• Academic Technology

Blended Learning with Panopto

We recently posted a presentation to SlideShare with a brief overview of Panopto for academic institutions. This blog post is meant to accompany that deck, providing additional background and information on how Panopto can be used for lecture capture, flipping the classroom, and more.


Panopto began as a graduate school project in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science. The original goal of the project was to record lectures at CMU and make them available on-demand to students who were unable to attend class due to physical disabilities. Following the internal launch of the project, its use expanded at CMU and, based on its success, was subsequently adopted by University of Pittsburgh.

In 2007, the project was spun out of CMU as part of the university’s technology transfer program. Since then, Panopto has grown to become one of the leading providers of blended learning software – currently used in more than 500 universities and 80,000 classrooms around the world to record lectures, flip classrooms, live stream campus events, record faculty training, capture student presentations, and more.

From the start, one of the design principles of Panopto was to dramatically simplify the lecture recording process. The software was built to run on any Windows or Mac laptop and to work with just about any type of video and audio recording device. This enables Panopto to function as effectively in small classrooms and in faculty offices as it does in large lecture halls and auditoriums.

As a learning tool, Panopto is meant to “fade into the background” so that faculty and staff can focus on teaching rather than on the technology. The big red RECORD button makes lecture capture a one-click process, and automated recording enables a hands-free lecture capture experience. In addition, Panopto automatically ingests all of the content on PowerPoint slides during a lecture, enabling students to search inside lecture videos for key topics covered in class.

Panopto was also built with a great deal of flexibility to capture any type of lecture or presentation regardless of the logistical setup. Multi-camera and distributed recording allows institutions to capture and live stream multiple camera angles, computer monitors, and other video sources simultaneously – without the need for specialized AV mixers, video signal converters, and other equipment that can add cost and complexity.

Once a lecture has been recorded, it’s automatically uploaded into Panopto’s video content management system – a “university YouTube” that securely stores recordings and integrates with popular learning management systems. Every video is converted so that it can be viewed by students on any PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. Panopto includes native iPhone and iPad apps that make the mobile viewing experience interactive, with the ability to easily search across a video library and inside lectures for words shown on slides or mentioned by the lecturer.

Outside of the classroom, Panopto makes it easy to flip your classroom. Faculty can record microlectures from any PC, Mac , iPhone or iPad, and automatically upload them to the university’s video library. Schools like Butler, Eastern Michigan, and Stonehill College are using Panopto in various departments to improve the learning experience through a flipped class approach.

Whether it’s used as a traditional lecture recording tool or as a way to flip classrooms, Panopto has been shown to have a positive impact on student engagement and achievement. In 2011, 98% of students surveyed at Aberystwyth University found Panopto recordings to be helpful to their studies, and Winston-Salem State University saw an increase in exam scores after the introduction of a blended learning model. We’ve gathered these and some other interesting statistics on student impact and posted them here.

Many universities that deploy Panopto start with a departmental installation and then expand campuswide. We’ve built Panopto to make this process of scaling as easy as possible. The University of Waikato in New Zealand recorded 20 hours of lectures in 2009, and by 2011, the institution was capturing nearly 5,000 hours of video with Panopto. The University of Southampton deployed Panopto to 160 lecture halls and thousands of staff PCs overnight. And today, universities like Newcastle and Essex are capturing tens of thousands of hours of video each school year using Panopto’s software.

From our early days at Carnegie Mellon University, we’ve been driven by the belief that video has the power to expand access to education and improve the student learning experience. We’re continually impressed by the innovative ways our customers have employed our technology, and we’d welcome the opportunity to chat with you about how our blended learning software could benefit your institution.