Panopto, a type of software used to record and stream lectures, is currently being piloted by several Albion College faculty members in their classrooms. Panopto records the instructor during lectures and can be synchronized with lecture slides and uploaded to Course Webs.
“So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Melinda Kraft, instructional technology supervisor.
According to Kraft, the basic Panopto software was free, but the live broadcasting software would cost money. For now, Kraft sees Panopto as an additional study tool for students to access in addition to notes and syllabi on Course Webs.
“It’s a nice tool for catching up, but it doesn’t replace the classroom experience,” Kraft said.
Jeff Carrier, professor of biology, is one of the professors piloting the new software. Carrier said he was inspired to try Panopto after having four students out sick in his Biology 341 General Physiology class, which has a mandatory attendance policy.
“I see this as an adjunct for the student,” Carrier said. “Combined with lecture notes, reading, and discussion, (Panopto) serves as an additional resource.”
Carrier’s lectures are discussion based and since only his voice is recorded into the software, students who miss class do not benefit from the discussion supplement.
“In its most ideal configuration there’d be directional microphones to catch questions,” Carrier said. “The key here is duplicating, not replicating the classroom.”
Bridget Kmetz, Grosse Pointe senior, is in Carrier’s class that is using Panopto and hopes the software catches on with other classes.
“I would love to be able to go back and listen to all of my professors’ lectures for a second time, especially in the classes where the notes on the Powerpoint do not include everything covered,” Kmetz said.
Despite the positive feedback, Carrier doesn’t encourage students to solely rely on Panopto for class.
“I’m not a fan of distance learning,” Carrier said. “Student involvement is important and the technology needs to be transparent so everyone can use it.”