Panopto Focus Block on Moodle

Initially I was quite pleased with the Panopto Focus block because it was easy to install and it worked.  However, I became a little less enamoured with it when I realised…

  • you cannot display the contents of more than one folder in the block
  • you cannot have more than one block per page
  • you cannot order the recordings as you wish
  • you have to manually re-sync the block every time you add a new student to the Moodle course (otherwise the new student does not have access to the recordings in the block) and from my point of view this is a hassle because I do not know every time a student is added.

However, I have recently realised something that I had not known before and it has redeemed the block slightly.

  • Panopto user accounts are created every time a Moodle user enters a Moodle course with a Panopto Focus block on it.
  • You do not need to re-sync the block for this to happen.
  • Also, the Moodle user does not have to be enrolled onto the course; they could enter it as a Guest (If Guest access is turned on).

So what does this mean?  It means that we can put links to Panopto recordings on a Moodle page, allow guest access, set the permissions to the recording to be “Anyone who can sign in to this site” and the student will be able to view the recording.  Before I realised this, my only option was to set the permissions to be “Anyone on the internet”.

You may wonder why we don’t simply create the users on the Panopto server using the Batch Create function. Well, if you do this “New users will receive an email with a temporary password and will be asked to set a new password the first time they log in.”  we don’t want to do this since all our systems use either single-signon or the same username and password and we wanted the Panopto experience to be similarly integrated and simple.

One final observation on the Panopto Focus block. When it imports the Moodle users, it creates Panopto users using the Moodle user names.

  • Moodle username = ridg01
  • Panopto username = moodle\ridg01

However, it does not import

  • First name
  • Last name or
  • email address

This makes it very difficult to search for users on Panopto since we do not know students by their Moodle usernames.




  1. Take a look at line 176 here – – if you’d like to add users to Panopto using their Single Sign On identity, emails included.

    1. Many thanks, Graham. We will be looking at this very shortly. I’ll let you know how we get on. Best wishes, Bob.

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