Panopto is Here!

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.
What’s it look like?

Nick Marchuk of the McCormick School of Engineering did some preliminary evaluation of Panopto for Northwestern Information Technology. Prof. Marchuk found it useful as a tool to address recurring questions in his intro-level Mechatronics course, creating a single FAQ video that’s easy to update each time a new question rises in popularity. He’s also able to add time-coded bookmarks so it’s easy to tell where each question begins (and prevents searching the video to find only the content one needs).

View an example video below: 

What do people say about it?

Testers were recruited to test all aspects of the Panopto experience – from desktop lecture capture to in-room recording to setting up an online video repository for existing media content – and the reaction to Panopto at Northwestern has been overwhelmingly positive from all stakeholders. For the schools currently without access to a lecture capture software like Mediasite, the service is a welcome addition. At the end of the pilot, all faculty, staff, and student users were surveyed. Select quotes from that survey can be found below:

  • “The ease of use has high value for students who can watch at their own pace and on their own schedule.”
  • “I am able to pause during a lecture if the professor moves too fast or go back and review lectures that I do not understand as well. If I miss a class, then I am able to make sure that I do not fall behind.”
  • “Panopto is great. It has a lot of features that have proven to be very helpful, including its video editor and video player. Students like the easy picture in picture quality and searching functions. Embedded quizzes and analytics are also nice. Also really like being able to share and collaborate across the university with faculty and other staff.”
Use Panopto Today

Accounts are free. Register here 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.

Panopto is integrated into every Canvas course but hidden by default. To enable it, you’ll need to go to the "Settings" tab on the left-hand nav of our individual Canvas courses, select the "Navigation" tab, and drag the Panopto item from the hidden bottom section to the visibile top section. Once you save the page, Panopto will be enabled in your course. 

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