Using Panopto for Student Video Assignments

by Aaron Bannasch

Some online courses use video not only for instructor created content but also for student assignment deliverables. Arc had been a video platform that made it easy for students to add a video to Canvas, either by posting it as a discussion reply or uploading it as an assignment. Since the pilot for Arc is coming to an end, Panopto is now being recommended as a video hosting platform for both instructor and student videos. If students are going to be creating videos in your course, this guide can be used in addition to your assignment instructions to help students create a video. 

Recommendations for Student-Created Videos

If you are going to require students to create videos in your course, you should encourage them practice recording a video before they begin working on any video assignments. This will give students more time to ask for help before the assignment deadline approaches (and hopefully reduce the risk of any last minute requests for a deadline extension!). Panopto is already listed as a potential requirement in the  Course Technology area of the SPS syllabus template, but you can modify the description to include any special details about video technology you may ask students to use.

Video Styles

It’s up to you to determine what type of video you’ll ask students to create. If you’re creating a video assignment as part of a course development, work with your Learning Designer and Instructional Technologist to come up with a rubric that is as rigid or flexible as necessary. Your students may want structure or they may prefer an open-ended assignment, but the learning objectives of the assessment can provide guidance. Panopto can support a variety of video formats and interaction styles, so be creative! The guide is written for a student audience, but includes some annotations for instructors. You’ll need to remove the annotations and modify the items of the guide to fit your specific assignment needs. The guide begins below and annotations are formatted as HTML blockquotes. 

The generic title, “Student Video Resources,” can be modified to more accurately describe the guide in the context of your assignment.

Student Video Resources

At the beginning of the guide, describe your assignment in the context of the guide. It may be helpful to include a link back to the assignment instructions if you’re keeping this guide separate.

Your video needs to be capable of being uploaded to Panopto to fulfill the assignment requirements. How you create your video is up to you, but you will need to complete the Connect your Canvas Account with Panopto and Post Your Video to the Discussion segments of this guide. Whether you choose to use Panopto or an alternative tool for recording, proceed to read this guide to learn how to upload your video presentation and share it with the class.

Recording Yourself Using Panopto

If you have difficulty using this guide you can visit the Northwestern IT Resource Hub for additional guides that explain how to use of Panopto, contact the Northwestern IT Support Center, or you may visit the Panopto support website for tutorials.

While the use of the Panopto Recorder software is optional, the whole point of this guide is to help students upload their video to Panopto. If the recorder is not used, students will have to upload their videos (however they’ve created them) directly to the subfolder for the specific assignment that you’ve created within your course Panopto folder. Learn how to create a folder and change the permissions on the Panopto support website. The folder permissions need to allow anyone in your course site to Create, not just View videos. It’s important to use a subfolder to keep things organized, and to avoid having students have editing permissions to videos that you may have created as an instructor.

While you do not need to use the Panopto Recorder software to create your video—any recording device or software that you prefer can be used—you will need to upload it to the  Panopto video hosting folder to share it with the class.

Connect your Canvas Account with Panopto

Students will need to connect their Canvas account to Panopto to be able to use it and view and upload videos. If you as an instructor have not used Panopto before, you’ll need to complete this process as well. If you’re working with an Instructional Technologist, they can assist you with this one-time authorization.

If you have never used Panopto before, or never used it in Canvas, you’ll need to authorize a connection between Canvas and Panopto. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to use the Panopto link on the course navigation menu.

  1. Find to the Panopto link on the course navigation menu and click it to open the main Panopto folder for this course
  2. When the page loads you will be asked to authorize Panopto to access your Canvas account (check the box to remember the authorization)

Install the Panopto Recorder

Students who use the Panopto Recorder will need to install the software application on their computer. The Northwestern IT Support Center and the Panopto support website are both resources for students who need assistance. As the instructor, you should not need to troubleshoot student technology issues. If you’re not sure if a student technology issue is the result of the instructional design of your course, contact for help.

If you decide to use the Panopto Recorder software application (instead of an alternative video recording method of your preference) you’ll need to download and install the software on your computer. The easiest way to do this is to log in to Panopto and follow the installation instructions after you click the download link. 

  1. Go to the Northwestern Panopto login page
  2. Choose NU ADFS from the Sign In menu
  3. Login with your Northwestern NetID and password
  4. Select the Download Panopto link and click the Download Panopto button that appears
  5. Once the download completes, open the downloaded installation file and follow the instructions that appear (watch the installation instructional video for Windows or macOS on the Panopto support site if you need help, or contact the Northwestern IT Support Center)

Login to the Panopto Recorder

Since you’re downloading the Panopto Recorder software application from Northwestern’s own Panopto site it should automatically connect to the Northwestern Panopto hosting server, but if not the following steps will explain how to login through the Panopto Recorder software application.

  1. Open the Panopto Recorder app that you just finished installing
  2. Click the Sign In button and enter in the server field
  3. Change the Sign In With dropdown menu to NU ADFS and enter your NetID and password, then click Go (if you need help, the Record a Video and Recording with Panopto for Mac provide detailed explanations of how to set up your Panopto Recorder app)

Record Your Presentation

When you create a subfolder in your course’s main Panopto folder, you can name it with a title that makes it obvious to students that the folder is for the particular assignment you’re asking them to complete. If you have multiple assignments with video requirements, use separate subfolders; create a unique one for each assignment. Each of the items highlighted in yellow should be replaced with the name of the folder(s) that you create.

If you decided to record your presentation using the Panopto Recorder app, follow these instructions. Otherwise, skip ahead to the Alternative Recording Options area and come back to the Post Your Video to the Discussion section when you have a finished video.

  1. Click the Create New Recording button in the Panopto Recorder software
  2. IMPORTANT: Change the Folder to the Assignment folder
    1. Uploading your video to the correct folder is critical, it will not be viewable by the class if not placed in the correct folder
  3. Rename the Session (it displays the current date and time by default) to the title of your presentation
  4. Choose your Primary Source and Secondary Video Source
    1. Typically, a webcam will be your primary source and a slideshow or other visual aid will be your secondary source, but it’s up to you to decide what you want to show during your presentation
  5. Check that your microphone is working by looking at the Audio level meter (green and yellow levels are OK, but red is too loud so you may need to adjust your computer’s microphone settings, follow the Basic Recording guide if you need help)
  6. Click Record and begin your presentation (make sure the timer clock is counting, it may take a moment after you click the Record button to get started)
  7. Click Stop when finished
  8. If you are satisfied with your recording, click upload. If not, click Delete and Record Again

Choose either the Discussion or the Assignment section for your guide depending on what type of assessment your students are participating in. 

Post Your Video to the Discussion

Regardless of whether you recorded your video directly to Panopto using the Panopto Recorder or used your own recording software or device, everyone has to post it to the discussion to share it with the class.

  1. Go to the Assignment
  2. Click Reply to open the Content Editor 
  3. Find the Panopto icon on the Content Editor menu and click it to insert a video
  4. Use the dropdown menu that appears to find the Assignment folder where you uploaded your video (it should appear under Canvas but you may have to search for it)
  5. Click your video to select it and click the Insert button
  6. Post your reply to add your video to the discussion

These assignment instructions are for a typical Canvas assignment that allows a text submission. There are other ways to set up a Canvas assignment to use Panopto, but that will not be covered in this guide.

Submit Your Video to an Assignment

Regardless of whether you recorded your video directly to Panopto using the Panopto Recorder or used your own recording software or device, you will have to submit it to receive credit for completing the assignment.

  1. Go to the Assignment
  2. Click Submit Assignment
  3. Find the Panopto icon on the Content Editor menu and click it to insert a video
  4. Use the dropdown menu that appears to find the Assignment folder where you uploaded your video (it should appear under Canvas but you may have to search for it)
  5. Click your video to select it and click the Insert button
  6. Click Submit Assignment

Alternative Recording Options

If you did not want to install the Panopto Recorder or used an alternative recording device, you can upload your video directly to Panopto by going to the Panopto link on the course navigation menu and clicking on the Assignment folder.

  1. Click the Create button and choose Upload Media from the dropdown menu.
  2. Upload the video file that you recorded on your computer or another recording device.
  3. Follow the Post Your Video to the Discussion steps.

Near the Evanston campus?

You can remove the Evanston campus video resources if you do not want students to use on-campus resources or if you know that none of your students are local to Evanston.

If you’re in the Evanston area, here are some resources that are available to you.

Self-Service Studio

The Self-Service Studio is located in the Mudd Library and can be used to record yourself using the studio’s built-in camera.

You can remove or modify the following information as needed depending on the requirements of your video assignment.

Not able to travel to Evanston?

Record where you are a webcam on a computer, tablet, or phone.

You can record your video on a camera or other device with video recording capabilities then transfer upload it from your computer. Depending on what device you have you may want to practice recording with before starting your video project or watch a guide on YouTube about how to record with your specific device. The manufacturer of your device may also have technical support services to help you.

If you decide to record yourself giving your presentation with a webcam on your computer, here are some steps you can take to ensure that you get the best quality video possible.

Check the lighting. The How-To Improve Lighting for Webcam Videos guide provides some best practices.

Use a microphone. The How-To Record High-Quality Audio guide uses demonstrates audio recording principles apply to most recording devices and software applications.

That’s the end of the guide!

Additional Guides About Student Video Assignments

This guide is largely based on the content of a guide created for a student video assignment created by Instructional Technologist William Guth. You can view a copy of the guide for comparison.