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Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Expanding Accessibility with Hybrid Learning

How Vrije Universiteit Brussel Adapted to Online Learning with Panopto and Returned to the Classroom with a New Pedagogical Approach


60 Hours of Content Created / Day

3,000+ Hours of Content Video Viewed / Day

200% Increase in View Count Within One Year

The Challenge

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is an educational institution with a 185-year history of unrelenting curiosity, innovation, and critical thinking. Seeing diversity and sustainability as its greatest assets, VUB continually strives to further multidisciplinary cooperation and societal relevance.

A forward-thinking, international university, VUB implemented Panopto in 2009 to increase lecture accessibility for its diverse learner base, which includes many working students.

Despite the adoption of Panopto throughout VUB, the university still depended on a classroom-based pedagogy. When COVID-19 lockdowns separated students and educators, VUB was forced to adapt to an entirely remote learning model.

The Solution

Thanks to VUB’s commitment to accessibility, it was in a strong position to navigate the transition to an online-only model. With several streaming solutions available to professors, the university’s support team recommended that class size dictate engagement models.

“If lecturers had large groups, and therefore didn’t need as much interactivity, we always directed them to use Panopto. They would simultaneously stream and record these large lectures and use the Panopto chat and student response systems like Poll Everywhere or Wooclap to gauge engagement,” shares Stijn Van Achter, Coordinator of Educational Innovation.

Through Panopto’s integrations with Teams and Canvas, VUB’s lecturers consolidated the processes of streaming, recording, uploading, and managing permissions for smaller and more interactive classes, as well.

“We quickly realized that Panopto aids in education generally and is not simply a discipline or vocation-specific tool.”

Stijn Van Achter, Coordinator of Educational Innovation, VUB

The Impact

Panopto’s ease of use and stability helped VUB navigate the online transition seamlessly.

Following VUB’s online transition due to COVID-19-imposed lockdowns, the university’s Panopto usage exceeded 1,000,000 hours. Behind the numbers, however, lie important lessons for students and educators alike, as they have now grown more comfortable and confident in navigating distance learning.

Returning to the Classroom with a New Pedagogical Approach

Even as students return to the classroom, VUB has adopted a hybrid approach to pedagogy through a flipped classroom model. Lecturers are recording short videos, or “knowledge clips,” for students to watch in their own time, then convening in lectures to discuss the content in-person while it is simultaneously streamed online.

“Whilst our teachers are very excited to return to on-campus teaching, a lot of them noticed the positive effects and advantages of recording and streaming their lessons,” reflects Van Achter.

Panopto serves as it always has: an intuitive and adaptive platform to facilitate VUB’s pedagogical innovation in response to challenges of all kinds.

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