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Panopto provides valuable new classroom resource

It became clear after the first week that the shift to Panopto had been a massive success, and the hardware was as robust as it had been designed to be.

Ron Bradley

OIT ClassTech Manager

In a collaborative campus effort, NC State’s Digital Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) began a search in 2019 to replace its aging classroom recording resource with a new one that would better meet student needs. 

This three-year initiative led to the selection of Panopto as NC State’s video management system in June 2020. OIT ClassTech and other campus partners were instrumental in the selection process. 

According to Ron Bradley, ClassTech’s manager, in May 2021 his team began installing the front-end hardware ― audio video bridges, cameras and microphones ― to use with Panopto in the 186 instructional classrooms that it supports.

COVID-19 brought massive disruption to the campus community, resulting in emptied classrooms. Bradley said that provided a serendipitous opportunity for ClassTech staff to greatly accelerate their classroom installations, allowing Panopto to go live in fall 2021.

The fall 2021 semester represented the first true opportunity for faculty to make full use of Panopto content capture and Zoom and put ClassTech’s newly deployed hardware standards to the test, he said.

“This was a massive technology deployment, and as the software and hardware had not been tested at this scale, you could say that ClassTech had some concerns with how these systems would perform,” Bradley said. “It became clear after the first week that the shift to Panopto had been a massive success, and the hardware was as robust as it had been designed to be.”

Prior to COVID-19, only about 50 instructors had been using classroom recording, but about 1,400 were using it after Panopto was installed in all classrooms. Panopto is integrated with Moodle, Zoom, Google Meet and Webex.

Classroom recording with Panopto is a win for students, instructors and NC State alike. 

Students who cannot attend classes due to illness, family matters or other reasons can log in to the Panopto site with their Unity credentials and stay up to speed by watching the missed class recordings as many times as they need to understand the presented material. These recordings are also automatically transcribed, allowing students to easily search the recording to find the portion of the material they want to review. 

Microphones for students are also available in most Panopto-enabled classrooms, allowing both student questions and instructor answers to be recorded and providing full classroom dialogue.

Instructors benefit from Panopto by having more time to spend on their research or other work. Students have less need to consult with them because they can watch the Panopto classroom recordings and answer most of their questions about material they missed or concepts they needed to review further. 

NC State gets an edge in student recruitment from Panopto. According to Bradley, during campus tours, prospective students frequently ask about access to classroom recordings at NC State; they consider such recording an asset when choosing a university to attend. 

With Panopto as one of its educational resources, NC State is now on par with comparable universities that provide classroom recording.