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University of Washington

Enhancing Teaching and Learning with a Single Campus-Wide Video Solution


9 in 10 Students Report Viewing Recordings Improves Grades

98% of Students Agree that Panopto Enhances Their Learning

60K+ Hours of Classroom Video Content Recorded

The Challenge

At the University of Washington, recording lectures started out as a major challenge. Early on, individual instructors and departments selected their own lecture capture solutions – but with multiple solutions in place, adoption and satisfaction among both staff and students were lower than expected. Students were frustrated by having to find course videos within different systems, video quality was often an issue, and faculty found that some tools were either hard to use or they lacked the capabilities they needed to create course videos.

In 2011 the university’s CIO and provost became interested in adopting a single video solution in order to standardize the institution’s video capture capabilities and ensure student learning experiences would be consistent.

The UW wanted to ensure that lecture videos were more widely available to students. It needed a video capture solution that would enable instructors to automatically record lectures in all classrooms, and it wanted to be able to centrally schedule and manage recordings from a single dashboard. This would enable the school to offer lecture recordings for most courses while minimizing the resources and time needed to manage lecture capture at scale.

Accessibility was also a top priority for the UW – administrators were dedicated to making campus technologies beneficial for all its students. That meant any video platform the team might select would need to be ADA Section 508 compliant, with ample support for video captioning, screen reader use, and keyboard-based navigation.

In adopting a new video platform, UW administrators envisioned creating a learning environment that could use video alongside other technologies to make learning more active and engaging for students.

The Solution

In the Panopto video platform, UW found a secure end-to-end video solution that could capture multi-camera video inside classrooms and from instructors’ own devices. Panopto also offered simple online editing tools for cutting and splicing, enabled video captioning at scale, and supported central administration of scheduled recording and video management.

On paper, Panopto met the full range of UW’s needs. Before investing in the platform, however, the school wanted to be sure that faculty and students agreed. To find out, UW first launched a quarter-long pilot in which Panopto was installed in four lecture halls and put to the test among eight instructors and 530 students. 

Tom Lewis, Director of Academic Experience Design & Delivery for University of Washington Information Technology, remarked on the results of the pilot. “Panopto offered a superior user experience and a range of features that impressed both faculty and students. From our standpoint, the decision to make Panopto the video solution for the entire university really made itself.” 

When comparing Panopto to its previous lecture capture systems, the UW IT team saw other benefits as well. Since Panopto was software-based, it could be implemented quickly across campus. Panopto also leveraged the architecture of the internet to deliver video much in the way Netflix or YouTube do, which made video playback both more reliable and less stressful on the university’s network bandwidth. What’s more, Panopto integrated easily into many of UW’s existing systems, including its learning management system, Canvas, as well as the in-room AV equipment the school already had. 

When it came to accessibility, UW was at the forefront of identifying and advocating for technology features that would truly make video accessible to all students. In fact, UW had a vision for video accessibility that was ahead of where most industry-leading video solutions were at that point. Before, during, and after rolling out Panopto across all three campuses, the UW team worked toward a shared ideal for making video accessible to everyone. After the rollout, Panopto’s former CEO and founder, Eric Burns, went to the UW campus to meet with the school’s accessibility leaders to establish a collaborative partnership to help ensure that Panopto would support the UW team’s roadmap for future accessibility.

“Since we implemented Panopto at the University of Washington, it’s become a critical asset for our faculty and students. Over the last three years, our faculty and staff have created more than 60,000 total hours of academic recordings that students use as a valuable study aid.”

Tom Lewis, Director of Academic Experience Design & Delivery, University of Washington Information Technology

The Impact

With Panopto, the University of Washington was quickly on the path to growing a scalable video learning ecosystem. In just two years, faculty at the UW had created over 16,000 recordings totaling over 15,000 hours of video. By 2018, it had captured over 30,000 hours of video.

In the years following UW’s implementation of Panopto, the IT team conducted multiple surveys to gauge satisfaction with Panopto among faculty and students and to understand its impact on teaching and learning. 98% of UW students agreed that Panopto contributed to their learning, and 9 in 10 believed that viewing recordings helped them improve their grades. Students reported that Panopto was helpful when studying for exams and made it easier to review difficult or confusing material. They also appreciated being able to re-watch a lecture as many times as they wanted – and at the speed that worked for them.

Here’s how students reported using Panopto:

  • Reviewing what they did not understand (67%) 
  • Studying for an exam (66%) 
  • Reviewing a missed class (60%) 
  • Taking notes within a recording (46%) 
  • Using recordings to prepare for a class in advance (30%)

By and large, faculty also found Panopto to be easy and reliable. As more and more instructors have incorporated video into their teaching practices, they reported that Panopto has enabled them to: 

  • Flip their classrooms and encourage active learning 
  • Record guest speakers 
  • Cover more content and have deeper discussions 
  • Review video analytics to improve course content

“Since we implemented Panopto at the University of Washington, it’s become a critical asset for our faculty and students,” says Lewis. “Over the last three years, our faculty and staff have created more than 60,000 total hours of academic recordings that students use as a valuable study aid. Just as importantly, Panopto has been a partner in our mission to provide the best possible learning experience for students. The company listens to our input, continues to evolve their service based on our feedback, and actively works with us to ensure that our implementation is always well supported.”

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