While campus-wide lecture capture solutions are now becoming commonplace in college classrooms, the 34 colleges overseen by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) have been ahead of the curve for nearly a decade.
When Washington’s colleges are seeking a technology-enabled answer to a classroom need, they turn to the SBCTC’s eLearning & Open Education team. Through this collaboration, the SBCTC colleges have been able to leverage each other’s experiences and ideas to offer cutting edge classroom experiences before they reach institutions elsewhere.
Lecture capture was one of the first of the new tools the SBCTC eLearning team helped bring to Washington’s colleges, and the technology has already proven its worth. “We’ve seen amazing value in offering lecture capture as a resource for students,” says Mark Carbon, Operations Manager on the SBCTC eLearning team. “And we’ve seen that value equally across all our learning environments – in large institutions and smaller ones, in face-to-face classrooms and online ones, even in facilitating newer teaching techniques like student recordings and flipped classrooms – we’ve seen lecture capture technology put to great use just about everywhere.”
As early adopters in learning technology, the colleges of the SBCTC have discovered a simple rule of thumb in selecting new tools: great software is important, but great support is essential.
As a group, the SBCTC colleges had been customers of the Tegrity lecture capture system for the better part of a decade, and lecturers both in the schools’ in-person and online classrooms relied on Tegrity to capture and share their materials for student review.
Yet over time, the SBCTC colleges also began to notice a difference – and one that was amplified after Tegrity was acquired by McGraw Hill. According to Carbon, the schools felt they were seeing less and less investment in the Tegrity platform, and the quality of support users received seemed to falter. Several of the SBCTC colleges took to trying out alternative lecture capture solutions on their own.
Together, the schools decided it was time to formally put their Tegrity lecture capture technology contract up for review. Building from their original lecture capture RFP issued years earlier, the eLearning team added a handful of requests for new technical specifics – and a big emphasis on service and support. After scoring a very competitive proposal and detailed user testing, a new winner was announced: Panopto was the clear choice.
Making the Switch — Before the Tegrity Contract Expired
While it was an enormous effort, bringing in experts, administrators, and faculty power users from across the 34 colleges, the SBCTC’s lecture capture RFP process was also a quick one — lasting just six months from the time the team was first assembled to the time Panopto was selected.
And that speed was with good reason. The colleges had decided not to renew their contract with Tegrity, meaning that together with Panopto the SBCTC would have only one month to:
- Implement the new Panopto technology
- Set up and train each college’s technical administrators
- Integrate Panopto with the colleges’ existing LMS, Instructure Canvas
- Begin converting each institution’s existing Tegrity recordings – 40TB in total – to Panopto
- And help transition staff and students to the new Panopto lecture capture technology ahead of the coming academic quarter
It would have been no small feat for a single institution. The SBCTC needed it done for all 34 of its member colleges at once, and all before its contract with Tegrity expired.
Support That Goes Above and Beyond — Even Before Day One
With the decision made, Carbon and the Panopto support team got right to work.
The Panopto implementation went quickly. Panopto’s support team commissioned the new video platforms for all 34 colleges a month ahead of the contract start date, and worked with Carbon to implement the proper account administration information for each institution.
At the same time, Panopto also kicked off a series of training sessions for the colleges’ faculty and support users. Panopto’s support team joined the SBCTC’s weekly meetings for the month leading up to the start of the contract, teaching the basics of using Panopto’s lecture capture software, as well as how to get the most from the technology. The Panopto team also took specific questions from the SBCTC team and created detailed video responses for the SBCTC to share internally.
Together, Carbon and Panopto kept things moving quickly. “After the initial setup, we had expected the big hurdle would be integrating Panopto with our LMS, Instructure Canvas. But I can tell you, this was one of the best I’ve ever done,” said Carbon. “We did everything on a single phone call. I had pulled together all the information we needed, and in an hour or so, one of the members of the Panopto support team and I just sat down and integrated all the colleges. It was great.”
While the SBCTC was ready to make the switch to a new lecture capture solution, the colleges didn’t want to give up their existing libraries of recorded content. So with the new implementation of Panopto ready to go, the last step of the process was to convert all of the institutions’ existing Tegrity videos into Panopto. That meant taking 40TB of video — tens of thousands of hours’ worth of classroom materials — and reprocessing each recording as a Panopto video.
While the conversion process ran longer than originally expected, the results were everything SBCTC had hoped for. Nearly every video was successfully converted, with video streams, slide content, and captioning maintained. Only the recordings for which Tegrity couldn’t provide valid video or audio streams couldn’t be transitioned.
When all was said and done, some videos even saw their visual quality enhanced, benefitting from Panopto’s ability to process video at a higher frame rate than Tegrity. “Our faculty users were quite happy to get those recordings back,” said Carbon. “And when they did, we heard some great things about Panopto.”
Now 2 Quarters In — How Is Panopto Working For SBCTC?
“Now that we’re up and running, our faculty is confident when it comes to making their recordings, and we’re hearing a lot of happy reviews,” said Carbon. “The folks using Panopto for online classes have been very positive, and of course, the folks using Panopto in their face-to-face classrooms tell me it’s a no-brainer, an easy way to really help their students.”
Of course, as SBCTC knows well, great technology is only part of the equation. Has Panopto’s support lived up to expectations?
“I’ve got to say, Panopto’s support team has been just excellent,” said Carbon. “During the implementation, everything was moving a million miles an hour and with 34 schools there was always someone with a question or an issue. The Panopto support team made the decision to go above and beyond the contract and be available to answer any question from any user from Washington — whether they were one of our named administrators or not — until literally there just wasn’t anyone with any more questions to ask. That was very helpful for us.”
“Going into our second quarter, we’re very happy with Panopto,” continued Carbon. “When someone from one of our colleges has a suggestion to offer or an issue to fix, Panopto is always quick to act and very receptive. And I just really appreciate that.”
This article was originally published on Panopto’s blog