The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced many educational institutions to move their classes online. Keio University was no exception, delivering most of its spring semester classes online, either as live streams or on-demand. However, the university had concerns about the effects of network limitations and unfamiliarity on live streaming, and also lacked the necessary systems to prepare and stream on-demand content, causing disruption. The university set about creating a new, large-scale learning environment that saw a new style of hybrid education—combining face-to-face and distance learning—provided to 60% of the university’s 33,000 students.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, all of Keio University’s classes were conducted onsite. However, beginning with the 2020 Spring term, which started right after the government declared Japan’s first state of emergency, the university began offering online classes. Initially, lecturers uploaded on-demand video content to a cloud-based shared server then created links to each video file, which were then sent to the students. This approach presented many problems, including tedious and time-consuming upload process, students’ viewing and streaming bandwidth issues, copyrights and viewing access control, etc.
In order to establish a new learning environment that would cater to this latest challenge, the university decided to implement the Canvas learning management system along with Panopto, which would create a remote learning environment that integrated with Canvas.
Imahori Ryuzaburo of the Hiyoshi Campus IT Centre hurried to implement the project, determined to create a world-class learning system.
“Installing a learning system is all well and good, but you can’t derive full value from it if you don’t use the right tools to integrate it with. For our video streaming service, we chose Panopto, which is widely used, including at overseas universities, and offers superior video creation functionality. I used Panopto to create a manual for lecturers and students about using the new system, and the process was very simple”, reflects Imahori.
This setup enabled 60% of Keio’s 33,000 students to access remote learning, a level of uptake that is unprecedented for a Japanese educational institution. And thus, a new style of education that combined face-to-face and online classes began in October 2020, the beginning of the Autumn semester.
“Editing videos of my lectures used to take five hours. With Panopto, the process only takes 30 minutes. Panopto allows you to re-film portions of the lesson if you make a mistake, and simply delete your mistakes later.”Dr Kobayashi Hiromichi, Director of Hiyoshi ITC and Lecturer at Keio University Faculty of Engineering
The management and streaming of educational materials that initially posed challenges was solved by linking Panopto to the learning system. The number of steps that lecturers need to put form to create PowerPoint-based video resources has been greatly reduced and the university has also effectively deployed learner-centred ‘flipped’ lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a survey of students conducted in the Autumn semester after the introduction of Panopto, students said they liked the way it was now easier to access their viewing history thanks to the integration with Canvas LMS, as well as the improved convenience, as exemplified by the ability to use the search function to cue videos. While previously, it was only lecturers more experienced with the creation of video files that created video resources, the introduction of Panopto has made the process simpler, and it is hoped that Panopto will lead to more lecturers using the system and thereby encouraging an increase in ‘flipped’ teaching.
The university also says there are many progressive ideas in the pipeline, such as having foreign language students submit videos of them pronouncing phrases to show the movements of their mouths, and the use of video resources to provide barrier-free access to students with disabilities. The use of Panopto in conjunction with the Canvas learning system supports free research and new discoveries by students.
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