Ideas for Using Panopto

Panopto has had a huge role in the times when the college has had to rely on distanced or hybrid teaching. As a way of providing lecture content, it has an advantage over synchronous platforms such as Zoom: students, in different time zones for example, are able to access the material at any time, and to refer back to it as needed. Also, Panopto is a very good way to make recordings of Zoom sessions available.

Now that we’ve returned to the classroom, Panopto offers further possibilities.

Most St. Olaf teaching spaces are well equipped to make Panopto lecture recordings, enabling students to review lectures for further study. Panopto recordings are even searchable! But Panopto is emphatically not just for recording lectures. You can use the classroom setups, including doc cam and whiteboards, to make shorter, single topic recordings as an alternative to replicating the traditional 50-minute lecture format. And you can make recordings in your office or at home, making it an excellent platform for recording informal “explainers” for reinforcement or to address student questions.

Below are some examples of ways St. Olaf faculty have gone beyond lecture recording using Panopto.

Record your lecture slides…and much more

Many people assume recording your lectures involves appearing on camera. Appearing on camera can enhance a recording, and it is very important in some situations, but is by no means necessary. A recording of your voice synchronized with your lecture slides (or whatever you’re showing on the computer screen – websites, documents, software applications) can be more than sufficient in most cases, and reduces the need for set up and equipment.

Here is an example of an audio+screen lecture recording, courtesy of Professor Christina Spiker of the Art and Art History Department. Use the icon at the lower right to get the full view including features such as enhanced navigation and the ability for students to discuss the material.


Panopto is a great way to make screencasts – recordings of your computer screen as you demonstrate software, talk through a diagram, work a problem, present your slides, or respond to a written document.

In this example, Professor Joseph Roith in the St. Olaf Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science walks through an upcoming set of exercises in RStudio. Note that the text within RStudio is too small to read well in this embedded version, for best viewing, click the icon in the lower right to go full screen.

Record your handwriting

This is a great technique for talking through a complex explanation, or showing how to work a particular problem. This example was created by Professor Alden Adolph of the St. Olaf Physics Department. Check out the fascinating ultra-slow motion views of a baseball hitting a bat at the beginning of the recording.

If, like most people, you don’t have your own touchscreen, the DiSCO has several you can use to record such screencasts.

Explore documents

The ability to provide verbal commentary as you record your computer screen opens up a multitude of possibilities. In this example, Professor Arthur Cunningham of the St. Olaf Philosophy Department preps his students for an upcoming reading assignment by moving through the actual document, highlighting key passages and providing suggestions for what to pay particular attention to as students do their own reading.

Another possibility would be to use the same technique to provide spoken feedback for student writing. If you use this technique, remember to use the sharing settings so only the intended students are able to view the recording.

Again, for best readability you should use the icon on the lower right to go full screen.