Panopto powers video for Remote Teaching at GVSU

Adopted in the spring of 2018, Panopto is GVSU’s enterprise instructional video platform.

Panopto was chosen to support teaching and learning through Grand Valley State University’s 2021 Strategic Plan in the following areas:

  • Encouraging innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.
  • Increasing focus on digital learning.
  • Building digital literacy skills among students.
  • Focusing on ensuring inclusiveness and accessibility.

Use of Panopto video streaming continues to grow, and in fact, a significant increase was noticed as GVSU pivoted to remote teaching in March.

Notable is a +500% increase in average viewers from 2,000 to 12,000 and roughly a +815% increase in the amount of video watched.

Bar chart showing weekly usage of Panopto with a large increase beginning on March 11 and running through April 15. A red vertical line marks the before and after the switch to remote teaching.

Semester Breakdown

Semester Bb Courses w/Panopto Content Courses w/Assignment LTI (Videos with embedded quizzes)
Spring/Summer 2018 48 1
Fall 2018 259 11
Winter 2019 364 20
Spring/Summer 2019 147 14
Fall 2019 380 27
Winter 2020 1017 49

Total Hours Watched

Total Hours 187,595

Semester Hours
Spring/Summer 2018 3,907
Fall 2018 19,534
Winter 2019 26,292
Spring/Summer 2019 12,689
Fall 2019 29,173
Winter 2020 96,000


Teaching at GVSU?

Head on over to our web page for more information
and help in creating engaging course content
to support student success!

GO TO: Panopto at GVSU

GVSU participates in Panopto Focus Users Conference


This summer GVSU’s eLearning Team Digital Media Developers traveled to Seattle Washington to attend the 2019 Panopto Focus Conference.

After GVSU’s successful first full year with Panopto the team was excited to learn new ways to use Panopto to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff at GVSU as well as address some of the challenges that were found in the 2018-2019 academic year. Specifically, the eLearning team was excited to learn more about how other institutions implemented Panopto in ways to encourage faculty to create and share short (5-10 minute long) videos as well as better integrate Panopto into Blackboard. 

Below are the notes from the team on the various sessions that were attended at Panopto Focus 2019: 

Opening Session – Dave Cormier

The opening keynote presented by Dave Cormier the original coiner of the term MOOC discussed Rhizomatic view of curriculum and a transfer away from pedagogy to andragogy to encourage independence and curiosity in learning. 

[extrinsic motivators] improve performance in ‘algorithmic’, or repetitious tasks but are less effective or even counterproductive at ‘heuristic’ tasks that require creativity, concentration, or intuition. (Grant and Green)

To do so educators must… 

  • Build common ground and language from the start
  • Show what students are learning is part of larger complex ecosystem
  • Design courses so learners can follow their own path and show how the learning impacts their life not just for course content and assessment
  • Measure effort endorse independence and creativity
  • Simple Project
    • Simple straight forward solutions
    • No subject matter expert needed
  • Complicated Project
    • Long, but straight forward set of steps
    • Need a subject matter expert
  • Complex Project
    • Only able to work on part of the problem
    • Teacher that cultivates a solution
    • Need to create a product that can efficiently be use and changed with the times
  • Trying to encourage independence and collaboration in complex problems
    • Looking for answers, not THE answer
    • Be realistic about how long this takes
    • Making knowledge out of information
    • Doing this helps to create a course community
  • You don’t always start the day knowing what you need to learn 
  • Intrinsic motivation for learning
    • How to teach someone to learn without being behind them
    • Measure effort 

Live Streaming

  • Using HDMI to USB 3.0 Converter to stream external (non webcams)
    • Multiple camera setup in most rooms that this is done in
  • Omni Directional room mics
  • Ability to automatically identify viewers
  • Use cases
    • Professional development conferences
    • Student information sessions 
      • Maybe LIB 100 events?
      • Confirm student attendance
    • Assessment Review
      • Watching student groups live interacting in a simulation
      • Health fields
    • Intercampus communication
    • Cross-Campus teaching
      • Example: Physics prof in campus A, Math prof in campus B
  • Have a single person setup the stream and be the online moderator
  • General Equipment List
    • USB webcam or Prosumer camera with HDMI to USB adapter
    • Yeti mic or Rode Link (depends on scenario)

Panopto Tips and Tricks for Admins

This session by Creighton University’s Derek Horton and Brent Saltzman included some pointers for admins of Panopto including…

  • Panopto mobile app allows admins to keep an eye on remote recorders infrastructure, if they’re working, down, etc. just by reviewing the rooms available. 
  • Google analytics tracking ID allows admins to review metrics google provides as a supplement to what Panopto provides including browsers, location, current usage, if the ISP is of the university or external, device model (to include laptops or mobile), Average load time, etc. 
  • Panopto has a GitHub to pull code from. 

Co-Founder Eric Burns Keynote: Focus on the Future

  • 300 years of panopto video created total. 
  • Attendance counts indicated no difference with lecture capture/no lecture capture
  • Authenticity vs Facade – students want something rough and unpolished
  • Because of this Panopto promotes the one-take workflow.
  • Students love the talking head in Panopto presentations
  • Seeing the presenter helps the engagement
  • 41% of new videos capture 2 or more streams.

Big trends Panopto is finding include shift from hardware to software, normalization of video, rise of multi-steam content, consumerization of technology, and the death of client software.

Eric then premiered demo of in browser recorder as well as new app that looks identical 

Evidence of video’s importance? Students ran for student senate on pushing for video capture platforms and won!

Getting Campus Buy-In

Melissa Keonig from DePaul University shared their experience onboarding Panopto 2 years ago. Some key takeaways and understanding…

  • DePaul is not doing lecture capture. 
  • Had a streaming solution that was focused on private sector and instructional designers were the gatekeepers for that content to be put into the LMS for faculty. 
  • It didn’t have screencasting software built-in.  
  • Students didn’t have access to any of it beyond viewing. 

Their situation sounded similar to ours at Grand Valley a couple years ago. 

When looking for new solution they identified the gaps 

  • Integrated into LMS
  • Seamless
  • Reliable and easy as youtube
  • Screencasting capabilities
  • Analytics

On-Campus demos with major stakeholders- 

  • No vendor met all needs…
  • Panopto was the most willing to work with them and meet requirements

Stealthy implementation

  • No impact on faculty 
  • Marketed as improvement in service
    • Brought the tool in as a solution rather than an edict or mandate which made Buy-In WAY easier.
    • Said “We’re listening, we heard your complaints and this is what we found that works best”

First term had 3000 unique users from transferred content

By now (two years in) 7000 unique users and content 5000 to 14000 hours viewed

Worked with Faculty to identify best practices for recording and making content.

To get faculty to understand the importance of smart video creation they make (torture) faculty sit through a 40 minute video that is informative but incredibly boring. Faculty realize it’s awful to sit through and then they talk about how important it is to chunk and create short videos.

Be A Change Agent: Tools for Leaders

Finally Cara-Lyn Giovanniello a leadership and life coach discussed being an effective change agent to round out the entire conference. 

When owning your leadership- it’s up to you to decide if you’re a leader

Old belief systems + old ways of thinking = combust into difficult situations that we as facilitators have to push through 

When trying to push for changes tell them hard truths that come with leadership but still hold space for vulnerability 

Leaderships true north:

  • Know and Be Thyself
    • Know our values – What are your top 5 values? What do I really care about? What are my strengths? What can’t I live without?
    • Know and leverage your natural strengths
    • Be aware of sabotaging narratives
      • The natural feeling to not be in the limelight and take risks need to be pushed back if you want to be a leader
      • If you’re thinking about making a change do you think about what you can’t do or what you can do?
    • Seek out feedback
      • What haven’t I asked about the problem? 
  • Designed Alliance
    • Setting and understanding expectation
    • Pay attention to developing strong alliance and understanding EARLY in development “this is what we want to achieve, this is what makes me tick, you tell me yours”
      • Begins a partnership and puts it out in the open
    • WAIT Why Am I Talking?
    • First thing to do as leaders is listening
      • How do you listen well?
        • Internal level, listening to me – hear a problem and quickly addressed it in your head
        • External, You layer –  Zoom in on their words, use this level to articulate it back to them “I heard you say your problem is xyz, is that right?” 
        • Global us layer –  This includes body language and other non verbals
  • Active Listening – is a muscle along with leadership 

What to take away

You are a driver of change, once you….

  • Know your values
  • Lose the Saboteur narrative
  • Seek out feedback
  • Create alliances for collaborative success
  • and Actively listen

Panopto Roadmap

  • 3-18 month roadmap
  • Course copy
    • Pick which videos you want to copy
      • Embedded vs. Course folder videos
      • Won’t copy student data (quiz results, notes, discussion)
  • Folder descriptions/tags
  • Video title search within LMS
  • Panopto Snap
    • No installation
    • Browser based
    • Works with chromebooks
    • In the future they’ll have trim editing built in
    • Trim silence automatically, button press
    • One button to record using Snap in LMS
      • Seems like maybe not in Bb because of their mashup system?
    • Beta now-ish
    • Launch maybe December, Spring at the latest
  • New mobile app
    • Search is constant
    • Remembers where you left off in videos
    • Subscriptions
      • Maybe good of a faculty member wants to have all their videos open from the start of a course
  • Video reactions
    • Can be put at a specific point in the video
  • Students can ask a question at a specific point in a video
    • Instructors get notified of this and students get notified when instructors respond to their questions
  • Analytics built into the folder (basically at the top)
    • Pretty much impossible to ignore the analytics now
  • Importing LMS departmental hierarchy
    • Auto create departments based on LMS settings
    • This is really exciting if we can make it right, sets us up really well for the future

The eLearning Team welcomes New Faculty at GVSU!



On, Wednesday, August 7, New Faculty Orientation kicks off with over 100 faculty participating in 2 days of sessions focused on equipping and preparing new faculty at Grand Valley State University.

From 1 to 3pm, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team will share a wealth of tips and strategies to leverage technology in teaching through break out sessions,  #EDTECH demonstrations, and consultations.

Specific sessions by the eLearning team include:

This post features a variety of technologies and resources that are available to faculty at GVSU.

Who is the eLearning team and what do they do?

Our eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is on mission to supporting faculty pursuing innovation in teaching an learning.

Our team provides a wide array of services and resources designed to facilitate digital learning at GVSU through supporting faculty in delivering high quality, innovative teaching.

We support faculty, contribute to teaching excellence, and enhance student success through:

What enterprise technologies are available at GVSU?

Look no further then our Teaching and Learning with Technology Guide!


New to Blackboard?

Here are a few resources to help you get started!

  1. Checklist for getting started with Blackboard
  2. Tips for teaching and learning with Blackboard
  3. Facilitating live office hours and video conferencing with Collaborate
  4. Checking accessibility of your course content with Ally



Interested in kicking-it-up-a-notch with video?

Check out the Digital Studio, Lightboard, and get help with using Panopto, our streaming video solution at GVSU!

Need instructional design support in teaching online?

Join a growing movement in higher education by learning to teach an online or hybrid course. The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team includes instructional designers in IDeL focused on providing expert guidance in designing high quality courses.

We’re here to help!

Visit our eLearning and Emerging Technologies web page to connect with a plethora of possibilities in teaching and learning with technology at GVSU!


Leveraging Blackboard and Panopto for Student FERPA Training

Working in collaboration with the Registrar’s Office at GVSU, the eLearning team provided assistance in leveraging Blackboard and Panopto to help save time and to manage FERPA training for student employees and student graders. Previously, the Registrar’s office was conducting periodic face-to-face, group sessions where students received the training, took a quiz and completed a confidentiality form. Now, the entire process is handled completely online, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the training.


In developing the training, first, a short video was created using the Panopto recorder. Using Panopto’s in video quiz feature, a series of questions were embedded into the video to check a student’s understanding and knowledge of FERPA’s rules and regulations. The video was then integrated into a special Blackboard organization as a Panopto assignment. All of the enrolled students are required to watch the video and complete the quiz questions.


After successfully completing the quizzes, students are then given access to a “Confidentiality Agreement and Security Policy” form using Blackboard’s Adaptive Release tool. The Adaptive Release rule was configured so that only those students who achieved a score of 100% on the quizzes could see and access the form. Students are then required to digitally sign the form and submit it as a Blackboard Assignment for final approval.

To further streamline the communication process as to when students watch the video, take the quiz, and submit the confidentiality policy, the Registrar’s office has configured the organization’s Blackboard Notification settings to automatically email the office when the student’s submitted confidentiality form is in need of grading.

The use of Blackboard has enabled the Registrar’s office to more efficiently train and equip students with the required FERPA training, saving staff time and resources, while ensuring compliance.

Learn more about using Panopto to create instructional video and embedded quizzes, or Blackboard’s assignment, adaptive release or notification features by contacting the eLearning team!

ELI Key Issues in Teaching and Learning

keyissues2019ELIRecently, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative released the 2019 “Key Issues in Teaching and Learning“.

Each year, ELI surveys the higher education community to determine key issues and opportunities in postsecondary teaching and learning. These key issues serve as the framework, or focal points, for our discussions and programming throughout the coming year.

More than 1,400 community members voted, and the following were identified as the 2019 Key Issues.

This blog post captures the highlights from the ELI’s 2019 Key Issues with alignment and connection to the work of the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU.


1 – Faculty Development & Engagement

ELI1The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU is on mission to engage with faculty and to “Support faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning…”

Innovation in teaching and learning happens when technology is creatively applied to craft active learning techniques that help students most efficiently achieve learning objectives.

The following facets of the eLearning team provide effective faculty development at GVSU:

From a professional development perspective, the eLearning team offers: consultations and coaching, on demand support, seminars and workshops, a teaching and technology podcast, tips for teaching with technology, faculty learning communities, video “TECHBytes”, and a “Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium” that has been held for 18 years.

2 – Online & Blending Learning

ELI2Distance education continues to grow at GVSU with a +25% increase in enrollment in online/hybrid classes since 2017.  With over 5,000 student enrollments in the Fall 2018 semester, just over 17% of all students are taking at least 1 online or hybrid course.

To support distance education initiatives, eLearning and Emerging Technologies has trained over 250 faculty to teach online/hybrid classes in the past year through the Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development and Delivery course.

As one of the most desired professional development opportunities, the “Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development and Delivery” workshop  is a required training for all faculty that teach an online or a hybrid class at GVSU. As part of this professional development, Blackboard competencies are also required.

As faculty begin to engage with online and blended learning, and construct courses to serve remote learners, the skills and techniques learned also provide extensive benefits to on-campus students as well.

3 – Instructional & Learning Experience Design

ELI3Through the IDeL group of instructional designers, the eLearning team facilitates faculty learning communities on the topic of online teaching and learning, enhancing the skills of faculty. The instructional designers have also established TIP (theory into practice) sheets, offering guidance to faculty in the use of student feedback to help shape and improve teaching.

The eLearning team also hosts regular weekly open office hours to connect directly with faculty, enabling opportunities to focus on learning experience design by leveraging technology.

Finally, each year, the eLearning team organizes the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium to provide a venue to showcase unique innovative pedagogical approaches based on peer experience in delivering high quality courses.

4 – Digital & Information Literacy

ELI4GVSU has established opportunities for students to build literacy and fluency as it relates to the use of everything digital. The eLearning team supports equipping the digital literacy of students and the campus community by offering a variety of enterprise applications and services.

The eLearning Digital Studio maintains a vast project list that provides great breadth and depth of leveraging to technology that contributes to dialogue around 21st century literacy skills for students.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, and a wide array of other emerging technologies are provided to students through the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

Further, the eLearning team is looking into the future by working collaboratively to establish more support for student-based digital media creation at GVSU through a potential “Digital Media Center“.

5 – Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

ELI5Diversity, equity, and inclusion is “built-in to the DNA” at GVSU through the university’s vision:  “GVSU demonstrates its commitment to providing an inclusive learning environment where all students can explore new directions, find their niches, and develop skills for life and productive careers.”

The eLearning team focuses on supporting inclusive education through accessibility and UDL by equipping faculty. Blackboard Ally was adopted and put into production at GVSU in the summer of 2018 to:  generate awareness, build capacity, and increase institutional oversight of accessibility.

In addition, Panopto was implemented to provide video caption capability for faculty who are using instructional video content in their teaching. Both Ally and Panopto support the principles of inclusive education through accessibility and UDL.

6 – Competency and New Methods of Assessment

ELI6eLearning facilitated the implementation of open badges for faculty professional development in partnership with the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center and University Libraries at GVSU.  In fact, the first badge awarded at GVSU was eLearning and Emerging Technologies’s “#EdTech Summer Teaching Institute” badge. Further, 7 badges are currently offered by eLearning, including 4 Blackboard badges, a digital media badge, and a badge for the successful completion of Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development and Delivery.

GVSU also offers a variety of credit and non-credit student badges such as mobile computing, data analytics, and cybersecurity.

7 – Learning Analytics

ELI7Taking advantage of “big” data and “small” data through analytics offers many opportunities.

BIG data, meaning the large scale and mass amounts of data that can inform strategic decisions. Also, SMALL data in the use of course level information about students and their levels of engagement in their courses. Solutions that include early alert, intervention, and that provide student insights empower faculty and advisors with unique capabilities in the support of early alert to improve student retention.

Applications such as Starfish Retention Solutions and Blackboard Predict provide capabilities to inform faculty and advisors with students at-risk through early alert, and also at the individual instructor level through in course tools such as the Blackboard Retention Center.

Notable also is “Clicks, Grades, Engagement, and Student Success” whereby, Blackboard has provided research in how successful students are using learning management system tools based on learning analytics.

“The most successful students are those who access MyGrades most frequently; students doing poorly do not access their grades. Students who never access their grades are more likely to fail than students who access them at least once.”

8 – Open Education

ELI8GVSU has been involved in the open education resources (OER) movement for many years, and most recently has seen a growth in the adoption and use of #OER in teaching and learning. For example, there have been several adoptions of OpenStax textbooks in Chemistry and Mathematics and a new interdisciplinary team lead by the university’s library is helping to coordinate resources and raise awareness.

In fact, GVSU has been participating with the K-12 community through the #GOOPEN initiative as part of the US Department of Education’s goal to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials to transform teaching and learning. GVSU joined the K-12 #GOOPEN initiative in January last year.

Further, there has been activity across the state for several years, and one recent example is the #MIOERSummit, which brought together faculty across the state with the goal of improving student success through the use and adoption of OER. At GVSU, students have saved over $480,000 in textbook costs, with 3000+ course sections each semester that require no paper textbook.

9 – Evaluating Instructional & Learning Innovations


Gathering data to inform decision making enables measurement and supports continuous quality improvement.

The eLearning team has used surveys to gather improvement recommendations for the Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Design and Development course, Blackboard, and also the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research survey of faculty and students and their attitudes and use of technology in education.

10 – Academic Transformation


The eLearning team aligns with GVSU’s 2021 Strategic Plan in the following areas that support academic transformation and innovative faculty development and strategic academic transformation:

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.2: At least 93% of faculty members regularly use electronic course management tools, such as Blackboard, in their teaching.

Objective 3.D.2: At least 30% of undergraduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and formats, such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented.

Objective 3.D.3: At least 30% of graduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented.

Objective 4.D.1: Effective technologies are integrated into every function and structure across the institution.

As part of the eLearning team’s work toward academic transformation, the latest emerging technologies are a focus of the Atomic Object Technology Showcase. The mission of the showcase is to provide faculty, staff, and students with an immersive and engaging environment to: interactdiscoverlearn, and share how innovative emerging technologies can enhance teaching and improve student learning at GVSU. With over 40 emerging technology exhibits that include virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D printing and makerspace, the showcase is an outstanding and very unique example of education, technology, and innovation.

See also: “EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative ‘2018 Key Issues’ Meet the Initiatives in eLearning at GVSU


Designing Quality Courses in Blackboard with Cheryl Kautz

kautzcSit back, relax, and watch as Cheryl Kautz, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU guides you through her CIS 231 course in Blackboard.



As a previous “Blackboard Exemplary Course Award” and “Most Inclusive Classroom Award” recipient, Cheryl focuses on using quality course design methods including key tools in Blackboard such as Blackboard Ally for accessibility (eg. Syllabus, course content etc. includes alternative formats such as audio only), Panopto for video with popup formative quizzes, and tips for improving navigation including using course links to keep students on track and to provide easier navigation.

Highlighted in Cheryl’s course tour are the following design principles in using Blackboard to delivery quality instruction at GVSU.

Streamlined Course Menu

Customizing the course menu provides students with a simple and easy way to navigate the areas of her course. When designing your menu, aim to keep your navigation areas as clean, short and simple as possible. Use headings and dividers to break up the menu into chunks.


Course Links

Course Links assists students with navigating and jumping from section to section in a course site. Using Blackboard Course Links ensures students can easily navigate to other areas of your course quickly.


Checking for Accessibility with Blackboard Ally

Cheryl has dedicated time for inclusive learning by ensuring the content uploaded is accessible with Blackboard Ally. A GREEN indicator indicates that the file has a good rating. Yellow or red indicators appear when a file has low or poor levels of web accessibility.


Students benefit from using Blackboard Ally by accessing alternative file formats such as audio only.


Getting Started

Establish a “Getting Started” content area to help students “get started”. This area of Cheryl’s course provides:

  • links to “Are you ready for online learning at GVSU”
  • encouraging students to upload a Blackboard profile picture for increased engagement
  • an introductory Blackboard blog post for student to student interaction
  • a course link directing students to begin the “week 1 tasks”

Weekly Folders

Each weekly folder uses a consistent design and includes key dates and reminders such as midterm, spring break, final exams, and most importantly the objectives to be covered. The objectives are connected to the learning activities and assessments to inform students clearly about what they are expected to accomplish throughout the week which is good instructional design.


Inside of each weekly folder, students are presented with a “To Do” instruction list, practice assignments, video lectures, discussions, projects, quizzes, audio PowerPoints, and homework help.


Panopto Videos with Quizzes

Cheryl uses Panopto to present video based instruction with quizzes to check for students’ understanding and to provide formative feedback.



eLearning and Emerging Technologies Team offers Course Design and Development Support

As you build courses in Blackboard, please feel free to reach out to the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team for assistance in most effectively leveraging the use of Blackboard in your teaching at GVSU. We’re here to help!

Top 8 Posts from 2018

At GVSU, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is here to support faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning. Our team is dedicated to supporting faculty, contributing to teaching excellence, and enhancing student success through:

  • exemplary instructional design
  • effective application and integration of instructional technologies
  • interactive digital media development
  • administration and enhancement of the university’s enterprise learning management system (Blackboard)
  • deployment of innovative emerging technologies


Reflecting back on 2018, we would like to recognize and celebrate the work of faculty at GVSU in their efforts to advance education through the application of technology in teaching.

Here are the top 8 posts from the eLearning blog in the year 2018:

1 – 7 Things you didn’t know that Blackboard can do!

2 – GVSU selects Blackboard Ally to Support Inclusive Education

3 – First ever hackGVSU ‘Hackathon’ brings Innovative Ideas to Enhance Blackboard at GVSU

4 – Applying the Blackboard LMS to TPACK

5 – Teaching with the Lightboard at GVSU

6 – EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative “2018 Key Issues” meet the Initiatives in eLearning at GVSU

7– eLearning Team celebrates receiving the 2018 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Professional Development

8 – GVSU selects Panopto to Increase Accessibility and Enhance Teaching with Video

eLearning attends Panopto’s 2018 North American User Conference

panopto user conference 2018

eLearning Digital Media Developers, Justin Melick and Hunter Bridwell attended Panopto’s 2018 North American User Conference on October 2, 2018 in Chicago, IL. This event brought together colleges, universities and Panopto staff from across the nation together to connect, share, and learn how video can enhance teaching.

Panopto conference keynote session.

See also: 

There were keynote sessions, product roadmap discussions, and breakouts on a variety of topics such as: accessible video, best practices in training, panels with experts and more!


Hunter Bridwell captured some notes from a variety of sessions with the following highlights being most noteworthy:

  • Closed Captioning at Brown University
    • Goal to ensure compliance with ADA
    • Accessibility reflects the university’s core values
    • Move toward a spirit of ADA and not just meet letter of law
    • Pushed for funding using the central mission to the university
    • Buy-in and commitment from community
    • Demonstrate need for captions and funding amount
    • Prioritize content to be caption
      • Academic and public facing video first
      • Videos likely to be reused
      • Materials for online courses
      • Materials for individuals you need it
    • Where do we want to land? Caption everything? Huge challenge!
    • End of 2018 around 1200 hours of captions
    • Events 41.8% and Academic 58.2% have been captioned
    • Impact on learning
      • 98.6 of students who use captions
      • 75 of student who use captions say they help as learning aid
      • 71% of students without hearing difficulties use captions
  • Panopto Environments and Accessibility Solutions – The Science and Art of Video Accessibility and Case studies in Accessible Video

“All of the great advances in our society have come when we’ve made investments in other people’s children.” – Robert Putnam

    • What’s the future and why it’s up to us?
    • University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
      • Since 2017 average student population includes: 77% economic disadvantage, 65% female, 47% first gen, minority all 28%, native american 16%.
      • The challenge – while recognized as one of the most affordable liberal arts colleges, fell behind in leveraging technology.
      • Felt better use of EdTech would improve student achievement through technology enhanced instruction.
      • Wanted to ensure USAO courses were designed with accessibility in mind.
      • 2016 Department of Education grant for NASNTI program $1.7 million Title 3 grant to use Panopto to capture and deliver a 4 year interdisciplinary studies curriculum with AST standards.
        • Baseline data and Panopto
        • GPA rose 12.7%, Retention 3.2%
        • Hidden Benefits – Preserves the Kiowa language

Justin Melick captured some notes from a variety of sessions with the following highlights being most noteworthy:

“Show us your Ecosystem”

Virginia Commonwealth CC
  • Deliver synchronous/asynchronous courses
  • Use Panopto, Bb Collaborate and Zoom
  • Panopto since 2010
    • Started with pure lecture capture
    • Moving towards asynchronous “mini-lectures”
    • 90% used by academic departments
    • Used for online orientations
    • Streaming live events
    • Capture device in each classroom
      • Webcam, ceiling mics, doc cam
  • Bb Collaborate
    • Web-conferences, office hours
    • 100% used by academic departments
  • Zoom
    • Replacing Cisco ITV
      • Significantly cheaper
    • Integrated into Panopto
      • Stores Zoom recordings
Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania
  • Mainly use Panopto for classroom lecture capture
    • Use with Canvas
    • Capturing rear camera and then screen sources
    • Force systems to reboot overnight to avoid sync issues
  • Student speech capture
    • iPad minis on tripods
    • Using Panopto app
  • 40 remote recorders
    • Not doing a ton of lecture capture
  • 42k video assets
  • Use for live web casting
  • No video retention policy because of Panopto
  • Using student assignment folders
University of Washington
  • Built a custom room scheduler integration that talks between the universities room reservation system and Panopto
  • Crestron integration
  • 55 remote recorders


Learn more about Panopto at GVSU on our eLearning website.

Enhancing Teaching with Panopto and Blackboard Ally at GVSU

With 5 weeks into the Fall semester, this post provides a few highlights around the use of Panopto and Blackboard Ally in teaching and learning at GVSU. Deployed this past summer, these technologies are available now to all faculty, staff, and students at Grand Valley State University to enhance education and support student success.


Panopto replaced Ensemble and TechSmith Relay in the summer of 2018, with the migration of content being completed on June 30. GVSU adopted Panopto to increase the capabilities to best leverage media-rich content in teaching. In addition to more powerful tools such as searching, embedded video quizzes, and discussions, creating closed captions was made easier for faculty.

Ally connects to the GVSU 2021 Strategic Plan in the following areas:

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.2: At least 93% of faculty members regularly use electronic course management tools, such as Blackboard, in their teaching.

Objective 3.B.1: All systems and policies ensure inclusiveness and accessibility.

Objective 4.D.1: Effective technologies are integrated into every function and structure across the institution.

Inclusiveness/Access – Incorporating multiple voices and experiences by valuing identities, perspectives, and backgrounds.  Strengthening and expanding possibilities through technology to increase accessibility and remove barriers.


Here are a few usage stats of Panopto as of August 1, 2018:

  • 2371 videos have been created
  • Approximately 98 assignment folders have been established, allowing students the ability to easily submit a video for an assessment
  • 99 hours of video (on average) is being viewed per day
  • There has been a total of 7968 viewing / usage hours
  • 9710 total users on Panopto with 1056 faculty accounts and 8654 student accounts
  • 103 faculty and staff have installed Panopto on their Windows 10 PC or laptop
  • Training sessions: 7 sessions in the Spring, 7 sessions in the Fall, with additional support offered to faculty in Drop-Ins, eLearning Open Office Hours, Big Byte and Faculty Learning Communities as well as individual consultations.

Panopto has been a success at GVSU in providing a unique and engaging way for faculty to deliver high quality instructional content. Further, it extends the capabilities available to faculty while enabling closed captions to be added for accessibility.

“I jumped right in to using Panopto because I had a Spring online course to prep. I am thrilled to report it is easy to use. I can make videos and upload them for near immediate use – a great improvement over the old system. Editing videos is easier, and I particularly like the feature that allows me to add quiz questions. Especially, teaching online, being able to add a couple questions to incentivize students to watch the whole video, and check they understood it, is a great bonus pedagogically. I also find the viewership metrics incredibly handy. They provide real insight into students’ work habits.” – Jeff Rothstein, Sociology

Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally was put into production and made available to all students, faculty, and staff on June 21. Ally was adopted at GVSU to increase awareness of the importance of accessibility and ADA compliance, build the capacity of faculty in creating accessible content, and to offer greater insight at the institutional level.

Ally connects to the GVSU 2021 Strategic Plan in the following areas:

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.2: At least 93% of faculty members regularly use electronic course management tools, such as Blackboard, in their teaching.

Objective 4.D.1: Effective technologies are integrated into every function and structure across the institution.

Objective 3.B.1: All systems and policies ensure inclusiveness and accessibility.

Inclusiveness/Access – Incorporating multiple voices and experiences by valuing identities, perspectives, and backgrounds.  Strengthening and expanding possibilities through technology to increase accessibility and remove barriers.

Since June 11, and overall, 107 faculty have fixed 406 files in 129 courses and students have downloaded 2862 alternative formats from 786 courses. Usage stats of Ally as of August 27 (semester start) to October 18, 2018 include the following:

Graphs of Total Courses (3,672), Total Content (160,344), and Overall Accessibility Score (62%) from Blackboard Ally

Since deploying Blackboard Ally, the Overall Accessibility Score reported by the institutional dashboard shows an increase of 16 percentage points.

Graph showing Blackboard Ally accessibility score increasing with 62%, up from 46% the previous semester.

For courses in the Fall 2018 (since August 27) semester:

  • 3,724 courses include content
  • There have been over 209,000 total content items created and scanned by Ally
  • 62% is the “Overall Accessibility Score” (58% without Ally) indicating improvements made through Ally’s alternative formats.
  • Top 3 most common accessibility concerns include:
    • Contrast Issues
    • Missing Document Headers
    • Images without Alternative Descriptions
  • Most severe accessibility concern:
    • Non-OCRed Documents
  • Training sessions: 1 session in Spring included UDL, 2 in Fall with additional support offered to faculty in Drop-Ins, eLearning Open Office Hours, Big Byte and Faculty Learning Communities as well as individual consultations
  • 125 files have been manually fixed by faculty in 38 courses
  • The most popular alternative format is PDF, followed by HTML

Graph of the numbers of access of alternative file types showing 1,584 accessed of PDF files, 959 accesses of HTML, 111 accesses of ePub, 108 accesses of OCR PDFs, 69 accesses of audio, and 5 of braille.

Overall, from June 11 until October 2, in Blackboard Ally:

  • 406 files have been fixed by 107 faculty in 129 courses
  • 2,862 alternative files have been downloaded by students in 786 courses (5,205 total views of the alternative file format screen)
  • 1,000 courses have 2,558 registered clicks of Ally dials by faculty

In addition, Jeff Sykes, Assistive Technology Coordinator in  Disability Support Resources, has demonstrated how to access alternate formats in Blackboard while meeting with students who use alternate format books. In the Fall 2018 semester, 40 students are using alternative format books as an accommodation.  The “Ally feature is benefiting any of those students who have a course that uses inaccessible documents posted to Blackboard.”

“Ally documents evidence of my efforts as faculty to make my teaching more accessible.

Through incremental changes Ally guides me step by step to adjust course files.  As I’m learning how to use Word better, all other file formats are generated in my course automatically.

Ally uses gamification to indicate my progress in making files student-friendly.  Getting to 100% is an emotional rush!”

– Szymon Machajewski, CIS Affiliate Professor, teaching CIS150 in the School of Computing and Information Systems and recipient of the Most Inclusive Classrooms in the United States.

Helping ALL STUDENTS be SUCCESSFUL #Accessibility

Working to ensure ALL STUDENTS are SUCCESSFUL is a Grand Valley State University (GVSU) commitment. In fact, GVSU’s vision demonstrates this commitment to providing an inclusive learning environment where all students can explore new directions, find their niches, and develop skills for life and productive careers.  

In addition, one of GVSU’s value statements is “Inclusiveness”, whereby:

Inclusiveness – Incorporating multiple voices and experiences by valuing identities, perspectives, and backgrounds.  Strengthening and expanding possibilities through technology to increase accessibility and remove barriers.

Accessibility is not new. In fact, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and an amendment to this act in 1998 (Section 508) provides basic rights for people with disabilities along with specific requirements for electronic communication and information technologies. Further, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990.  In the past 28 years, there have been many advancements in technology and education has largely become digitized. The rapid growth of online learning and greater use of digital materials by faculty creates a unique challenge in the support of the accessibility of electronic documents, software, and web-based services.

This challenge is further strengthened by 11% of college students reporting a disability, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Here at GVSU, over 1,600 students, faculty, and staff have registered with the DSR office for disability related needs as of 2017. 

A few important questions to ask are:

  1. Can all of my students access and review my course content?
  2. To what degree is my course content accessible?
  3. How can I improve the accessibility of my courses?

The importance of these questions is underscored by this video (“To Care & Comply Accessibility of Online Content”) from Portland Community College.

GVSU’s accessibility efforts are facilitated through a campus wide approach that includes a wide array of departments, faculty, and staff. The Division of Inclusion and Equity leads the university’s work in providing a campus wide framework for equity and inclusion. 

Focusing on teaching and learning, GVSU’s eLearning team, along with the Disability Support Resources (DSR) office provide accessibility awareness and training for faculty, and accommodation support for students. DSR focuses support on resources and accommodations that enhance the academic environment for persons with disabilities and to help educate the university community on disability issues. While DSR works more directly with students, GVSU’s eLearning team provides services to faculty, supporting their efforts to leverage technology in teaching, and to most effectively and efficiently use technology in an accessible way.

Specifically, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team supports the use of Panopto and Blackboard Ally to assist faculty in opening the door to education for all students by providing captioning and enhancing course content. In addition, the eLearning team has created a series of “Accessibility Tips for Faculty” to help support faculty.

  • Learn more about using Panopto to increase the accessibility of your videos with captioning.
  • Learn more about using Blackboard Ally to review your course content for accessibility, and to learn how to increase the compliance of  your files.

If you are a faculty member at GVSU, please know that we are here for you. eLearning and Emerging Technologies offers key support and services such as: