What is Panopto?

Panopto is the new cloud-based video capture and management service at Northwestern. Panopto is centrally supported by Northwestern IT (NUIT) and will be the University’s new service through the end of academic year 2020. Everyone with a NetID is free to access and use Panopto. The Panopto tool is also integrated into every Canvas course allowing faculty and students to use the platform to self-produce screencasts and camera recordings using Panopto’s desktop or mobile applications.

Examples of Panopto

Videos that were previously recorded or hosted in other video services can been migrated to Panopto to add enhanced navigation and interaction. This allows instructors to analyze student viewing habits through the Panopto video statistics graphs.

Videos that consist of multiple input streams, such as multiple cameras or screen recordings, can be viewed in different configurations. Panopto provides examples videos with multiple cameras.

Videos that consist of narrated slide presentations can be interacted with more efficiently due to video search. Panopto provides an example of the various ways to search the content of a video from within the video library.

When should I use Panopto?

Course Development Use

When developing a course, instructors may work with learning designers and instructional technologists to record videos using a variety of tools. In addition to recording videos using the Panopto recorder software, other video production facilities such as the Distance Learning studio, Lightboard, or One Button Studio can be used to create content to host in Panopto. Panopto integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint slide presentation software for narrated presentations as well.

One convenient feature of Panopto is an ability to sync with presentations made using Microsoft PowerPoint. Panopto records each slide change as a “chapter” within your recording, making it easy for your viewers to navigate or skip to relevant parts of your presentation recording from a table of contents. Another great feature of Panopto is a simple web based editing software for touching up and trimming down your recording prior to sharing your content. New edits can be applied after which update to your deployed videos. The ability to edit Panopto videos online using the Panopto web browser based editing tools allows instructors to make small changes to recordings without the need for editing software on their computer or mobile device.

Course Facilitation Use

During a live course, an instructor may choose to use different communication media to respond to students. Using video for “just-in-time content” creation can allow instructors to give custom examples, lessons, or feedback to students without the need for assistance from an instructional technologist. Since Panopto can be used on computers and mobile devices to directly upload videos to Canvas, an instructor can quickly create a tutorial or demonstration of a concept and share it with students via Canvas announcement, Discussion, or by sending them a direct link to a recording.


Students can use Panopto to record video presentations, record camera videos and screencasts, or upload videos that they have made using other video creation tools. In addition to creating content with Panopto for use in course activities, students can engage with instructor created videos by making notes, discussing videos, and changing the way they view the videos. When enabled by the instructor, students may also download Panopto videos. The same features for video creation that are available to instructors are available to students.

How do I use Panopto?

Panopto provides extensive support documentation for creating, managing and interacting with videos. After logging into the Panopto for the first time, take a few minutes to complete the Panopto interface tour. Additional guides created by Northwestern University staff are available as well.


In addition to the guides provided by Panopto, the popularity of Panopto means that many Panopto users freely share their experiences and expertise. If you can’t find a specific guide for an action you are trying to accomplish, work with an instructional technologist to perform an internet search for examples of Panopto uses that others have already tried. You can even create a guide yourself to share with other Panopto users!


Panopto provides accessibility information on the Panopto website. Panopto videos are automatically scanned by voice recognition and optical character recognition software to make the video content searchable. Use of chapter markers in a table of contents can increase the ease of navigation through a video for students with accessibility needs. Captions can be purchased for videos that are not recorded to a script. As always, visual communication requires extra layers of verbal and textual description to make it fully accessible to blind or low-vision audiences. Recording detailed, descriptive videos with high quality audio can be beneficial to all learners, not only those with assistive technology needs.