• Academic Technology

Five Ways You Can Create a More Equitable Learning Environment with Video

Integrating video into your school’s courses not only has the power to boost student engagement, it also creates and supports a more equitable learning environment. This is vital to ensure every student is provided with a dynamic learning space in which they can be themselves, while fulfilling their academic potential. 

Live-streaming and asynchronous video offer students more options for connecting with their instructors, classmates, and course material. Asynchronous video in particular allows students to learn when, where, and how they want.

For many schools, Panopto is a primary tool that makes equitable access to educational resources possible. Here are five ways you can use video to ensure learning is accessible and equitable for all students.

1. Video captioning and accessibility

Video captioning is helpful for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, whose primary language is not English, or who are visual learners. For students in a noisy environment, captions can also be helpful. And for all students, captions can improve comprehension of complex topics and new terminology.

With Panopto, schools have multiple options for adding captions to videos. Machine-generated captions can be produced very quickly and enable inside-video search. Human-transcribed captions are at least 98% accurate, so schools can use this type of captioning to meet accessibility standards. Users can also upload captions from a third party or manually upload them. It’s even possible to include live captions during a live stream or synchronous class session.

When a video includes captions, Panopto’s interactive video players allow viewers to change the styling and placement of captioning to fit their individual needs. Students can set the position, colors, and size of the captions for an optimal playback experience.

2. Variable speed playback and smart search

Variable speed playback options allow students to speed up or slow down video playback to better match the video’s pace to their specific needs. With Panopto, students can slow down the video to half its original speed (0.5x) or speed it up to twice original speed (2.0x). That way, students can learn or review key concepts at their own pace. Use of the pause button alone is also extremely helpful.

Every video uploaded in your Panopto library is also searchable. Panopto’s Smart Search, including its automatic table of contents called Smart Chapters, allows students to easily find their place if they need to take a break or go back to review a certain topic, depending on their unique circumstances. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) indexes every word spoken in your videos, while optical character recognition (OCR) indexes every word that appears on-screen.

3. Interact with recorded videos

Videos with interactive elements help provide students with a personalized classroom experience, and cater to those who may not be able to be in the classroom or attend a live online class. 

Panopto offers students opportunities to engage with their instructor or classmates, even if they’re viewing a recorded video at a later time. While they watch a video, students can ask questions of the instructor, have discussions with classmates, and leave bookmarks and notes for themselves right inside the video player, just like they would in a physical classroom environment.

These features are especially helpful for students viewing videos on their own time or those who feel more comfortable interacting asynchronously.

4. Screen reader and keyboard accessibility

Screen reader and keyboard accessibility is particularly important for providing access for students who are blind or visually impaired, or have motor disabilities. These features allow students to hear the text that is displayed on screen and navigate with just their keyboard. 

From the library to the video player, every element of Panopto is fully accessible for screen reader software, including JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver for Mac, and supports keyboard navigation. Users can access all of Panopto’s functions with the tab key.

5. Time-shifting

Asynchronous video allows students to learn when and where they want, not strictly in a physical classroom at a scheduled class time. For adult learners who have job obligations and family responsibilities, the flexibility to watch videos on their own time is priceless. In some cases, it truly makes education possible, and it’s key to creating an equitable learning environment.

For example, graduate classes that take place in the late afternoon and evening might be challenging for a parent to attend live due to childcare, dinner, or family evening obligations. Some students may find they are in the best mindset to learn early in the morning after a good night’s sleep. Being able to access and interact with video content 24/7 means all students can learn when they are available, focused, and ready.

Panopto puts students in control of their learning experience. Katelyn Fischer, a graduate of the University of Washington, talks about about how time-shifting of asynchronous video enabled her to complete college.

More ways to create an equitable learning environment

If you’re looking to ensure all students at your school have access to what they need to learn, the Panopto team can help. Find out what schools need to think about going forward and how video is essential to expanding education equity.


Would you like to discuss Panopto further? Reach out to us today.