Simple ‘podcasting’ in Canvas with Panopto and Zoom

Podcasts are increasingly popular and many people are keen to adopt and adapt the medium for education. A previous post on this blog looked at ways that you can power up your pedagogy with podcasts but it may be that you don’t want a formal podcast, just one or more audio recordings that students can listen to when and where they want. 

This post will outline how Panopto and Zoom can be used with Canvas tools to share audio recordings with students.

Audio in Canvas Pages, Discussions or Announcements

The Rich Content Editor (RCE) in Canvas allows you to add media recordings (video or audio) to anywhere it is used. This would be useful for short recordings that you wanted to add to a Discussion or Announcement, for example. Recordings made directly into Canvas in this way cannot be edited, which is why this method is best used for short informal recordings.

In the RCE, select the Record/upload media icon.

Screenshot showing he Record/Upload media icon.

You can then either record straight into Canvas or upload a recording you have already made.

Solo podcasting with Panopto

For a more substantial recording by a single speaker, for example a module convenor introducing a topic, then Panopto can be used to record audio only. Recordings can then be shared just as lecture videos are, in Canvas. If you don’t want your recording available to students as soon as it has processed, choose ‘My Folder’ before you start recording.

To record audio only via Panopto, turn off the video and secondary sources (screen, slides) when starting your recording and only the audio will be captured.

Screenshot showing Panopto settings for an audio-only recording

If you forget to turn off the video, or have an old recording that you want to extract the audio from, you can download just the audio from Panopto and add it to Canvas as shown above. Go to the settings for the recording, choose Outputs and Download Audio Podcast.

Screenshot showing where to download the audio from a Panopto recording.

Interviews and conversations with Zoom

An interview with an external expert, or a conversation between members of a teaching team could make a great addition to a module. For a multi-speaker recording, Zoom will be a good option. 

When setting up your Zoom meeting in your account at check that it is set to record the meeting to the cloud. 

Screenshot showing Zoom settings to record to the cloud

When you start your meeting, make sure that everyone’s video is turned off in order to only record the audio. 

After your ‘meeting’ the recording will be processed and uploaded to your ‘My Folder’ in Panopto, in a sub-folder called ‘Meeting Recordings’.

Screenshot showing Meeting Recordings in Panopto 'My Folder'.

Editing and sharing

While your Panopto recording is in your ‘My Folder’ you may want to trim the start and finish (see Focus on Panopto: Editing recordings) and add a meaningful title and description before sharing it with students.


You may also want to add closed captions. A recording made in Panopto has the option of having Automatic Speech Recognition captions added (see Focus on Panopto: adding ASR captions) and Zoom recordings will automatically have captions added as the recording is processed.

Sharing via Canvas

You will then want to share your recording with your students. To do this you can move the recording to the Panopto folder for a particular module. You may also want to embed the recording in a Page so that you can add some context and related files. Moving and sharing options are outlined in our previous post: Focus on Panopto: Sharing recordings.

Mobile downloads

To make your Panopto recordings more like a podcast you may want your students to be able to download them on their mobile devices to listen to wherever they are. This can be done in the Panopto folder settings. 

  1. Click the cog icon.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Tick the ‘Enable podcast feed’ box.
screenshot showing Panopto folder settings
screenshot showing how to enable the podcast feed for a Panopto  folder

Help and support for Sussex staff

If you want help using Panopto or Zoom in your teaching, there are some great online workshops coming up. You can see the full list and book online via the TEL website and there are lots of useful new resources available on the Teaching Online Learning Anywhere Canvas site.

As always, the Technology Enhanced Learning team are here (wherever we are) to help and support staff so please do email us at

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Posted in Canvas, Panopto, Podcast

4 fantastic uses for Padlet in online teaching

Padlet is a great tool that allows for a number of synchronous and asynchronous online teaching opportunities, here are 4 fantastic uses for Padlet as part of online teaching and learning:

  1. Backchannel and Q/A space
  2. Sharing resources
  3. Group work
  4. Introductory space / Social space 

Backchannel and Q&A space

One use for a Padlet is to use it as a backchannel for a module. Share the Padlet with students and let them know it’s an area for them to post ideas and questions. This can be a good alternative to using Canvas Discussions as students can post questions anonymously on Padlet which may encourage them to post more often. 

You aren’t limited to just using text to reply to student questions on Padlet,. You could post a video or voice recording of yourself answering the question which will allow students to feel more connected and establish more of a personal connection with you. Padlet’s ability to showcase a range of posts at once on a wall also then enables students to easily see previously answered questions. 

Sharing resources

You can post a wide range of multimedia to Padlet, this can make it a great area to post resources and materials from videos to images to documents to audio files. If you’ve got a resource you want to share with your students chances are you can post it to a Padlet wall. The added benefit is that students can also post any useful resources they come across to share them with the whole class. 

Here is an example of a Padlet used as an area to collate resources.

a Padlet wall

Group work

Do you have students working on group projects together? Then why not get them set up with their own Padlet wall (students can have their own Padlet back accounts created by TEL on request from tutors) as an area to work collaboratively. They can post messages, share resources and collaborative documents. This can then also serve as a space for them to exhibit their finished group project to tutors or other students.

Padlet can also work for more short term group work, for example if you are holding a group teaching session on Zoom and you’ve broken students up into breakout rooms then you could ask for each group to post their group’s thoughts or notes onto Padlet, this way you capture all your students thoughts and allow them to be easily shared with other groups.

You can learn more about how others at Sussex use Padlet for group work in DIY Digital: Doing Punk Online (Lucy Robinson and Chris Warne, History) and Learning from each other’s reading with group Padlet walls (Evan Hazenberg, English).

Introductory space / Social space 

Padlet can also be used as a social space for your modules allowing students to connect with each other. For example at the start of a module a Padlet could be created for students and staff to introduce themselves through video, text, audio or other media.  You could ask every student to create a short video recording introducing themselves, other students then have the option to reply to each other and form a social connection.

For a great example of the use of Padlet to provide a social space for students see Sussex academic Dr Rebecca Webb’s ALT blog post Padlet – digital walls for sharing, learning and teaching.

Things to consider: Accessibility

Not all of the functions in Padlet are fully accessible, though this is something they are working on (see Accessibility and Padlet). When using Padlet you should consider whether you need to provide alternatives or modify the activity to allow everyone to take part. If you know that students are using screen-reading software to access internet content, or relying on keyboard input to navigate computer resources (i.e. do not use a mouse), you should consider alternate ways to include these students in the planned activity. Care should also be taken that wallpaper and colour schemes used in Padlet do not disadvantage students who are partially-sighted or have a colour vision deficiency. 

You can read more about using Padlet at Sussex on the TEL website and in these previous posts about Padlet:

The Technology Enhanced Learning team (TEL) are always happy to support staff getting started with Padlet or thinking about how it might be useful for their students’ learning. Contact us at

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Posted in Blended learning

Teaching during a global pandemic: Meeting the Sussex Baseline

The Covid-19 global pandemic has introduced enormous uncertainty across the HE sector while social distancing measures will undoubtedly place restrictions on the ability of institutions  to deliver face-to-face teaching or undertake in-person assessment come the autumn term. As a result, at Sussex we’ve been preparing a blended approach – planning to ensure our curriculum can be fully delivered online in Semester 1 whilst intending to offer as much face-to-face teaching on-campus as can safely be accomodated. Work over the summer is focussed on planning and preparing modules for this new blended mode.  Lots has been learned from the recent experience of online teaching and a new initiative to emerge has been the establishment of a University Online Learning Baseline, designed to help staff with the planning of their module to help ensure a high quality experience for our students. In this blog post we introduce the Baseline and highlight the support available for Schools with its implementation.

The Online Learning Baseline

The University of Sussex has introduced a new Online Learning Baseline which establishes minimum expectations for all taught modules facilitated via Canvas.

The Baseline has been developed based on feedback collated from School snapshot reports, focus groups and staff/student survey data and is designed to be flexible, ensuring there continues to be space for creativity in relation to methods of teaching and supporting learning whilst setting out practical steps to deliver a more contextually rich, consistent, connected and accessible online experience for our students and staff.

The baseline addresses seven core areas: Technology and Software; Structure and Organisation; Orientation and Communication; Content and Resources; Collaboration and Engagement; Assessment and Feedback; and Accessibility and Copyright.

The Online Learning Baseline seeks to ensure consistency between the provision of modules. The baseline establishes that:

  • Learning materials and activities are accessible to all students.
  • The structure and organisation of the module is clear and uses a School-provided Canvas template to help orientate students.
  • The expectations we have of students each week are clear 
  • Each module uses one of Sussex’s core communication channels (Canvas Announcements, Canvas Discussion, Canvas Chat and Padlet) and tutors use it regularly.
  • Content and resources are readily available before face-to-face teaching sessions. It is chunked into manageable sizes and provided with questions for students to think about while engaging with it. Where possible it is made available through the library reading list.
  • The learning material is linked to collaborative activities so students get opportunities to discuss and use the knowledge covered in the material. 
  • Students have opportunities to engage with the tutors and their peers in Zoom and Zoom Breakout rooms to enhance collaboration.
  • The assessments include clear instructions and marking criteria and methods for feedback are clearly explained to students.


Meeting the baseline is extremely important so we can deliver the teaching and learning experience that our students have grown to know and enjoy. Professional Service teams are doing their utmost to support faculty adapt their teaching to meet the challenge and be ready, if need be, to move teaching and assessments online. 

Almost every School has developed a bespoke Canvas template, which will make the student experience more consistent and familiar and make meeting the baseline much easier for faculty.

Technology Enhanced Learning will be on hand to provide workshops with four new academic developers. They will be happy to deliver tailored workshops too for the specific needs of your School. The library and IT Services staff are available to provide support developing reading lists and solving hardware and software related issues respectively. 

The baseline requirements will allow us to provide an excellent and meaningful learning experience for students despite the new challenges the pandemic has created. If you’d like help on how to meet the baseline, using the Canvas templates or with anything else we have raised in this post, please contact

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Posted in Blended learning, Canvas, Learning Design, Learning Technologies

Online methods for 6 types of learning

With the publication of the University of Sussex’s Online Learning Baseline, a flexible guide designed to establish minimum expectations for all taught modules, we know that staff will be keen to start work on their 20/21 modules. We wanted to provide staff with some prompts and ideas for online activities which are supported by pedagogical theories to help adapt and enhance module content. Below we will take you through the ‘6 learning types’ which are part of Professor Diana Laurillard’s Conversational Framework, a student centred pedagogical theory, followed by some example activities for each type. 

The 6 learning types

  • Acquisition – listening to a lecture or podcast, reading a book or article, watching a video or demo.
  • Inquiry – learning through investigation, requires students to find resources, come up with questions and evaluate what they find.
  • Discussion – asking and answering questions of other learners, questioning other’s arguments and exchanging ideas.
  • Practice – learners respond to a particular task goal, use feedback to adapt their output or action and possibly attempt the task again.
  • Collaboration – working with others to produce a shared output (e.g. a definition, a diagram, a report), students are required to negotiate with others allowing for the opportunity for peer feedback.
  • Production – students produce something to be evaluated by the teacher allowing them to display their learning.

How can we achieve these learning types online?

Many of the activities that you and your students carry out both in the classroom and during self study would fit into these categories. The suggestions below will hopefully help you explore some ideas for activities that you can create and implement in an online setting.


As each module will have an online reading list, you can provide students with access to lots of resources there. Structuring this week by week, or by topic, will help students to navigate through these resources and keep on track of what they should have read. You could also create video or audio recordings for your students using Panopto. Many people will have been doing this routinely anyway, however with the transition to online learning try to be mindful of the length of your recordings by sticking to a duration of 30 minutes or less. This doesn’t mean that you have to limit the amount of content that you are providing to your students, just try to chunk this up to make it more manageable.


Rather than consuming the sources that you present to them, inquiry requires students to find and evaluate their own sources. You could present a particular theme or issue to students and ask them to find their own source relating to this, this could be a journal articles, news articles, videos or a seta of data among other things. You could then ask students to post this in a shared resource bank using Padlet or a Canvas discussion. Students then benefit not just from the act of discovering their own resource but also from the collective bank of resources.


You can run online discussions both synchronously and asynchronously. For a synchronous activity you could use the breakout rooms in Zoom to split the class into smaller groups, perhaps groups of 3-4 or in pairs for a ‘think-pair-share’ activity. These rooms will allow students to participate in smaller groups, making it easier for all students to contribute. Provide them with a series of questions or prompts and time limit, you can then visit each room to check on student progress and prompt further questions and discussions. After the time is up students can then come back together and feed back to the larger group either verbally or by writing a short summary in the Zoom Chat.

Canvas discussions could be used to facilitate an asynchronous discussion. As with the in-person discussions, you could provide students with a series of prompts or questions they should be addressing. You could use text, audio, video or an attached file in the discussion introduction. Students can then respond to the questions by posting a reply in the discussion, again this could be text, audio or video depending on each student’s preference. Specify a time window during which students should interact and bear in mind that some students may be contributing from different time zones so try not to make this too short. Instruct the students to then go back through the discussion and respond to at least 3 other students’ posts, asking questions of them and prompting further discussion to build up the conversation.


A practice activity could build upon the work that students completed in the inquiry activity. Once they have found their resource, or resources, ask students to produce a response to, summary of or evaluation of it. Students could produce this in various ways, for example as a presentation, a poster or diagram, a written piece or an audio or video recording. Once completed, students could share their output either via a Canvas discussion or Padlet wall if you would like this to be visible to all students, or using a formative Canvas assignment if this should only be visible to teaching staff. Provide brief feedback to students individually and consider posting an announcement to provide general feedback to the cohort.


As with discussion activities, collaboration can be achieved both synchronously and asynchronously. Present a shared task to students, this could be the creation of a shared resource such as a presentation, a definition of a term or a diagram, or this could be the completion of an activity (or series of activities) within a collaborative document. This could be achieved synchronously through breakout rooms in Zoom which allow students to share their screens with one another. For an asynchronous approach you could set up Groups within your Canvas module to provide students with their own working space. Within this space they can create their own discussion and set up collaborative Office 365 documents and Google Docs.


This could be a formative or summative assessment which requires students to display the knowledge that they have gained throughout the module. Again, the assignments tool within Canvas, which many will be familiar with, will allow students to submit a piece of work for you to provide feedback on. Consider allowing students to take a flexible approach to this, giving them the opportunity to choose how they will respond to a task. Rather than just a written response students could choose to submit a video, a podcast or a recorded presentation. 

There are many other approaches you could take and tools you could make use of for each of these learning types, please contact if you would like advice and guidance on setting up any of the activities mentioned here or to explore this further.

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Posted in Active learning, Blended learning, Learning Design

5 ways to keep your students engaged online

When teaching online it is important to consider ways to help students engage with the materials and activities. Here are a few tips.

Paolo Oprandi

1. Establish clear routes of communication 

Your main route of communication is likely to be the module’s Canvas home page and weekly pages. Additionally, you might use Canvas announcements (which by default will email students as well, unless they have changed their notification settings). Whatever your chosen route of communication be consistent and use it regularly. You might present learning materials via some text, a Panopto video or short audio podcasts. Whatever your chosen route(s), provide opportunities for students to tell you if they find accessing your communications or learning materials difficult.

2. Prioritise clarity in communicating what students should be doing

When we study online it can be harder to follow directions or know what you are meant to be doing next. Furthermore, we might be less easy to contact as we would be in a classroom setting. As a result, we should prioritise creating a consistent structure for teaching and learning activities, so students become familiar with a weekly study pattern. 

3. Combine ‘live’ teaching with asynchronous and/ offline learning activities

Combining and blending types of teaching activity can deepen your students’ learning. For example you can use Zoom as short interactive teaching sessions, and then give students a group or individual research task to do and ask them to post their findings on a Canvas Discussion. In the next face-to-face session, talk in detail about the students’ contributions. If no students have completed the tasks you’ve set, talk about what you would have expected from them and the importance of completing tasks for achieving their assessment

4. Put a face and a voice to learning activities

The online world can be lonely and disconcerting. It is a nice touch to put a photo of yourself on your Canvas page, next a task and in welcome slides of your presentations. Even if you are not sharing a Panopto lecture, include a welcome video or a short audio podcast to a week’s piece of work.

5. Use Canvas to make expectations you have of your students very clear

Use your Canvas site to set the expectations that you have of students and point them to the weekly tasks that you expect them to do.

As ever, Technology Enhanced Learning are ready and willing to help University of Sussex staff with online teaching, via the Teaching Online Learning Anywhere site or

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Posted in Blended learning

CEW: Child Enhanced Working

an open laptop, with the tops of two children's head showing over the top

The day starts with calm but it’s not long before our youngest starts screaming. The noise finally subsides as the children are ushered in front of the iPad for 30 minutes of Cosmic Yoga, buying time for the morning meeting. As people are joining the Zoom call, I print off reams of colouring-in mixed with maths worksheets. Later, I take a few minutes to set up some paints then rush back to the computer to answer another email. Afternoon arrives and I wonder if the webinar attendees can hear the Mary Poppins Returns karaoke taking place downstairs. As the webinar continues, some curly blond hair sidles into the corner of the screen to pick up yet more colouring sheets and deliver a biscuit on the way. 

Like many other people, the last three months of lockdown have seen my wife and I juggling childcare with our respective jobs. We have two children aged 6 and 4 and both work a kind of ‘covid’ full-time, fitting in the hours where we can.

We’ve opted to split the days in half. In the morning, one of us will take the ‘office’, anywhere the kids aren’t, while the other will sit or work with the kids. We swap in the afternoon or for important meetings. While it’s not ideal, we’ve managed to get by with this approach.

I take some comfort knowing I’m not alone in this experience. I often see a colleague pause a meeting to talk to their child or see the slightly frazzled face of another colleague after an afternoon with their two year-old.

While lockdown is beginning to ease and I start to entertain the thought that things may eventually get back to some kind of normal, I recognise that this may remain the experience for many of our distance and some of our campus students. 

With this in mind, some of the things I’ve most appreciated during this time are:

  • The importance of having a space away from distraction.
  • The ability to turn my camera off and mute the mic from time to time.
  • Captions on videos so I don’t have to have the sound on (a magnet for my children).
  • Patience of others in meetings when there are unexpected interruptions.
  • Asynchronous means of communication. For all its frustrations I’ve really appreciated chat through MS Teams.

These things will be much more present in my mind in the future.

If you have any questions about how you can make the best use of technologies for the autumn semester do contact and we’ll do our best to support you. 

Posted in Case Study

4 top TEL tips for videos

This short video will take you through four quick top TEL tips which can help you improve the quality of your videos when you’re recording yourself.

Screenshot of the video: $ top TEL tips for recording video with link to the video
Click the image or this link to watch the video.

Tips include:

  • Positioning. Ensure you are in the centre of frame of your camera and that you’re not positioned too close or too far away.
  • Beware of background noise. It can be wise to pay attention to what sort of background noises appear in your video, often these are noises we hear every day and so we don’t pay attention to them, but for students watching our video these sounds can be distracting. It can be wise to try and find either a quiet area or to use an external microphone which can help to isolate sound.
  • Ensure you’re well lit. Make sure that you’ve got as much light on you as possible when recording, if you’re too dimly lit it’ll be hard for students to see you. Also make sure that strong light is coming from either the side or in front of you, if strong light comes from behind you it can again make it hard for students to see you.
  • Be mindful of what’s in the background. Ensure you’ve given some thought to what’s in the background of your video, you don’t want anything too distracting to appear, nor do you want anything appearing that you don’t wish for your students to see. It’s also wise to not have too cluttered a background or too blank and clinical a background as these can be either distracting or intimidating, it’s best to try and strike a balance where the background isn’t overly distracting but it still shows you as human and approachable.

There are more useful resources for staff at the University of Sussex in the Teaching Online Learning Anywhere Canvas site and you can contact to discuss ways to use video and other learning technologies in your teaching.

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Posted in digital skills, Panopto

TEL:US Podcast with Professor Pam Parker – Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

TEL:US Podcast logo.

In what now seems a distant memory, our last on campus seminar was the first of the DARE to Transform seminars. Sessions to support colleagues who are on the Scholarship track at the University.

In this session Professor Pam Parker joined from City, University of London to give an introduction to scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

In this podcast Dan sat down with with Pam after her seminar along with our very own David Walker (Head of TEL) to speak more on the topic of SoTL.

For staff at the university, don’t forget to find out more info on the DARE to Transform Canvas site, and book on to our next seminar, Pedagogy Action Research on the 30th June.

Posted in Podcast

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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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