St. Mary’s University continues to build upon its 170-year history of teaching excellence through a consistent emphasis on training and best practices. After identifying that lecture capture had become increasingly popular throughout higher education and among the student body, St. Mary’s University initiated its search for a solution in 2019. Representatives from the Student Union, technical staff, and academics formed a working group to collaboratively assess their needs.
Recalling the resistance of academics during their initial search, the working group recognized the necessity for ease of use and intuitive design. Throughout St. Mary’s campus, teaching spaces and AV equipment are varied and multipurpose in use and design. Unfortunately, internet connectivity could be equally as varied. The University accordingly sought a platform that was hardware agnostic and did not require persistent online connectivity to ensure equal functionality and access, both campus-wide and off-campus.
After holding a supplier event, technical trials, individual interviews, and a final discussion summit, St. Mary’s University ultimately selected Panopto as its trusted solution.
Panopto was launched in January 2020. The institution began with a small-scale pilot, installing Panopto within a limited number of rooms to get a sense of how it could be rolled out campus-wide and to introduce staff to its functionality.
“The implementation and integration of Panopto were quite straightforward. It felt seamless from my end. We didn’t have any problems,” says Bing Choong, Head of Technology-Enhanced Learning.
Although the technical rollout proceeded smoothly, lecturers remained hesitant. Some were even concerned about being replaced by their recordings. Choong reassured staff that the recordings were to be viewed as teaching and learning tools with an emphasis on accessibility and revision. “We did a lot of work on messaging to staff about what lecture capture means for them, but the students didn’t need convincing. They got really excited about it,” Choong says.
Using Panopto’s analytics, St. Mary’s lecturers saw growing engagement with their content. They noticed large viewing spikes nearing exams with students relying on Panopto for revision. Lecturers, therefore, began creating videos that catered to student preferences. Panopto’s captioning and subtitles also proved valuable by enhancing digital accessibility and content discoverability.
“The implementation and integration of Panopto were quite straightforward. It felt seamless from my end. We didn’t have any problems.”Bing Choong, Head of Technology-Enhanced Learning – St. Mary's University
Having launched Panopto campus-wide in January 2020, St. Mary’s was well-equipped to adapt to the unforeseen mandatory lockdowns brought about by COVID-19. “Starting the week of March 22nd, everything was going online. Within a week we were rolling out training on how to use Panopto,” says Choong.
Choong reported that some lecturers have seen higher engagement and would like to retain some of their pandemic-era practices. “Normally, if they ran a tutorial on campus for a class of 15, maybe 5 would attend,” Choong said, “but now it’s around 12 attendees.”
The move to an online-only format also played a role in how effectively St. Mary’s business functions responded to the enforced lockdowns. The finance team adopted Panopto to replace face-to-face training and orient new staff to its systems and processes. St. Mary’s internal marketing department also proceeded to transfer all content from other video platforms to Panopto for enhanced and efficient digital accessibility.
Faculties throughout St. Mary’s University soon followed suit, and Panopto’s adoption is widespread. Through meticulous tendering and testing, St. Mary’s flawlessly launched an easily accessible and growing library of course content and a powerful, intuitive, and adaptable platform from which students securely self-serve, and staff intuitively iterate.