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Using Panopto in Your Teaching - Faculty

Last updated on Jun 28, 2022

Panopto is a video platform available to everyone at CCA. It allows for recording and sharing of course meetings, lectures, and presentations. Panopto is accessible through our Moodle learning management system.

Why use Panopto? It offers a number of advantages over other options:

  • integrated with Moodle (see below) and Zoom
  • accessible in China
  • private to the CCA community
  • fast and fully-featured video platform

For more generic information on Panopto, see our page on general use, their support site, and their How To Videos repository.

Table of Contents

Course Folders

Instructors have one Course Folder for each course they are teaching. Inside our Course Folder, all videos are visible to our students and we have Creator rights. The course folder name will follow a standard naming convention that shows the course section code, semester code, and then course title. For instance, for a "Techno Ethics" course from Fall 2020 the folder is named "PHCRT-2000-1-2020FA: Techno Ethics".

To learn about copying a video session from one course folder to another, see below.

Inside our Course Folder, there may be a couple other folders. "Student Submissions" will collect all student uploads done using the Panopto button's "Student" option. There may also be an "Assignments" folder for collecting submissions related to assignments. These two folders are similar but not functionally identical. We recommend letting Moodle handle video access and organization, not troubling too much over these course sub-folders.

Searching for a course folder in Panopto

To find our course folder by searching (recommended):

  1. Select the Browse button from the left hand side in Panopto
  2. Copy-paste the full section and semester code into the search bar e.g. "PHCRT-2000-1-2020FA"
  3. Because this uniquely identifies the course, the Course Folder will always appear, usually as the first result. Note that one or more assignments folders may appear, too. If we accidentally select our Assignments folder, we can click the up arrow icon to move to its parent folder, the Course Folder.

To find our course folder by browsing:

  1. Open the same Browse menu used above
  2. Drill down from the Moodle folder to the semester e.g. "2021SP" to the department code e.g. PHCRT
    1. Colocated courses are an exception; they are under "Metacourses" instead of a department code
  3. Locate the Course Folder by name e.g. "PHCRT-2000-1-2021SP: Techno Ethics"

Student Submissions Folder

All media uploads added from Moodle using the Panopto button's "Student Submission" option go to this sub-folder underneath our course folder. This tends to be simpler than using Assignments folders because students do not need to select where their uploads go: regardless of what folder they choose when uploading the video, a copy of the video is added under Student Submissions. By default, the folder is hidden from students. However, they may be able to see each other's videos in Moodle. For instance, if we create a Forum activity where students can see each other's posts, they could add Panopto videos to these posts and see them, with no additional configuration on our part.

Students retain a copy of videos added to the Student Submissions folder. For instance, they can upload it to their personal folder or into a subfolder to keep items organized. This lets us collect student work but prevents them from modifying items after they've been submitted. In general, we will want to leave all student works in our Student Submissions folder. We can organize the videos into sub-folders if you want—this will not affect their availability in Moodle.

We recommend using the Student Submissions folder instead of the Assignments folder because it is simpler for faculty and reduces the chance of student error. Students have struggled when asked to upload into Assignments folders, but giving them explicit instructions can help them.

Assignments Folders

Inside each Course Folder, we can use special Assignments folders to collect student work in a controlled manner inside of Panopto. Our course may or may not have an Assignments folder by default. They have the same name as the Course Folder except for a postfix of "[assignments]." So, for our Techno Ethics example, the Assignments folder is named "PHCRT-2000-1-2020FA: Techno Ethics [assignments]". Students can upload to our course's assignments folders but, by default, cannot see each other's videos nor edit previously uploaded videos.

To create an Assignments folder:

  • go to your Course Folder (see how to browse to it above)
  • open the settings gear
  • on the Overview tab, select Create Assignment Folder underneath the Assignment Folder heading

To close an assignments folder so students can no longer submit to it:

  • go to your Course Folder as before
  • open the settings gear
  • on the Overview tab, select Close underneath the Assignment Folder heading

To use multiple assignments in one course:

We may want to use multiple assignment folders. For instance, we may ask students to critique each other's videos but later want them to submit a private final product. When we are done collecting videos for an assignment, we can Close the first Assignments folder. This prevents students from uploading to it and adds a "[closed: (date)]" postfix to its name e.g. "PHCRT-2000-1-2020FA: Techno Ethics [assignments] [closed: 2020-09-23]". Next, we can create a new Assignments folder. By default, in the new folder, students will not see each other's videos.

To let students see each other's sessions in the Assignments folder:

  • go to the Assignments folder (we can click the Course settings link in Moodle's Panopto block to access its parent Course Folder easily)
  • then select the gear icon from the upper right
  • on the Settings tab of the folder settings, select the checkbox for "Allow viewers to see each other's sessions."

Learn more about Assignment folders from Panopto's own documentation.

The Panopto Block in Moodle

The "Panopto Block" is a Moodle tool that communicates essential information between Moodle and Panopto. By default—starting with the Spring 2021 semester—we add the Panopto Block to all CCA courses.

If, for some reason, the Panopto Block is absent from our Moodle course, we can add it easily:

  1. Log into Moodle and visit the course
  2. Turn editing on
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the column on the left and select "Add a block" (this option will not appear unless you are on your course page and have turned editing on)
  4. Choose Panopto from the list of choices

Use Pages and not Labels in Moodle

It is a Best Practice to put Panopto videos, and all other media in your Moodle course, on a Page resource rather than a Label. Doing so increases the page load time of the course home page, which makes it more accessible for users with a variety of computing devices and internet speeds.

Why use a Page and not a Label? A Label puts content on the course home page; all the content in all your Labels will load when you visit the course home page. If you have many videos, images, or other media, they are all loaded every time a student visits the home page. This makes the most used part of your Moodle course the slowest. Note that this problem occurs even if you are using the Collapsed Topics course format and hiding some media in a collapsed section. When using a Page, on the other hand, media only loads once the student accesses the Page itself.

Are there any exceptions to this best practice? Yes, it is OK to have one or two pieces of media on your course home page. A single introductory video in a Label makes sense; having one video for every week causes problems.

Sharing Videos in Moodle

Panopto automatically creates a folder for every course and, if we have the Panopto Block, provides viewer access to that folder for all enrolled students. We can now share videos anywhere you see the Moodle text editor. You have text editors in almost every tool in Moodle (assignments, forums, pages, labels, etc.). Follow these steps to share a video:

  1. Click the green Panopto icon in the Text Editor (between "Manage Files" and "Underline").
  2. Select "Instructor" from the small drop-down menu beneath the button.
  3. An "Insert from Panopto" window opens.
  4. If we've already added content to Panopto, we can "Choose" it. We can click "Upload" to add a video we have on your computer. We can "Record" a new video (this will prompt a download of the Panopto desktop application if we do not already have it).
  5. Click "Insert," and our video will appear in the Text Editor! Save changes, and now the video is available to our students.

Using a Video in Multiple Courses

We can do one of two things to add a video from another course: insert it into a text area in Moodle or use Moodle's tools to import the video into the second course. See this tutorial video for a visual representation of the process (CCA sign-in required).

Inserting a video to a second course works the same as adding it to the first course—use Moodle's text editor and the steps outlined above to insert the video. We no longer need to copy the video and add it to the second course folder. Videos inserted by selecting "Instructor" from the Panopto button in the text editor are accessible to our students regardless of their Panopto folder.

Importing via Moodle

This approach is suitable if our video is isolated and has a lot of context surrounding it in Moodle. For instance, if a video is on an Assignment activity or informational Page resource which we want to copy in its entirety to another course. Read more about Moodle importing here.

  1. Sign in to the destination course & use its gear icon to import
  2. Locate & select the origin course (e.g. by searching for its section code, "PHCRT-2000-1-2021SP")
  3. We can leave the first page of checkboxes and proceed to the next page, which shows all the elements of the original course. We may uncheck everything by selecting none, then pick first the section (topic or week) that contains the specific element (Page, Assignment, Forum, etc.) with the Panopto video
  4. Finish the import. We are shown the destination course with the newly imported content

Note that if we do not copy a video but add it to more than one course, any updates to the video in Panopto will be reflected in all the Moodle courses it has been added to.

Using Panopto in an Assignment

If we want students to use Panopto, we should use an "online text" assignment. In Moodle's "Common Elements for Courses" course there is a recommended assignment template named Submit a video via Panopto, which we can import into our course.

Here is how to create one for ourselves:

  1. Go to your course and Turn editing on as normal
  2. Add an activity or resource to the desired topic or week, select the Assignment activity
  3. We strongly recommend adding our "instructions for students" (see below)
  4. Under the Submission Types settings, select Online text
  5. Finish configuring the rest of the settings, then select the blue Save button

Instructions for Students

Students can use Moodle's native media or video features to add a video outside of Panopto. For those reasons, we recommend adding the following instructions, hyperlinks included, to the Description field of your Assignment:

"Please submit a video via Panopto for this assignment. To do so: select the green Panopto icon in the text editor, choose Student, then choose or upload a pre-existing video file or record a new one into the course "assignments" folder (requires downloading the Panopto app). You can view a Panopto tutorial for students here."

Do you want students to see each others' submissions?

We can use a Forum activity instead of an assignment. If students can see each other's posts, they can also see the videos embedded in them.

If we're using an Assignments folder, there is one additional step:

  1. We go to our course folder in Panopto, then enter its "[assignments]" subfolder
  2. Select the assignments folder's Settings (gear icon), then the Settings tab within the settings
  3. Check the box next to "Allow viewer's to see each other's sessions"

Why am I receiving access request emails for my video?

This occurs when we have a video we posted somewhere without giving it the proper sharing permissions. Here are examples of mistakes that lead to this:

  • An instructor posts a video to their Moodle site without adding the Panopto block.
  • An instructor or student copies a link or embed code directly from Panopto instead of using the button in the Moodle text editor.

In the second scenario, the video can be moved or copied into the Course Folder, and it will become visible to students. A student can move their video to the course Assignments folder, and it will become visible to the instructor.

In general, when we see this problem for a video posted to Moodle, one of two things has happened: 1) the instructor did not add the Panopto block to the course, or 2) the video was not added in the recommended way, using the Panopto button. Locate the video in Panopto to confirm its location; if it is not in the Course Folder, use the Move button to put it there. If the video is in another course's folder, then Copy it and link to the copy to avoid causing the original course to lose access.

If we are experiencing this problem with a video not related to a Moodle course, then check the video's Sharing settings. If we receive an access request email, it means the video must have been shared with someone who cannot view it. This occurs by posting a video shared only with specific people to a public or CCA-only website. The sharing choices "Public (unlisted)" or "Your Organization (unlisted)" are the most suitable for widely distributed videos.