Shared by Stephanie Adair, Philosophy

This semester (Spring 2023) I moved all of the lecture videos for my asynchronous online classes over to Panopto, a video platform that Harper College purchased, which integrates seamlessly with Blackboard.

What I really like about this program is that it allows us to embed quiz questions directly into lecture videos. This is immensely helpful for online asynchronous courses. Watch this video I made and read more below to learn about the program and how I am using it to foster student success.

The Problem

A few years ago, I got the feeling from my online asynchronous students that they thought that watching my lecture videos was more of a recommendation than an actual requirement. To address this, I started putting some questions in the quizzes that could only be answered by watching the video (ex: In this video, Prof. Adair did which of the following: drank a cup of tea, drank a cup of coffee, ate a bagel, went on a walk). After making this change, I saw the quality of student work increase sharply—along with the number and duration of video views. Although this change helped communicate to the students that I really did want them to watch the lecture videos (and gave them an incentive to do so), it felt less-than-ideal, because students were earning points for questions that did not pertain directly to course content. I always thought that it would be much better if students could watch the videos in a program that inserts the quiz questions directly into the video itself. Lo and behold, Panopto allows us to do just this!

The Solution

I just found out about Panopto two months ago. Before the start of the Fall 2022 semester, however, I stumbled across a different program that enables us to embed quiz questions directly into videos, called EdPuzzle. It has a Blackboard plug-in and the free version allows you to upload about 20 videos. I am switching over to Panopto, because it does exactly what I want and is the program that Harper College purchased for us. Since I am just starting up with Panopto this semester, however, I do not have any data to share with you about it just yet. So, I want to tell you a little about my experience embedding quiz questions into lecture videos from last semester with EdPuzzle.

I did this in my online, asynchronous Critical Thinking class. Students were unable to fast-forward the video (so they cannot jump ahead to the quiz questions), but they could rewind the video. (Note: If you disable the fast-forward function in Panopto, then it also disables the rewind function. However, students can always click on the captions button and consult the video transcript to check their understanding before answering a quiz question. The automated captions, by the way, are quite accurate.)

Initial Results

At first, when my students started using this program, I was surprised to see that some of them scored badly on these questions. This was surprising to me because the questions came directly from the video. So, I sent out an announcement to the students with tips about how to watch the video carefully in order to do well on the questions (take notes, rewind, etc.). After that, I saw their scores improve. It seems that students were not in the habit of watching lecture videos closely. This was a skill that they were able to work on via embedded quiz questions. This impression was further confirmed by some students in their mid-semester check-in’s when they wrote:

  • “The EdPuzzles have really taught me how to stay focused during lectures because it continuously asks questions”
  • “I think having more of the interactive video lectures would be better for my learning. I find that those really help me learn the topics because I am actively paying attention and taking notes in order to answer the mini quiz questions correctly.”
  • “In this class something that has helped me is the Ed puzzle videos. They help me understand the subject better since it has questions embedded in them.”

Closing Equity Gaps

I see embedding quiz questions in lecture videos as a great strategy to help with equity gaps. For the past two years, I have been a part of the group of professors in the Philosophy department who have been working on closing equity gaps. We have been researching pedagogical approaches to the issue and implementing changes in our classes.

One thing that I have found is that the literature encourages practices that address different levels of preparedness by helping students develop the skills and habits necessary to succeed academically. The comments I received from students (above) indicate that a lot of them do not know how to watch a video lecture in a way that allows them to process and retain the information. Embedding quiz questions helps students learn to take notes while watching video lectures. It also encourages them to rewind the lecture when complicated points are discussed (or, pause the video and consult the transcript). Furthermore, it gives them a way to engage actively with the ideas being presented. Many students come from an educational background that has not already taught them to do these things. Thus, I find it meaningful to structure the course so that it trains them to develop these habits.

The importance of making expectations explicit is another thing that I have encountered in the literature around pedagogical practices that foster equity. This means that I should not assume that students already know that I expect them to take notes while watching the lecture video, or to check over the transcript when they do not understand something, and actively think about the material while watching the video. Instead, I need to tell them that these are my expectations. Embedding quiz questions in the lecture video allows us to take the communication of these expectations to the next level, structuring the course so that students naturally end up actively interacting with the video while watching it. The idea is for this active interaction to take a form that necessitates that they take notes along the way. Building in explanations for each quiz question creates another avenue for students to interact with the video, giving them real-time clarifications as to why they get an answer wrong. In summary, this approach not only makes the expectations explicit, but also gives students the experience of what it is like to meet those expectations.

Learn How to Use Panopto

Ready to learn more and use Panopto in your courses? The Academy is facilitating a Panopto Basics Workshops Series this semester. Learn more and register for an upcoming workshop!