Panopto or Narrated PowerPoint

While discussing the use of Panopto for instructional videos, I often receive the question about why one would use Panopto instead of a narrated PowerPoint file or video.

I want to preface my response by saying that if an instructor is already comfortable with using “Record Slide Show” in PowerPoint and distributing the files or videos, then I would encourage them to continue to use it. But if someone is new to recording slideshows, then I would suggest that Panopto is definitely worth considering.

  • One of the benefits of using Panopto is that it creates streaming video files. This means they can easily be viewed on any web-enabled device
  • Panopto will automatically transcribe the audio track, which makes the text on the slides and the words said by the instructor searchable. The transcription isn’t perfect, but it can be a nice side benefit. This transcription can also be used for closed-captioning
  • Panopto will record anything on your screen, so you can include things outside of your PowerPoint slides (such as a webpage, animation, ink layer, etc.)
  • When students are viewing Panopto videos, they can easily see how long the videos are (which allows for budgeting of time needed to view it), change the speed at which they view it, and easily pause and restart at any point.
    • narrated PowerPoint files don’t provide an overall runtime, can only be played at normal speed, and can be difficult to pause, depending on the device
  • Student access to your Panopto videos within your course can be automatically set up within Blackboard:
  • There is a built in Discussion tool within Panopto that you could ask students to use to ask questions
  • PowerPoint files with audio tracks can become really large. This may lead to issues uploading or downloading them

One advantage of using PowerPoint, that I know of, is that when creating the video, you can easily do retakes of individual slides. This would be more difficult in Panopto, but editing after recording is quite simple. That being said, you would need to make sure to do you retake as part of the original recording.

One last thing to note is that if videos are already created in PowerPoint, they can be exported as a video and uploaded into Panopto which will still allow you to take advantage of most of the benefits.

Hopefully this helps you make up your mind. Again, I encourage you to use the tool you are most comfortable with. And if it turns out that neither of these are right for you, then please explore more alternatives. Sometimes a PDF and a discussion board will do the trick!