Students working together

The Challenge

Over the summer of 2009, Butler University, a private 4-year university in Indianapolis, found itself with a unique need for a university video solution. Other institutions had already discovered the value of lecture capture, but Butler’s need was different. 

Instead of recording their professors, the University wanted a simple, scalable solution to capture course content and student engagement. Enabling students to role-play scenarios, practice skills in simulations, and otherwise learn by experience was key to enhancing a number of Butler’s academic programs. Finding the right video solution to support that goal was the challenge. 

At Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Science (COPHS), professors were first interested in using video for student skill assessments in their Physician Assistant and Pharmacy programs. The college needed a way to record classroom sessions in which students practiced their skills (through role-playing with other students, as well as on simulated patients) so that their proficiency could be evaluated by their peers and professors. Although some of these sessions were already being recorded, the college was looking for a cost-effective way to expand the use of student recording that would also enable both students and professors to view and share videos from any location.

Meanwhile, at the College of Education, students serving internships in school counseling needed improved methodologies for videotaping live sessions with clients. Some students were using handheld digital video cameras, such as a flip cam, and saving the recording to DVD or a memory card; others were using VHS cameras and videotapes. The College of Education needed a video solution that was not only easy to use across a wide range of equipment, but that would streamline the process of recording and privately sharing content.

Pharmacist in training

The Solution

Based on input from faculty and staff as well as a rigorous technical and pedagogical assessment, Butler selected Panopto as its comprehensive video solution. “The bottom line was that Panopto had the criteria we needed and was a cost-effective solution,” says Jeana Rogers,  the specialist at Butler’s Center for Academic Technology who implemented the vendor selection.

Since Panopto’s deployment at Butler in January 2010, the software has become an invaluable campus-wide resource for both students and faculty alike. 

At COPHS, students learning to be Physician Assistants record themselves interacting with standardized patients using the iPad®. Recordings are automatically uploaded to the Panopto video content management system (VCMS) and encoded for streaming to any device. Students can then review their videos and assess their own performance.

“In some exercises, if they don’t like the recording, they can do it again,” says Jennifer Snyder, an Associate Professor in the Physician Assistant program. “Being able to record their practices gives them a feeling of comfort.” 

In addition to student assessment, Professor Snyder has been using Panopto to flip her Clinical Medicine course. She records brief videos that her students view before class. Class time is spent discussing the concepts from the videos or applying the information in case presentations. 

Professor Snyder believes that flipping her classroom using Panopto has improved the quality of discussion during class. “It’s a much higher level of thinking when you go into the in-class discussion,” she says. “It allows the students to really be ready for what you’re going to discuss that day, so it’s a richer discussion of the material.” 

In COPHS’s Pharmacy program, almost every class is recorded by Panopto. According to the department’s 2011 survey: 

  • More than 60% of students felt that Panopto helped improve their exam grades.
  • 74% of the students reported using Panopto to revisit lectures they had already attended in order to review harder material.
  • The majority of students reported that Panopto did not increase the likelihood of skipping class.

At the College of Education, Panopto simplified the recording process and enabled professors to offer timelier feedback on specific aspects of the student’s performance. Instead of recording to memory cards or DVDs, interns now record directly to Panopto using their laptops and onboard cameras. Moreover, access to the recordings can be controlled by login and only granted to program professors and peers.

Professors at the College of Education review the recordings weekly during study groups and have come to rely on Panopto’s Notes feature, which enables them to append time-stamped comments to a student’s video.

Brandie Oliver, an Assistant Professor who oversees interns in the School Counseling program, uses the Notes feature extensively in providing feedback to her students. “I can go to a specific point in the video and say, ‘I’d really like for you to look at this skill,’ and that leads us to in-depth and thorough discussion of what we’re trying to talk about.”

“The bottom line was that Panopto had the criteria we needed and was a cost-effective solution.”

Jeana Rogers, Center for Academic Technology Specialist – Butler University
Students watch a lecture

The Impact

With the success of its Panopto implementation in the College of Pharmacy and Health Science and the College of Education, Butler has started to enable video campus-wide.

Since deploying Panopto, Butler students have watched more than 7,000 hours of recordings. Use continues to grow each semester as instructors find new ways to use video in their courses. 

Today Butler University uses Panopto in a variety of ways, from student presentations to staff demonstrations. Butler’s physical education department uses Panopto to capture student teaching and evaluate teaching skills, and the school’s Healthy Horizons program uses Panopto videos to demonstrate how to eat healthfully on campus. 

Across campus the university has enabled 64 “Panopto-ready” rooms, a number that grows annually. For courses in these rooms, Butler uses Panopto’s Remote Recording feature to automatically start and stop recordings at a scheduled time. This frees the professors to interact with students between classes rather than spend time setting up the workstation to record. And even if a room is not yet “Panopto-ready,” Butler professors can still record a lecture by bringing in one of the university’s mobile Panopto setups, which consists of a laptop with a webcam or an iPad. 

Butler hopes to continue expanding its use of Panopto and to consolidate the number of other video products in use. 

According to Jeana Rogers, Panopto “has given our students and faculty the ability to share learning experiences in a whole new way. They can easily capture and share content anywhere. It provides them with the ability to use video technology much more easily than they ever could before, and really enhances the teaching and learning process.”

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