Northwest University has been educating students from its campus of fifty-six wooded acres overlooking Lake Washington and the city of Seattle since 1934. And since 2008, the school has proudly included video lecture capture as part of its pedagogy.
According to school officials, the ability to record, edit, share and manage class recordings is something that teachers and students alike appreciated almost instantly following the school’s lecture capture technology rollout.
Now after five years and thousands of hours of video recording, the benefits of video on campus are more apparent—and widespread—than ever. While Northwest may have brought video on campus as a lecture capture tool, its quickly become essential for a variety of other needs.
Still one of the most valuable ways the university uses Panopto today is to ensure that students who have to miss a class period don’t also have to miss the class.
With Panopto, students who are absent are able to see the lecture in its entirety. Traveling athletes, ill students, and others who may need to miss classes no longer need to scramble to obtain course material, and can watch lectures online at their convenience.
And it’s not just the lecture they can view. PowerPoint slides and other multimedia are integrated into the video and synced automatically with the lecture to truly mimic the classroom experience. They can even search lecture text and take notes on the material directly within the Panopto interface, allowing them to focus more closely on areas of interest.
It’s not just absent and remote students that benefit from Panopto, though. Students appreciate the ability to access course content anytime, anywhere.
Prior to Panopto, many students had come to rely on using personal audio recorders to capture lectures, allowing them to study for tests, write papers and revisit complicated material. However, not every student had an audio recorder, and even those who did could still miss critical information presented visually on PowerPoint slides, on whiteboards or in class demonstrations.
With Panopto in place, the stress of capturing every last possible detail of each lecture was eliminated. Instead, students can focus on the central ideas of the discussion, internalizing the material more effectively.
“Now if students don’t catch something, they can go back and review it,” said Lynette Sorenson, Education Technologist at Northwest University. “One of our students told me that he had begun simply leaving space in his class notes when he felt that he had to stop and listen to what the professor was saying, as he knew that he could listen to the recording to fill in the notes that he missed.”
Prior to Panopto, students and faculty tended to communicate along familiar lines: raised hands, written assignments, and an occasional office hours visit.
With Panopto in place, students have a new interactive communication tool that can record their work—presentations, responses to discussion topics, even open questions—and share them with their teachers or their classmates using the class’s Panopto dropbox.
Student video helps bring remote students into the classroom, and opens the floor for those who might not be comfortable speaking up in class. Better still are the assignments, when video can supplement or replace the traditional written assignment with more engaging, interactive options like demonstrations, role play, interviews, and more.
At Northwest, Panopto has become more than a solution for students—professors now benefit from using the technology, too. Teachers all across the Northwest campus have begun using the system to help them creatively resolve the inherent challenges of teaching.
Along with capturing their lectures, Northwest professors have found a number of thoughtful ways to do more with video. One has adopted a “flipped classroom” model, recording video for students to view outside of class, thereby supplementing her lectures and freeing up class time for discussion and interactive learning. Another professor records answers to questions she hears repeatedly from students, reducing the amount of time she spends answering them in precise detail.
Professors can even use Panopto as a tool to hone their teaching skills, reviewing recorded lectures to more clearly see what activities spark engagement with their students, or where they may be missing opportunities to drive home key ideas.
Although lecture capture, distance learning, and video-enhanced classrooms were of primary importance to Northwest, there was a fifth benefit, too—one that school administrators did not at first anticipate.
“After we rolled out Panopto, we were a little surprised to see the enthusiasm it generated among our students,” reported Sorenson. We soon discovered that our student volunteers who give tours to prospective new admissions and their parents were talking about Panopto and the difference it’s made in their education.”
Such discussions weren’t scripted (Panopto hadn’t even been considered as a differentiator for new and prospective students), but were organic and spontaneous, arising from the excitement of the students over this innovative aspect of their education.
It wasn’t one of the original reasons the school adopted a video platform—but it was a nice surprise.
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