HomeOxford Brookes University and Breaking Barriers in Education

Oxford Brookes University and Breaking Barriers in Education

The Challenge

Located in Oxford, England, Oxford Brookes University is a renowned institution known for its commitment to academic excellence and innovative teaching practices. With a global student body of over 18,000, the university offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across various disciplines.
From 2013 to 2020, Oxford Brookes had been using Mediasite for lecture capture. However, after seven years of using the platform it was time to consider other options while faculty and staff were engaged in an intensive weeding process to remove unneeded videos from the platform to make room for new.
“We were looking for a platform with a modern look and feel,” says Dr Melanie Bashor, Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor at Oxford Brookes University. “A platform that people could use by themselves.”

“We were looking to have something suited to the work we were doing at the time and the work we envisioned in our long-term planning for lecture capture.”
In short, the university was searching for a cloud-based solution that had the ability to save recordings automatically. “One of the main use cases we encountered was that once a lecture finished, the instructor wanted to be able to switch off their computer without waiting for the recording processing to completely finish,” says Bashor. “We wanted something more intuitive, something that saved recordings faster and more efficiently.”

The Solution

After a long tender process and demos with different companies – including Kaltura, Mediasite and Techsmith – Oxford Brookes chose Panopto. “The deciding factors were ease of access, ease of use, and having non-destructive editing,” says Bashor. “The bonuses were being able to add slides, being able to change things, and being able to have flexibility at each stage of the workflow.”

So, why was Panopto chosen over the others? When it came down to it, Panopto’s top-class customer service really helped to seal the deal. “We had a better customer service experience with Panopto,” says Bashor. “The technical people understood what we wanted and had the answers to our questions. It was fun to work with them and it felt like we would be in good hands.

In addition, Panopto’s interface was also a deciding factor. “I definitely prefer the [Panopto] interface. The other interfaces were just too different from the rest of our platforms, often the editing framework looked funny, and the end-user experience did not look up to date,” says Bashor. “Their features just weren’t as great as those offered by Panopto.”

“The way Panopto works, with the non-destructive edits and sharing settings – it is a very powerful tool.”

Dr. Melanie Bashor, Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor at Oxford Brookes University

Panopto rolled out in the fall of 2020, with a fast-paced timeline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We started installing it in July, and then it was live for all classes by September,” says Bashor. “That’s not a normal timeframe, it was because of COVID-19 – we needed it right then and there to facilitate online-only teaching.”

Initially, Panopto was the university’s lecture capture solution, and housed the 3,451 migrated Mediasite recordings. Since implementation, the use case has expanded to include targeted session recording of delivered content, as opposed to hours-long content that students may not need. The goal is to offer more bite-size content for students.

“When I tell students about an assignment, I record 20 minutes of me talking about the assignment,” says Bashor. “It makes it much more accessible. [You can] go get something and see it right then, instead of having to wade through too much information.”

Other use cases include making use of Panopto’s integration with Zoom, which has formed the foundation for one of the primary workflows at the university. “You start the recording from Zoom and it automatically is moved into the relevant Panopto folder, captions are added by AI, and after a bit of editing and clean up you move it over to the Moodle course folder, also in Panopto,” says Bashor. The other workflow at Oxford Brookes involves faculty and students using the desktop recorder, where the recording is saved straight into Panopto.

Explore More