Studying with notebooks and a tablet

The Challenge

The National University of Singapore (NUS) made a bold move nearly two decades ago towards building an integrated system of leading-edge educational technologies that would enrich the learning experiences of its students. 

In 2000, NUS founded the Centre for Instructional Technology (CIT), a department comprised of inter-connected teams that work to enhance teaching and learning by supporting all of the school’s digital and audiovisual technology needs. Since then, CIT has helped drive the adoption of critical tools, including lecture capture, that integrate with its custom-built learning management system, the Integrated Virtual Learning Environment (IVLE). 

Through the IVLE, students at NUS have easy access to lecture webcasts and course assignments, as well as interactive peer-to-peer learning resources such as discussion forums, chat rooms, and other opportunities for student collaboration and communication. Instructors can also use the IVLE to request support for rapid digital content development for blended course designs. 

By 2011, leaders within the CIT noticed that the tools it was using to produce video-based course content had not evolved to meet the university’s changing needs. Instructors at NUS could only record course content in one of few centralized recording spaces on campus – an insufficient and costly system for recording an increasing number of lectures. Hosting video content internally had also begun to push the limits of available storage space on NUS servers as video content creation increased. 

Intent on resolving these frustrations, NUS began searching for an end-to-end video platform that could grow with the school’s increased adoption of lecture capture and digital course content – while integrating with the IVLE.

Watching video materials

The Solution

After testing a number of solutions, NUS eventually found a video capture vendor that it liked and used for two years. The solution offered many of the lecture recording features NUS wanted, including video that simultaneously showed the presenter and their presentation, as well as the ability to schedule recordings in advance. But when the vendor announced it was sun-setting the product, it recommended that NUS check out Panopto.

The NUS CIT team considered the advice of its previous video capture vendor, evaluating both Panopto and another software-based lecture capture system against a long list of requirements that, in addition to scalable video creation and management, included the following: 

  • Flawless synchronization of audio and video feeds 
  • Easy deployment to more than 70 lecture halls 
  • Remote scheduling and recording 
  • Secure streaming over https 
  • Variable speed playback on any device or browser 
  • Live streaming capabilities 
  • Developer APIs including a single sign-on (SSO) solution

In the end, NUS chose Panopto, not only for its cost-effective solution, but also its flexibility to allow customization and automation that integrated seamlessly with the IVLE. Panopto was the right long-term campus video solution that could grow and adapt along with NUS.

“With Panopto, we have the ability to control video access based on the user group. This lets us also use Panopto to share corporate communications videos, staff training videos, and also live events with the right audiences.”

Centre for Instructional Technology (CIT) Team – The National University of Singapore
A student with study materials

The Impact

NUS deployed Panopto over a one-month break at the end of 2011. After a semester of testing the new system with a few instructors, CIT leaders agreed Panopto was ready to be rolled out to the entire campus. Panopto was deployed to all 70 lecture halls on campus by the second semester of 2012, giving instructors the right tools to record all of their lectures – from anywhere. 

With Panopto, NUS was able to monitor and manage recordings far more efficiently than it had before. From selecting which video cameras should record in a classroom to scheduling recurring recordings, all video recording operations were now carried out remotely in a centralized control room. 

“With Panopto, we have the ability to control video access based on the user group. This lets us also use Panopto to share corporate communications videos, staff training videos, and also live events with the right audiences,” the CIT team says. 

Usage statistics from the student body also spoke to the success of Panopto’s solution. “Recorded lectures have proven to be extremely useful to students studying before exams,” the CIT team says. “Viewing statistics always hit their highest rates the week before final exams.”

Panopto’s role at NUS is only growing. After many years of using Panopto solely as a video content management tool for student-centric content, NUS has more recently expanded access to the platform for other groups on campus such as campus administrators and department heads.

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