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From Nice-To-Have to Necessity: Creating a Culture Around Video in the Classroom

With an ambitious goal of supporting video in every lecture hall and classroom on a campus with more than 40 thousand students, the University of Arizona’s team expected to have a serious challenge on their hands. Which is why they were so thrilled once they began working with Panopto.

“One of the best things about Panopto has been their level of support,” said Mark Felix, Director, Instructional Support at the University of Arizona Office of Instruction and Assessment. “Panopto’s been a nice fit on the product side, and an excellent partnership on the support side.”

Along with assisting in the campus-wide implementation, Panopto’s worked closely with the OIA and EIS teams to help the university continue to make the most of its video infrastructure and investment. When the UA team sought to optimize bandwidth utilization by splitting its video storage — in the cloud for lower priority files, and on local servers for more frequently accessed materials — the team really began to see what makes Panopto different.

“We’d expected the usual vendor response — ‘we’ll make a feature request and talk about it for the next six months,’” recalled Felix. “But with Panopto, everything was doable. That same day they opened a ticket, jumped in our systems, and helped us line up our cloud accounts. It was so much more than we expected.”

And when it comes to technical collaborations, Panopto’s support team continues to be there for Arizona.  “Every time we’ve provided feedback or feature requests or asked for Panopto to find a way to partner with the other companies and technologies with use here on campus, Panopto has always been willing to come to the table,” said Felix. “In fact, not long ago one of our directors had a call with Panopto and another vendor together. I think it was one of the happiest calls she had that year — she was smiling for weeks.”

Committed to delivering the very best product support, Panopto not only helps the University of Arizona record and rely on an incredible amount of academic video — it helps the UA team take advantage of every opportunity to stay at the forefront of technical expectations and deliver the best lecture recording experience for students, faculty, and staff.

With the right video platform in place, the UA team could then turn its attention to the most important step of all — helping the university’s faculty, staff, and students make the most of the new opportunity.

While many of Arizona’s faculty immediately saw the usefulness of video in the classroom, Arizona’s IT staff went above and beyond to share the possibilities with the entire campus. The first step was to replace the aging equipment in schools that had first installed lecture capture. Initially, the departments weren’t eager to change systems, but when they learned how much Panopto could do, it did not take long for everyone to get on board — many, in fact, made the switch within one semester.

As awareness was building, the OIA team pushed to ensure the actual rollout of the new video platform would be as ubiquitous as the initial plan had committed. To make sure it was, UA created two initiatives to support faculty:

First, they established a bi-weekly training session open to anyone on campus. This provided faculty and department facilitators an open door for learning how to use Panopto and get any of their questions answered. Compared to the one-off support each department required previously, offering a single, regular session to support one centralized video platform was a much more efficient use of the team’s time.

Secondly, for faculty looking to use video to help flip their classrooms or offer other blended learning experiences with video, the university staff created a module in an existing mini-course to both increase faculty’s technical understanding of video, and help them craft compelling content. Several workshops were also developed for both the faculty and staff that support the product. In addition, the university quickly ramped up the number of support staff that knew how to use the tool so that support was never far away. Lastly, they made prodigious use of Panopto’s online support documentation and wrote little materials of their own.

The University of Arizona Library system is one of the largest adopters of the new video platform even though they are not using it for lecture capture.

Taking note of the ability to easily upload and securely deliver multimedia to students no matter their location, the library migrated from their previous multimedia streaming solution to Panopto. The software’s adaptive bitrate streaming ensured that all students, whether on the campus network or at the coffee shop down the street, could smoothly view their class videos.

With this approach, students now had a reliable, consistent experience for viewing material that their professors needed them to review as homework and the library staff could manage it using their student workforce.

“We knew it had to be easy,” said Felix. “We wanted to be able to say: go to this website, download the software, and it will work. And that’s what Panopto does for us. This lets us quickly move to conversations around how we can creatively use this tool for improving teaching and learning.”

Arizona Achieves Its Goal — with Video Everywhere on Campus

With a student population of more than 40 thousand and lecture capture in wide use across campus, the University of Arizona has embraced academic video with full force and has some impressive engagement numbers to show for it.

Each week, Arizona’s faculty produces more than two terabytes of data. Over the course of the last year, their lecture capture totaled nearly 30 thousand hours of recorded content. Just as impressive is how students engage with all that material — in the last year, students at Arizona have viewed nearly 270 thousand hours of video, studying for tests, catching up on classes, and owning their own learning experience.

For the University of Arizona, the experience has been everything they’d hoped — not only in making good on the school’s commitment to make academic video available anywhere on campus, but also in building an excited community of students and instructors that now rely on video as a key part of the university experience.

university-of-arizona-case-study_blog_document-thumbnail_600x776_aWith Panopto providing a solid foundation in lecture capture and video content management, today the University of Arizona is out at the forefront, offering new opportunities to better engage students and raising the university’s profile as a leader in blended and online learning.

To learn more about how the University of Arizona united their campus’ fragmented and aging lecture capture solution with Panopto, download your free copy of our case study.

Ready to find out more about how you can do the same for your organization? Contact a member of our team to request a free trial today.