A University of South Australia student

The Challenge

In 2011 the University of South Australia (UniSA) was an early adopter of “opt-out” lecture recordings. 

Committed to fostering a culture of innovation across its six campuses, UniSA had deployed a highly customized on-premises Echo 360 lecture capture system. Tightly integrated into the institution’s entire learning technology ecosystem, the system enabled UniSA to automate lecture capture in its classrooms, empower its instructors to advance their teaching practices, and offer its students more flexible options for personalizing their individual learning experiences. 

With a specific focus on capturing lectures, it was a system that worked well for UniSA. But when the existing system was discontinued, the university was compelled to explore alternative options. 

Initially, UniSA considered simply transitioning to the incumbent provider’s new cloud-based platform. However, the features and pricing of the new model were a significant change, requiring a robust tender and procurement process. 

As such, UniSA commenced the Lecture Recording System (LRS) Project and began soliciting feedback from staff and students from many disciplines across the University in order to identify what was valued in a lecture capture system. 

After identifying the key user requirements for lecture capture, as well as the needs and goals of the university at large, the LRS Project commenced a formal tender that included a comprehensive evaluation of a number of lecture capture solutions. 

The conclusion of that process identified Panopto as best satisfying UniSA’s diverse technical, stakeholder, and user requirements.

A lecture at the University of South Australia

The Solution

Panopto was evaluated as the lecture capture solution that would best support UniSA’s culture of innovation and its long-term goals for teaching and learning. Panopto’s extensible, cloud-based video platform was technically robust yet simple to use, and it would provide UniSA with a flexible, end-to-end video solution that could grow with the university’s needs while keeping costs at a minimum.

Without hosting or storage constraints, academics could use Panopto to experiment with video in new, innovative ways, such as recording feedback for students in videos and going beyond the lecture to offer more blended learning courses. 

Daniel Caruana, a Project Officer on the Teaching Technologies team at UniSA, was involved in much of the procurement and implementation of Panopto. He stressed the importance of planning for the future when it comes to choosing a lecture capture solution. “Our video library is already quite large, and we continue to add to it as we record more and more lectures. Panopto was evaluated to be a more scalable and affordable option.” 

Panopto includes powerful, pre-built integrations that enable universities to extend the Panopto video platform into Learning Management Systems (LMSs) like Moodle and user authentication systems like Active Directory. However, after years of relying on a highly-customized system, UniSA already had an established structure for its lecture capture system to work together with its broader learning technology ecosystem. To minimize the change for faculty and students, the university utilized Panopto’s open and documented developer APIs. This enabled UniSA to incorporate Panopto into its existing systems just as it had with the previous lecture capture system. 

“One of the more significant things we’ve been able to do has been customizing our integrations with the API from Panopto,” Daniel says. “That‘s enabled us to sync Panopto with our timetabling system and our LMS to fully automate recording in all lecture recording enabled spaces.” This fulfilled the required continuation of opt-out lecture recording that had proved so successful over the years. 

With Panopto, UniSA set up a fully automated lecture recording system. In short order, Panopto was successfully recording, processing, and uploading all scheduled lectures. The completed recordings were then published on the corresponding course site in Moodle using a seamless, behind-the-scenes process that required little interaction from instructors.

“One of the more significant things we’ve been able to do has been customizing our integrations with the API from Panopto. That‘s enabled us to sync Panopto with our timetabling system and our LMS to fully automate recording in all lecture recording enabled spaces.”

Daniel Caruana, Project Officer on the Teaching Technologies Team – UniSA
A student studies with a laptop

The Impact

Both staff and students had requested a lecture capture solution that could help enhance learning on campus – and each cohort would come to find that Panopto could do just that. 

With Panopto, UniSA instructors have gained the power to experiment with new and innovative video-supported pedagogies like the flipped classroom and other blended learning models. Panopto’s flexible recording tools enable instructors to create course videos anywhere, right from their laptops or smartphones. Simple edits can be made in any web browser, and instructors can request human-generated captions for any or all of their videos with just a few clicks. 

UniSA students, meanwhile, have experienced a higher overall quality of their classroom videos. With Panopto, video of the instructors’ presentation is automatically synchronized to the slides, screen recordings, and any other content presented during each class, so the resulting video always aligns with the correct visual content. Panopto automatically optimizes video playback for any device a student may be using, ensuring students can stream recordings even in low bandwidth environments. Students also have the ability to control playback speed, configure how captions are displayed, and take notes right inside the Panopto video player. 

Panopto even helped UniSA students solve a problem they didn’t know they had. Panopto’s Smart Search video search engine automatically indexes every word spoken or shown on-screen in every recording, enabling viewers to instantly find and fast-forward to relevant moments. As a result, students now have an improved experience for revision and study. 

UniSA is also migrating all existing and new media content to Panopto as UniSA’s dedicated media management and storage solution. This includes thousands of green screen recordings and the UniSA library’s catalog of AV media. At the same time, the newly launched ‘UniSA Online’ online study program has begun using Panopto as its media solution, supporting UniSA’s course offerings while improving the student experience and boosting the university’s global standing.

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