Panopto Basics


Are you looking to create videos to enhance your course and improve the learning experience for your students?  Panopto is an all-inclusive video management platform for creating, hosting, and editing videos and provides everything you need in one easy-to-use tool.  Panopto is integrated with Moodle, and allows easy access and sharing of your recordings directly in Moodle.  With this integration, instructors can easily add Panopto recordings to H5P or PlayPosit to incorporate more interactive elements into your videos.

Panopto Basics is designed for beginner users who would like to learn how to use Panopto to create, host, and deliver video content. This workshop will focus on how to use Panopto’s most commonly used features, including browser-based recording, video upload, options for sharing videos, and how to organize and manage the content library.

Register for the workshop 

How to Get Started

Step 1: Identify why you use Panopto to record content.

It’s important to know the purpose of your recording, as well as the learning objectives and goals for using video as opposed to other presentation formats. Before you create a video, you might want to ask yourself a few questions, such as why am I using video, why is it important to capture information this way, and what will my learners get from the video that they don’t get from text or discussion?

Step 2: Identify what your goal is for your videos.

Another important element when creating a video is thinking about your goal for creating the video.  Is it for lecture delivery or is it a comprehension check to improve content retention?  Panopto is a flexible video platform that allows instructors to create video content and has interactive components, such as discussion, notes, bookmarks, quizzes, and analytics to add to your recordings.  Understanding your goal will help you utilize Panopto features and maximize the results you are trying to achieve.

Step 3: Identify how you would deliver/share these videos.

Panopto has many different options to share your recordings, with many different permissions to share with a range of viewers.   In addition, you have options to share a single recording or a series of recordings in a folder or in a playlist so the recordings can be presented in an ordered list. If you use Moodle, the Moodle integration allows you to share recordings directly through your familiar Moodle courses by linking or embedding them into Moodle, and students can access them within their Moodle courses.  Identifying how you want to share your videos would help you to know the best option to deliver your recordings.

Step 4: If you are ready to use Panopto, please refer to the Overview of Panopto at NC State to get you started.

Best Practices

Consider your purpose

Being clear about your purpose will help you focus on creating the video content without going off the topic.  Ask yourself questions, such as what is the key takeaway I want my students to remember after watching this recording?  Referring to your learning objectives and goals is a great way to keep you focused on your purpose.

Storyboard and script

While it’s not required, it’s helpful to create a storyboard and have scripts.  A storyboard helps you to outline and visualize what you plan to show and understand potential challenges in advance, while you can still fix them or prepare for them.  It also helps you to decide how you want to split your recordings to maximize students’ learning.  Scripts help you to be efficient with what you say and remind you of the key points you want to convey in each slide.  They also provide an opportunity to think about what’s the best way to convey your materials within your recording time frame and make sure the flow goes smoothly. Read this Forum Blog, Video in Teaching and Learning -Part 2 for more information and tips for using a storyboard and script.

Keep it simple

One thing to remember about screencasting is that you can record anything on your screen, even unwanted notifications and popups.  It would be helpful to turn off notifications, disable popups and declutter your desktop, so unwanted areas won’t be recorded to your content. If you include Powerpoint slides, keep it simple, so students can focus on learning.

Keep it short

When it comes to timing your video, consider some important elements to help you to get the best video length and keep it short:

  • What are the messages you are trying to convey?
  • How will it be delivered?
  • What activities will students engage in related to this video?
  • And how will they apply this learning during the course?

Focus on your key message, and refer students to relevant information for additional reading by including links.  This will keep your video short, and if you have a long lecture recording, consider breaking it down into smaller sections by using the Table of Contents in Panopto.  The Table of Contents allows for easy navigation without having students watch the whole recording to locate the topic they are looking for.


If you want technology to work for you, be sure to practice, and make sure you are comfortable and be familiar with it. If you make mistakes or jumble a phrase during the recording, it’s ok. You can always say, “Let me say that again,” and then restate your phrase­­ just as you would in a traditional classroom. The most important thing is Be you.  For other tips and technical best practices, please refer to this article: Tips for recording yourself on video.


Panopto offers many features not only for content delivery but also to engage and enhance students’ learning.  How you use these features depends on your goals and objectives.  I am including some of the examples and use cases from faculty who use Panopto in their courses.

Use Discussion to promote active learning and to address muddy points

  • In Claire Gordy’s GN 421/521: Molecular Genetics, an asynchronous course with roughly 120 students, students copy a Google Doc containing a guided notes template that is paired with a series of short Panopto videos each week. The lessons are structured as Guided Inquiry Learning activities interspersed with mini-lectures; students are asked to work through a short activity in their notes, and then answer questions in Panopto or share their thoughts or raise questions using the Panopto Discussion feature before watching the next part of the video.
  • The Discussion feature can also be used to encourage students to ask clarifying questions that are linked directly to the time point in the lecture where they were confused and can be answered by an instructor or a TA in a way that is visible to the whole class –– just as if they were together in person, which was one of the use cases Dr. Gordy used in her course.  She also used it for discussion prompts that would have been a minute paper or think-pair-share exercise in a face-to-face class.

Upload slides/pdf files for additional resources

Use the Panopto Add Slides or Upload PDF features to upload your PowerPoint or pdf files for additional resources to your recording.  Students can access the content at any point while watching your recording, and they have the option to download them if you enable the download feature.  This provides them the flexibility to consume the content at their own pace which Carlos Goller has found very helpful in enhancing students’ learning in his course.

Table of Contents for easy navigation

Using the Table of Contents feature for easy navigation and finding the correct point in the video, which allows students to focus on learning without spending time locating them, which is one of the features students appreciate.

Search feature for reviewing

Invite students to use the Search feature. This feature allows students to search every word spoken, on screen, in slides, or digital notes within a video for a specific word and find the relevant topic for reviewing and relistening to a confusing concept to enhance students’ learning.

Statistics for measuring learning

To gauge students’ learning, Video Analytics allows instructors to see which students have watched the video, how much of the video they watched, and whether they left comments in the discussion feature. This feature helps instructors have a much better sense of how quickly or slowly the class as a whole is moving through the lecture material.

Quiz for assessment and engagement

  • Add questions at specific points in the video to challenge students to forecast by using their pre-existing knowledge and choosing the options you provide.
  • Adding quiz questions in the video does not have to be for an assessment purpose.  You can add, for example, rhetorical questions at the beginning of the video to stimulate students’ attention and interest as they move forward watching the video.
  • Using quizzes for knowledge checks, and providing pausing points for students to reflect on content instead of watching the recording passively,  encourage students to take Notes and you can also provide feedback and allow students to have multiple attempts until they get the question right.
  • Use quiz questions to gauge student confidence in an answer.  In Claire Gordy’s and Carlos Goller’s GN 421/521 and BIT 480/580 courses, they ask students to answer or make a guess at a complex question using the discussion feature and ask them to rate how confident they were in their answer using a quiz question.


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