Focus on Panopto: Editing recordings

Panopto allows creators to edit their recordings. This post looks at the most common editing tasks you are likely to want to do. 


Sometimes you might want to tidy up the beginning or end of a lecture recording. For example, you may have started the recording but there is a delay as people arrive. It is easy and quick to trim a recording in Panopto.

Find your recording and hover over it to click on Edit.

screenshot of edit button on a recording

On the timeline under the video, drag the black line to shade out the portion you want to cut. You can trim the beginning, the end, or a section at any point in the recording.

screenshot of the streams and editing line

When you have made your edits click the Apply button at the top.

screenshot of Apply button

The recording will then be re-processed with your edits, so will be temporarily unavailable to view.

One of the great features of Panopto is that editing is non-destructive – your cuts are hidden from viewers but you can go back and change them, or even use the Revert button to return your recording to its original state.

This guide from Panopto has a video showing How to Trim a Video in the Editor and detailed step-by-step instructions.

Oops! I forgot to resume after pausing!

Being able to pause a recording is useful, for example when there is a break in the lecture or student activities happening. The keyboard shortcut F9 will pause or resume recording. But once a recording is paused it is easy to forget to resume recording – fortunately that is easily fixed in Panopto.

As with trimming a recording, you can use the Edit tools to take out a paused section. The pause will show as greyed out on the timeline and you can drag the edit line to reduce the length of the pause.


When starting a recording at the beginning of a lecture you may not want to spend time giving it a nice title. By default your recording will be identified by the date and time of the recording, but you can change that later.

You can do this when you are making edits, by clicking on the name of the recording at the top of the screen and typing in your changes, then Enter or Return on your keyboard.

Alternatively, if you only want to edit the title you can do that from Settings. You will see the name of the recording and an Edit button. This Panopto guide shows How to Change the Name of a Video in both ways.

Add Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) captions

One of the options in the editing screen is adding captions. Panopto creates captions automatically using Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and these can be easily added to a recording.

Please note that the ASR captions will not be available immediately after a recording has processed. Videos up to 1 hour long should have captions ready in 8 hours, but captions for longer recordings will take up to a day.

ASR captions are not 100% accurate as their primary purpose is to support the search function, but they are probably equivalent to the auto-captioning you see on some news programmes. The ASR captions can be edited if required. This guide from Panopto shows the steps to Adding ASR captions.

Editing streams

When you start your recording you select the sources to be recorded. When the recording is processed, these sources appear as editable streams. The video and audio sources are combined into the Primary stream (P1), any secondary sources such as the main screen or additional cameras have a stream each (S1, S2) and if you have added PowerPoint that will be SL.

You can edit all the streams at once, one or more secondary streams independently, delete PowerPoint slides or add new material. The Panopto guide on How to Edit and Add Streams in the Editor will take you through how to do that.

If you have any queries about editing Panopto recordings or would like to discuss how you might use Panopto to enhance your students’ learning please contact

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Posted in Panopto transcribing recordings with artificial intelligence.

Otter floating in water

This week we want to introduce you to a great transcription tool which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to turn the spoken word into text. can transcribe recordings in real time, or create transcripts for uploaded video or audio files. The resulting ‘Smart notes’ are synchronised to the audio, tag speakers and can be searched.

The free version lets you:

  • Record & Playback (0.5x, 1x, 2x)
  • Transcribe in Real Time
  • Identify Speakers
  • Generate Summary Keywords & Word Cloud
  • Search by Keywords
  • Edit & Highlight
  • Share & Collaborate with Groups
  • Organize with Folders
  • Import Audio & Video
  • Export Audio & Text (TXT)

How could be useful in teaching and learning?

There are many situations in which the ability to have a text version of the spoken word is useful, but some are particularly relevant in Higher Education contexts:

  • Accessibility. It is vital that online resources are usable for all students and staff, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences. That can be challenging when using audio but can help. You can read more about digital accessibility and how you can create accessible digital resources on our Digital Accessibility webpages.
  • Interviews. Many disciplines require students and researchers to interview people and transcribe those interviews. is a great tool for this as it can even distinguish between different speakers. There are many student stories about using on the Otter blog.
  • Podcasting. We have written before about Powering up your pedagogy with podcasts and this is an increasingly popular medium but podcasts need transcripts to be accessible. Our Sussex TEL podcast uses to provide transcripts. Find out more about how podcasters are using in this Behind the Scenes with the Podcasters who use Otter post on the Otter blog.
  • Meetings. Supervision or Academic Adviser meetings are very valuable, but sometimes there is so much said that it would be useful to have a transcript to support any notes made. These could create a really useful record of a discussion over time. Don’t forget that if you are recording a meeting you must get the permission of the people being recorded.

Is free?

There is a free version of and paid options. The Otter Free plan gives you 600 minutes of transcription every month, which will be enough for most users.

Will it work on my device?

You can use via a web browser or using the mobile apps for Android and iOS. However you choose to use their Getting Started resources will take you through the steps with nice clear guides.

What are the alternatives?

Here are some alternatives you may want to look at:

Can I get some help from TEL?

If you would like help with using or to discuss how this or any other mobile app could help you in your teaching please get in touch with the TEL team.

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Posted in Accessibility

Focus on Panopto: Sharing recordings

Panopto is primarily used to record lectures, in which case lecturers will usually make the recording directly into the folder for a particular module. When those recordings have finished processing they will be visible to students on that module. Sometimes, however, you may want to handle sharing of a recording in a different way. This post will explore the options.

Using ‘My Folder’

If a recording is not for a specific module, or you think you may want to edit it before it is visible to students, you can use the ‘My Folder’ instead of the module folder. Depending on how you are accessing Panopto you can choose ‘My Folder’ from:

  • the dropdown list at the top of your Panopto library in any Canvas module;
  • the main screen if you are using the Panopto app on your desktop or own computer;
  • the session settings when you start a recording.

You can create extra sub-folders in your My Folder if you want to. Recordings in your ‘My Folder’ will not be visible to students until you move them into a module folder (see below), so it is useful if you want to review and/or edit the recording before making it visible to students. You may also want to add extra material and/or activities to a recording before you share it. Other blog posts in this series look at adding YouTube videos, Discussions and Quizzes in Panopto. Or you may want to record a presentation to a research seminar that you can then share in a website, blog or by email. Panopto provide this guidance on How to Use ‘My Folder’.

One recording for two or more modules?

Sometimes a lecture relates to two different modules (for example where there are core and elective versions of a module). There are two ways that you can make a recording visible in more than one Canvas module or other locations.

Copy and Move

This is probably the easiest and cleanest way to do this. It involves making a copy of a recording and moving the copy into another module folder.

When a recording is shared in this way, students see it in the list of Panopto Recordings for their module and can easily search in the recording and change their view. As the copy is a separate recording you can edit is separately from the original recording – so if you wanted to share only part of the recording with the second module, or add extra content for them, you could do that. Having 2 (or more) separate copies of the recording also means that you can see the viewing statistics for each recording. 

Copy your recording 

From your list of recordings, find the one you want to copy and click on Settings.

Screenshot showing the Settings button on a Panopto recording.

Then from the Manage tab, look for the ‘Copy’ button. You can give your copy a new title at this point if you want to, but if not it will have the same title as the original with (copy) at the end.

Screenshot of the Manage and Copy settings.

A confirmation box will pop up and as soon as you click OK a copy of your recording will appear next to the original. You now need to move your copy to the other module.

Move the copy into another folder

Click on the Settings button of the copy. You can then rename your recording and choose a different folder to put it in. Please be sure to Save any changes here.

Screenshot of the Name and Folder settings.

Your copy will disappear from the original folder and appear in the new folder.


The other option is to embed a recording. This option would be useful for embedding a recording in a blog or website. You can also embed a recording in a Page in Canvas, but this gives students a reduced view and search options as well as restricting your editing options and merging viewing statistics. 

Panopto has guides on how to Share Your Panopto Video on Any Webpage and How to Embed Panopto Videos in a Canvas Page. You will find the Panopto icon here in the Rich Content Editor under the ‘More external tools’ icon.

Screenshot of the 'More external tools' button in the Canvas Rich Content Editor.

More sharing options

You can also use a link to share a Panopto recording. Similar to sharing options in OneDrive you can share with:

  • Specific People
  • Anyone at the University of Sussex with the link
  • Anyone at the University of Sussex
  • Anyone with the link

When you click on the Share button for a recording you will see the link for the recording and the options to specify who can access it. This guide from Panopto shows you How to Share a Video.

What is the difference between sharing and setting availability?

When talking about sharing recordings in this post we have talked about them being ‘visible’ and avoided using the word ‘available’. That is because the availability of a recording is something rather different.

When a recording has finished processing and/or has been moved into a module folder or shared by a link or embedding it can usually be viewed by anyone who has access. The recording will remain visible unless it is removed or deleted. You may want to limit the visibility of a recording without moving or deleting it and you can do this by using the availability settings to specify dates and times when the recording is viewable. 

Screenshot of availability settings

This guide from Panopto shows How to Publish Videos Using the Availability Workflow.

If you have any queries about sharing your Panopto recordings or would like to discuss how you might use Panopto to enhance your students’ learning please contact

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Problem Document Format: PDFs and Accessibility

PDF Icon with a sad face.

In the past PDF (Portable Document Format) was considered a great format for delivering documents online. By their nature the PDFs can be viewed and look the same on different devices. However, with the increase in viewing content on mobile devices and the welcome new focus on accessibility, PDFs have come to pose a substantial challenge. Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) like the University of Sussex’s Canvas online study platform, are filled with PDFs which were not created with accessibility in mind and which don’t meet legal standards for accessibility.

There are three key elements on which documents of all formats commonly fail to meet accessibility standards: 

  1. missing or irrelevant text descriptions for images, 
  2. lack of headings and lists for structure, 
  3. poor colour contrast.

There are other issues which we cover in our digital accessibility toolkit but for this post I’ll focus on these three.

These issues are not immediately apparent when looking at a PDF. Take the following two examples. The first is a PDF with text descriptions and headings. The second looks the same but is an image of the former document embedded in a PDF. A visually impaired viewer confronted with the second example would not be able to access the content at all. 

Does it need to be in PDF format?

The first thing to consider is whether your material needs to be presented in this format. There may still be reasons for creating a PDF as the format is more ‘locked down’, which some may see as desirable. However, if you can provide information in a Canvas page it is likely to be more accessible on a larger number of devices and certainly easier to update and change.

Creating accessible PDFs

If you do want to use a PDF, next we’ll look at some ways to do this. One likely route for creating it is from a Word Document or PowerPoint. 

Preparing your document

The accessibility of your final PDF will depend on the accessibility of your source document so it is important that before creating a PDF you add correct structure such as heading styles and lists, and make sure that images have alternative text (alt text) before converting to PDF. You can find guidance on adding structure, alt text and using appropriate colours in Microsoft Office documents in our Digital Accessibility Toolkit so I won’t cover that in more detail here.

Once you are happy you have made your source Word or PowerPoint accessible, select File > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility, to run the accessibility checker. This can help to guide you to be sure you haven’t missed anything.

Converting to PDF

Both Word and PowerPoint give you the option to save as PDF (Select File > Save as Adobe PDF). However, with Word don’t save straight away. Select Options and make sure that Convert Word Headings to Bookmarks is checked.

Correcting existing PDFs

Before starting on this topic it is important to remember that placing a PDF of a journal article or section of a book on your module site is likely to be a breach of copyright. Readings should be added to your online reading list. If you are unsure how to do this, please contact the library for further guidance. If you have an existing PDF that you created yourself you can correct it using Adobe Acrobat. This is available free to all University of Sussex staff.

Recognisable Text

In the example above the second PDF was rendered inaccessible because it was an image which had been converted to a PDF. You can easily check if text is recognisable in a PDF by trying to select it by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text. The words should be highlighted. If the text is not recognisable, Acrobat has a useful function.

  • Select Tools > Enhance Scans
  • Then, from the menu at the top select Recognize Text > In This File
  • Finally select the blue Recognize Text button.

You should now be able to select the text in the document.

A screenshot showing the Enhance Scans tool being used to recognise text in a scanned image.
Recognising text in a scanned image.

Adding Alternative Text to images

Once your file is open in Acrobat, select Tools > Accessibility to view the accessibility options.

Selecting Set Alternate Text then OK highlights the first image in the document and gives you a box to add a text description. It’s worth noting you also have a checkbox to mark the image as decorative. If the image provides no purpose other than aesthetics, check that box and a text description is not required.

Select the forward arrow to move on to the next image and repeat until all images are done, then select Save & Close to finish.

Adding some structure

Next, select Reading Order from the accessibility options. This should number the sections of the document so you can see the order in which they would be read by a screen reader. 

You may see now that what you had thought was a heading has been lumped in with other text.

PDF with content highlighted. Images have been identified and show with alternative text. A heading has been identified as a paragraph.
A PDF displaying the reading order of the document.

To identify a heading click and drag your cursor to draw a box around the heading text. The text should show a purple border.

Next, select the relevant heading level from the Reading order panel.The main heading for the document should be Heading 1. Headings need to be nested, so Heading 2 is used for sub-headings, then heading 3 for subsections under Heading 2.

It can get more complicated

I’ve tried to keep things simple here but many of you will have documents which are far more complicated than this with maths, tables and complicated reading orders. If you are unable to make your documents accessible please do consider what other ways you can make this information available to students, for example as Pages in Canvas. Do visit our Digital Accessibility Toolkit to get more information on making your materials accessible.

If you have any questions or require further guidance, please get in touch with


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Posted in Accessibility, digital skills

Focus on Panopto: Notes and Bookmarks

Recorded lectures are a useful resource for students and Panopto offers some great tools to help make the most of them. In this post we will be looking at Notes and Bookmarks. 


Making notes as you watch a Panopto recording via Canvas is easy and has several additional benefits over making notes on paper. This functionality is not currently available on the Panopto apps for Android and iOS, but can be used when students watch recordings from a browser.

  • Notes linked to the video. Notes which are typed into Panopto as you watch and listen to a video are time-stamped so that they are linked to that moment in the lecture. Later, you can click on a note to take you back to that part of the recording. 
  • Search your notes. Panopto notes are searchable, so if you need to find that note about a particular concept you are revising it is easy to do. Just go to the Panopto Recordings folder in your module and use the search box at the top of the screen. If you go to the Panopto app (Android and iOS) you can even search across all your modules at once.
  • Download notes. You can also take a copy of your notes out of Panopto by downloading them as a text file. That can then be copied and pasted into another program such as OneNote or Word.
  • Share notes with peers. If students want to collaborate on notes with peers they can create a Channel which others can join to add and/or view notes. 

This guide from Panopto shows how you can take notes then edit, delete, download and share them. 


Panopto bookmarks are a great way to create a list of the parts of recordings that you want to refer back to later. You can add a bookmark at any point in a recording you are watching via Canvas and search bookmarks across all the recordings you have access to. This functionality is not currently available on the Panopto apps for Android and iOS.

To add a bookmark when you are watching a recording, click the Bookmarks tab and type in a few words to remind yourself what this bookmark is. The bookmark will be time-stamped and linked to that moment in the recording.

Screenshot of the Bookmarks area in Panopto

To see and search all your bookmarks you can click the ‘See all your bookmarks’ link from within any recording. This guide from Panopto shows you how to Create and Access Bookmarks.

If you have any queries about sharing your Panopto recordings or would like to discuss how you might use Panopto to enhance your students’ learning please contact

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Alternative formats made easy with SensusAccess

The University of Sussex prides itself on being an inclusive education community, indeed inclusion is one of the five core values of the University’s Strategic Framework. Building on wider institutional efforts in this important area Technology Enhanced Learning and the Library have come together to licence a new online service to aid digital accessibility – SensusAccess.

Available to all staff and students of the University, SensusAccess is a self-service tool that enables users to upload and convert digital files into a range of alternative formats. The solution is particularly helpful in providing a means to convert inaccessible documents such as image-based PDF files to a more accessible format.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came in to effect on the 23rd of September 2019. The new regulations set out stringent accessibility standards that must be met by all Public Sector Bodies, including universities. Content on websites, mobile apps and hosted on online study platforms such as Canvas must comply with accessibility standards. Public bodies must publish accessibility statements detailing any known accessibility problems, provide access to alternative formats where necessary and detail how users may report accessibility issues. Developing awareness of accessible design and supporting accessible content creation is therefore crucial to both ensuring inclusivity and meeting legal obligations. 

SensusAccess provides a means for individuals to convert digital content to a format that best suits their need, including ebooks (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi), audio (MP3/Daisy) and braille. Uploaded files are processed and the converted output is emailed directly to your inbox.

SensusAccess is available to all members of the University of Sussex community through Canvas and can be accessed from the Help menu.

screenshot of link to SensusAccess in Canvas Help

Students and staff can also access SensusAccess from the Library website.

screenshot of SensusAccess on Library website

Accessible design benefits everyone. In recognition of this, the promotion of digital accessibility and inclusive teaching practices has been, and will continue to be, a priority for Technology Enhanced Learning. 

In academic year 2019/20 we will build on recent activities which have included a guest article by Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman from the School of Global Studies on the topic of ‘Effective pedagogy for students with Specific Learning Difficulties’; an invited seminar with guest expert Dr David Sloan from The Paciello Group, who provided invaluable guidance on how individual digital content creators can ensure their resources are optimally accessible; a blog post highlighting the Accessibility Checker functionality within Canvas; and a series of professional development workshops for academic staff on ‘Designing engaging and inclusive presentations’.

SensusAccess represents our next step on this journey and an important new tool in our effort to reduce accessibility barriers for everyone in the Sussex educational community.


The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (2018). Available at:

Government Digital Service (2019), Understanding new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies. Available at:

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Posted in Accessibility

Focus on Panopto: Quizzes and Discussions

Panopto brings some superb features for improving engagement with your students, two of those features are Quizzes and Discussions which will be the focus of this blog post.


Panopto allows you to create quizzes which can be set to appear to viewers at predetermined points in the recording. There are four types of questions you can add to quizzes:

  • True / False –  questions with answers that are either true or false.
  • Multiple Choice –  several answers present, but only one answer can be chosen as correct.
  • Multiple Select – several answers present with multiple correct answers. 
  • Fill In The Blank – questions that require users to fill in answers to the question. The prompt will ask for the correct answer to be provided.

Quizzes allow you to gauge students’ understanding and comprehension of the materials they are viewing. Panopto allows you to view the results of quizzes, including which questions students got right or wrong and what percentage of students chose a particular answer, in this way quizzes can serve as a method of informal formative assessment.

Students can also review quizzes after they have taken them to see which questions they got right or wrong. This can allow students to gauge their own understanding of a topic and identify knowledge gaps. If you use the option to to add feedback comments on the answers students can be informed as to why their answer was right or wrong. 

Quizzes can also increase student engagement with recordings. Breaking up long lectures with activities increases the chances that students will remain engaged and pay attention to the entirety of the recording. 

For further guidance on quizzes please see the Panopto Quiz guidance page.


Discussions are a feature within Panopto that allows students to engage with and discuss their opinions and thoughts on a Panopto recording which anyone else with access to the recording can view and respond to. Comments are time stamped so they are linked to a particular point in the recording.

Screenshot of a Discussion on a Panopto recording.

This can be helpful if students wish to ask others for help or to know what others thought regarding part of a recording. Teachers can also engage in this discussion by replying to comments. It’s possible for teachers to moderate discussions as well, with the option to delete any comments if necessary. 

For further guidance on using discussions please see Panopto’s How to Use Discussions in Videos.

If you have any queries about Quizzes or Discussions in Panopto recordings or would like to discuss how you might use Panopto to enhance your students’ learning please contact

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Posted in Panopto

Collaborative assessment: Group submissions in Canvas

Canvas features a range of useful tools that facilitate group and collaborative work between students. These tools include collaborative Pages, Collaborations – online shared Google Docs or Office 365 documents, and Canvas Groups. In this post we are going to focus on Group assignments in Canvas.

In order to create group assignments in your Canvas module you will first need to set up student Groups. Groups are effectively a ‘mini module’ within your Canvas module site which provide students with their own tools for collaborative work. To find out more about Groups see our previous post Canvas Highlights – 2. Groups and to learn how to set up groups see How do I automatically create groups in a group set? or How do I manually create groups in a group set?

Once your student groups are created you can then move on to setting up your group assignment. To do this first go to Assignments in the module menu where you can create a new assignment. For Canvas assignment students can submit a range of content including any type of file, video or audio recordings, or a website URL. You then simply tick the box to indicate ‘This is a group assignment’ and select the Group Set that you have previously created.

screenshot of assignment settings

Students would then choose one group member to submit on behalf of their group, with Canvas applying this submission to each member of the group. You can then provide feedback and a mark on this one submission rather than marking the same piece of work four or five times, saving you time when marking. Once marks are released, this mark and feedback is then provided to all members of the group. If needed, for example if there is a peer marking element in the assessment, you can choose to assign marks individually to each student. 

There are a number of different ways that this type of assessment can be used, this could be:

  • Formative group work – students can submit draft work or formative tasks throughout a module, for example this could be weekly tasks associated with that week’s readings.
  • Summative group work – this could include group projects, reports or recorded presentations. Please remember that these marks must also be formally entered into Sussex Direct. 
  • Submission of additional/supporting documents – for example slides to accompany a face-to-face presentation.

If you would like additional information about Groups and group submissions in Canvas  these guides will be useful:

You can also contact if you would like further help or would like to discuss a specific idea that you have.

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Posted in Canvas

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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