Lecture streaming using Panopto: three tips for your sessions

As some of you know, CEL staff run writing bootcamps for PGR students interested in applying for Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy through TeachBU. This is part of CEL’s training provision for PhD students who engage in teaching during their doctoral studies, following up from the Introduction to Education Practice course.

We run the bootcamps on Saturdays, as we find that PGR students are more able to focus an entire day and give a go at their writing. However, one of the challenges of this arrangement is that many PhD students are not based in the Dorset area…and here is where lecture streaming and capture has come to the rescue.

During our last session, we used Panopto so that one of our students could join us remotely. While we found it extremely effective, based in our experience we identified three points to consider when you plan Panopto interactive sessions:

  • Send materials in advance and/or have them available in an electronic location. In our case, we have some materials that can only be shared in hard copy, so we posted them in advance to the student, for them to work in parallel on the day.
  • Plan alternative channels of communication that can be used without disturbing students in the physical classroom. It is paramount that the students joining remotely have the possibility of participating synchronically, and for this Panopto has an embedded chat. In our case, however, we used WhatsApp, so that I could communicate with our student through my mobile, while facilitating in the classroom.
  • Have a Plan B. In previous research tutorials and training consultancy I have used other web conferencing services such as BlackBoard Collaborate (available through myBU), Skype screen sharing and BlueJeans (not supported at BU). All of these are very good options, but some familiarity with the interface might be needed in advance.

The feedback from our student speaks volumes: “I just want to thank you very much for the extra mile that you were going to…accommodate my remoteness”.

Have you tried Panopto for lecture streaming? What about other video conferencing services? Feel free to share in the comments section below.


Jacqueline Priego is a research fellow at BU’s Centre for Excellence in Learning, having previously curated the research blog Favelas@LSE. She has worked in social research for over nine years, specialising in qualitative and mixed-methods. Jacqueline is a CAQDAS trainer and consultant with particular interest in participatory and creative methods. She tweets @jacqpriego

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