopto useful to address a recurring problem with his intro-level course – he found himself constantly answering the same few questions.

Now Prof. Marchuk uses Panopto to record short explanatory videos for each frequent question and uses the in-browser editor to make a single FAQ video that’s easy to update each time a new question rises in popularity. He is also able to add a time-coded bookmark so it’s easy to tell where each question begins (and prevents searching the video to find only the content one needs).

View the example video below: 

Says Prof. Marchuk of its benefit, “A system like Panopto gives me the flexibility to take lecture videos I've made with the Lightboard, or webcam videos of office hours, and quickly get them on Canvas for student access. It’s easy to manage the files and for the students to find and search the them than if uploaded to YouTube or just posting an mp4.

“The stats collected by Panopto (see screenshot below for example) also gives me insight about which videos are most watched, and whether they are being watched in their entirety or just skimmed. In addition, the notes feature lets me leave more information, like URLs I might have mentioned, or to clarify or fix mistakes I made while recording.”

Example of video statistics report in Panopto

How can I try it?

Accounts are free. Register here: https://northwestern.hosted.panopto.com with your NetID and password. Simply click on the purple “Sign In” button in the top right corner (see screenshot below), change the dropdown option next to “Sign in using” to NU ADFS, and then login with your NetID when redirected to the single sign-on page. That's it – your account has been created.

How to access your free Panopto account

Once you’re logged in, in the right-hand corner of the page there’s a button to “Download Panopto.” Do this first to get your desktop ready. From then on, whenever you want to record a new video, just click the icon and Panopto will open on your desktop and sync to your cloud account.

The Canvas integration is a quick process, but needs to be done manually on a case-by-case basis during the pilot. All you need to do is shoot us an email with the course name(s) and information and we’ll add it to the course(s) within one business day. 

At the end of the Winter Quarter we will send all registered users a short survey to ask for your opinion about the Panopto. Please tell us what you think as your feedback is critical to understand if the tools we pilot at Northwestern Information Technology are meeting your needs!

See Panopto’s page in the Digital Learning Resource Hub for more information.