Student Presentations Part 2 (Panopto)

This is a follow up post.

I said in the previous post that what we had learnt from recording the first round of student presentations meant that we would make the following changes:

  1. Use a separate mic.
  2. Keep the room lights on.
  3. Make one long recording and chop it up later so academics do not have to deal with the Panopto interface or name the recordings.  (We have tested it and it is possible to start and stop different presentations within the same session.)

#1 and #2 did result in better recordings, however, #3 resulted in an unforeseen debacle.

As we were setting up Panopto at the beginning of the session and recording everything in one session there was no need to leave a technician in the room. Or so we thought.  When we looked at the results later, after three hours of recording, we saw to our horror that the students stood on the other side of the Whiteboard. Why?  The previous week with the same tutors present they stood on the left.  We set up everything the same but for some reason all students stood on the right, out of shot of the camera.  We have the slides and the audio but the video is pointless.

A student giving her presentation off camera.

A student giving her presentation off camera.

Another problem we encountered  was that in another room the PC blue-screened on us.  It did it just after we launched Panopto but we were able to record the failure on Panopto. IT Services are investigating.  However, the end result is that the students in that room were not recorded at all.

Thankfully in the third room everything ran smoothly and since the purpose of the exercise was to supply the external examiner with a sample, there are enough presentations recorded to fulfil this need.

General Hardware Considerations

Our trail of Panopto has highlighted something that we will have to address: the specification for the PCs in the teaching rooms.  It seems that while they are good enough for presenting PowerPoints and showing websites and videos, using Panopto as well as doing these other things is the straw that breaks the camel’s back in some cases. Working with our IT Services department we have therefore decided to equip five teaching rooms with new PCs and permanent cameras and microphones so they become ‘Panopto’ rooms and can be timetabled as such.  If, after the trail ends, we decide we want to roll it out across campus, we will have to look at the infrastructure implications.

Panopto’s minimum spec can be found here: System requirements.

In a nutshell what we need is:

  • Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 910
  • Memory: 4GB RAM


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