• Education

6 Things You Should Know When Purchasing Your First Video Platform

Are you tired of juggling multiple video tools and struggling to keep up with the demands of modern education? Managing video content for your institution can be overwhelming, but choosing the right video management system (VMS) can make all the difference in achieving your institution’s learning goals. 

In our 2023 Video Trends in Higher Education Report, we surveyed global education leaders to uncover the latest insights on video usage and VMS satisfaction criteria. The findings are clear: on-demand video is set to play a crucial role in higher education’s flexible learning strategy. An impressive 83.8% of university leadership consider student learning outcomes as important or extremely important when adopting asynchronous video.

But how can you effectively support asynchronous video at your institution? In our webinar on What You Should Know as a First-Time VMS Buyer, leaders in educational technology from Panopto and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) share why a VMS is integral to on-demand video success, the key features of an effective VMS, and answer all the questions you’ve ever had about video. 

Say goodbye to fragmented tools and shared drives that lack security, waste time, and hinder accessibility for students who rely on flexible learning. Discover the key things you should know when purchasing your first video platform. It’s time to take your institution’s video content to the next level.

1. Determine faculty needs and get buy-in

When it comes to purchasing a video platform, the first crucial step is to determine faculty needs and obtain their buy-in. UNLV took this approach when embarking on the process of selecting a video platform for the first time. The team recognized the importance of involving faculty members from the start and giving them a voice in the decision-making process. By allowing faculty to express their needs and expectations, UNLV not only ensured that the chosen platform would meet their requirements but also fostered a sense of ownership and investment among the faculty. 

“When we started this whole process and got our faculty involved, we gave them the floor and said, ‘What do you need out of this?’” says Andy Borts, Senior Instructional Technology Support Specialist at UNLV. “That’s what was a big contributing factor to not just selecting Panopto, but also allowing it to evolve.”

“People around here get really excited when hearing about the next roadmap and what’s coming up next. It’s been a really great experience and it’s only as good as you make it.” says Borts. “Getting everybody on board with it is the first major hurdle. And we’ll all exhibit success out of that from there.”

In addition to involving faculty in the decision-making process, it is also essential to present the value added by the video platform to the faculty members. “If you show the ease with which you can learn and have the good documentation to do it, that makes it a lot easier if they can go and refresh things on time and immediately,” says Mark Kasselhut, Senior e-Learning Technology Manager at UNLV.

Overcoming resistance to adopting a new video platform may require reframing the way faculty members think about its impact on traditional classroom attendance. 

“Instead of thinking about [students] not coming to class, why not give them a resource to be able to use so that they can still keep up and then they won’t have to knock on your office door and spend 45 minutes with you to try and catch up on everything that they missed?” says Borts. 

“You have dedicated students who really want to learn and if you give them another avenue to pursue that opportunity – to be able to learn, keep up, and show their dedication – it really does make an impact on the product that they are receiving with the tuition they pay and the time they devote to it.”

2. Understand the importance of managing content access

It’s important to structure the VMS in a way that aligns with your instructional goals and ensures proper content management. “Students can’t access Panopto [on their own]. It has to be structured as an assignment or instruction as some participation,” says Kasselhut. “So it’s not an open platform for students – I just want to clarify that if anybody’s concerned about that.”

Permissions play a vital role in managing student access. It is essential to establish appropriate permission settings to control who can access and interact with the videos.You have to set expectations for the permissions and make sure people understand that the content is only editable and viewable by the people that you expressly grant those permissions to,” says Alethea Inns, Associate Instructional Technology Support Specialist at UNLV. “Understanding how permissions are inherited and how that all interacts and works is really important. Also, understanding how instructors will organize and share that content out.”

By structuring the platform in this manner, UNLV ensures that students engage with the video content in a purposeful and organized way, promoting effective learning outcomes and maintaining the integrity of the instructional process.

In addition to maintaining controlled access, implementing a well-defined folder structure is crucial for managing content within a video platform. By establishing a logical and intuitive folder structure, faculty members can easily navigate and locate specific videos within the platform. This organization enhances the overall user experience, streamlines the search process, and enables effective content sharing and collaboration among instructors and students. “It’s not a tool you just share out widely, and that sets how you’re going to set up the folders and the internal structure of it,” says Inns.

3. Educate faculty about the benefits and provide the right training and support

Educating faculty about the benefits of implementing a video content management solution is crucial for successful adoption and utilization. “People need to know about the tool, right? But they also need to know what it does and the benefits,” says Inns. “So they need to have the awareness and you need to build that awareness.”

Provide resources that make it easy for instructors to communicate instructions and expectations to students. This approach not only simplifies the user experience but also enables students and faculty members to maximize the benefits of the VMS in their teaching, learning, and administrative activities.

“Making sure everything is clear and understandable,” says Inns. “We have flow charts for permissions, we have flow charts for content, we use best practices, and we also have templates for our LMS courses. Instructors can just copy and paste what we’ve provided and students know how to create an assignment since all of those details are there for them.”

Training and documentation are essential components of educating users about the benefits of a VMS enabling them to create and utilize video content independently. “Training and documentation are essential because you want to empower people to use the tool successfully. You want to give them the ability to create on their own,” says Inns.

4. Implement a content retention policy 

It’s no secret, people want to keep everything they make. That’s why implementing a content retention policy is crucial when purchasing a VMS for the first time. This involves establishing clear guidelines regarding how long video content should be retained, with the aim to strike a balance between preserving valuable content and managing storage efficiently.

“One of the things that is a very good best practice when first even dabbling into [a VMS], is seeing what the retention policy options are and making sure to come to a consensus with faculty about what a good happy medium is,” says Borts. 

UNLV has implemented a content retention policy where videos that have not been viewed or modified within a two-year period are moved to an archive state. After an additional two years in the archive, the content is deleted. This four-year window allows sufficient time for content review and preservation. “It’s nice to be able to have that set up early just to make sure that boundary is established,” says Borts. “Then it’s not a surprise to people when it’s time to actually click the little button to activate [the retention policy] for campus.” 

Having a content retention policy in place not only enhances the organization and management of the video library but also empowers faculty and students. UNLV acknowledges the value of a structured retention policy to ensure that video content is appropriately stored, reviewed, and preserved. By establishing clear guidelines on how long videos should be retained, UNLV can effectively manage its video learning resources.

5. Establish how the VMS will work with existing technology 

When purchasing a VMS for the first time, it is crucial to establish how it will work with your existing technology. “Understanding how the content management is going to work with the classroom equipment and the needs of the classroom space is incredibly critical,” says Borts. 

UNLV conducted evaluations to determine the compatible appliances that could be used for recording. The university started with Seneca appliances certified by Panopto and explored other hardware options such as Matrox boxes. By experimenting with different hardware, UNLV identified the advantages, quality, and suitability of each option. 

“We’ve been just experimenting a little bit further with other hardware because our classrooms, fortunately, can accommodate those kinds of things,” says Borts. “It affords us the chance to say, are there any advantages to one or the other? Is there any superiority in quality?” This approach allowed them to make informed decisions about the hardware that best complemented their classrooms and met the faculty’s needs.

Additionally, UNLV explored the use of Crestron Control, which provided valuable features for scheduled recordings. “It allowed somebody who had scheduled a recording in advance to be able to look at the touch panel by pressing a button and figure out how much time they have left,” says Borts. They gave them the option to pause, stop or extend the recording if they wanted to.” It also offered the flexibility to record on-the-fly without relying solely on scheduled recordings.

“We did find a lot of use out of it. Once the bugs got worked out it’s working very, very seamlessly now,” says Borts.

Integration between the VMS and an institution’s chosen LMS plays a vital role in user adoption and ease of use. “The interface between Canvas and Panopto, it’s very seamless,” says Inns. “We understand that level of technology fatigue that people are a little hesitant about. [The integration ensures that a VMS] just doesn’t feel like another tool that I have to learn.”

By leveraging the familiarity of Canvas and providing comprehensive documentation, UNLV ensures that the learning curve is minimal, making it easier for faculty and students to embrace and utilize Panopto directly. “Everything is in Canvas. If you’re already in that space and if you’re already making YouTube videos, it’s basically the same,” says Inns. “It’s not like there’s a huge [amount] left to learn. And if you have good documentation, you’re good to go.”

6. Implement a pilot program

Implementing a pilot program when purchasing a new technology like a VMS is a vital approach to ensure a smooth transition and effective adoption. UNLV followed this strategy by conducting a small pilot program before fully introducing Panopto. During the pilot phase, a select group of users had access to the system, allowing them to test its functionalities and provide valuable feedback. This approach enabled the university to identify any potential issues, fine-tune the system’s settings, and gain hands-on experience in managing the platform. By starting with a pilot program, institutions can build confidence and familiarity with the technology, which is crucial for successful implementation.

“I’d recommend that pilot program,” says Kasselhut. “Just so you’re comfortable with the settings, managing the system, and figuring out a way to get requests in and so on. We realize everybody’s different and [may] have small or high staffing levels and usage of tools.”

A key aspect of implementing a pilot program is ensuring adequate support for all users, no matter their knowledge level. “We started out with a small pilot group just to kind of make sure that folks who were eager about using the tool could help folks who were either a little timid about it or just had no idea where to start,” says Borts.

Through a pilot program, institutions can gather valuable insights, make necessary adjustments, and establish best practices before rolling out the technology campus-wide. By starting with a pilot program, institutions can mitigate risks, ensure a smoother implementation, and maximize the benefits of the video platform.


Investing in a VMS for your institution is a significant step towards enhancing teaching and learning experiences. Armed with the right knowledge, you can make an informed decision and ensure a successful implementation of your first video platform.

At Panopto, we understand the significance of a smooth transition and the potential of a video platform to revolutionize education. That’s why we’re here to support you every step of the way. Let us assist you in making an informed decision, selecting the right solution, and unlocking the full potential of a video platform that will elevate your institution’s educational experiences. Together, we can navigate this transition and set your institution on a path to success.


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