At Colombia’s Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali, video had been part of the student learning experience for more than a decade. From lecture capture to blended learning, many students at the university enjoyed the benefits of video learning – when their professors took advantage of available technologies.
Going into the 2018-2019 academic year, the visionary leaders in the university’s Center for Informatic Services (Centro de Servicios Informáticos, or CSI) saw an opportunity for a digital transformation that would better support student outcomes by expanding the adoption of video by educators across campus, and thus provide students with the video learning resources they had come to expect.
Jaime A. Reinoso, Director of CSI at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali, identified the need for new technology that could integrate with their existing learning systems to make video a core part of learning on campus. Over the next three years, Reinoso and his team planned on working to identify the right video solution, upgrade their learning technology ecosystem, and then acclimate faculty to using the new tools and technologies.
The CSI team had already begun investigating and testing video management systems prior to March of 2020, when Colombia documented its first case of the novel coronavirus. A month later, the country was under a nationwide quarantine to fight the spread of the pandemic. As students packed up and returned home, universities across the country scrambled to find solutions that would enable the academic year to continue online. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali fortunately had a head start. If Reinoso and his team could accelerate the execution of their three-year video technology plan, they could also keep their students learning online through the pandemic.
By the time the pandemic reached Colombia, Reinoso and his team had already compared and tested several video management systems, which helped them narrow their decision down to two possible solutions: Panopto and Mediasite.
As the university completed testing both platforms, it became clear that Panopto was the best solution. Mediasite didn’t have the flexibility that would allow professors to record video presentations using anything other than PowerPoint slides, and editing videos required importing another tool that was unnecessarily complex. Panopto, on the other hand, was a versatile and simple all-in-one video platform. “With Panopto, you don’t have to download any software,” Reinoso says.
“Panopto integrates very well with the other learning technologies we use,” Reinoso continued. By integrating Panopto with Zoom and their learning management system (LMS), Blackboard, the team could create a technology ecosystem that would both automate and expedite the process of uploading videos and making them accessible to students.
In just three days, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali implemented Panopto and integrated it with its other learning technologies. Leónardo Belalcazar, PMO Manager for the CSI team, led the training efforts over the next two weeks, conducting onsite and virtual training with faculty and associates multiple times per day.
“Our professors were immediately accepting of Panopto because it was not complicated,” Belelcazar says. “And, because it integrates so seamlessly with Blackboard, they felt like it was part of the LMS they already knew how to use.”
“Our professors were immediately accepting of Panopto because it was not complicated. And, because it integrates so seamlessly with Blackboard, they felt like it was part of the LMS they already knew how to use.”Leónardo Belalcazar, PMO Manager for the CSI Team – Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali
Within the first month of using Panopto, nearly half of all the courses offered that semester were recorded and made available to students through Blackboard. Students streamed over 12,000 hours of video during that time, and more than a quarter of the university’s full-time professors continued to actively use Panopto for distance learning throughout the semester. With new lectures and lessons being added to Panopto every day, Reinoso knew they had made the right choice.
Students at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali are as grateful as their professors for Panopto’s timely arrival. “The students expect these kinds of tools today,” Reinoso says. “They want access to recorded lectures – they want this kind of technology available to them.”
What’s more, Panopto was critical for supporting students who didn’t have the same kind of connectivity at home that they did on campus. “Colombia is a developing country. Many students don’t have the ability to attend live video conferences from home,” Reinoso says. ”We use Panopto to record and upload live Zoom sessions to Blackboard, so students with limited bandwidth can download the recordings and not miss a lesson. It may take some time to download, but they can still watch it, and that’s what’s important.”
Reinoso believes this accelerated global transition to online learning will provide students with enriched learning opportunities in the future that were not previously available. “Just like the Industrial Revolution, we are experiencing a time of dramatic and rapid change that will transform education forever.”
Once again ahead of the game, this revolution has already begun at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali.