Lecture Capture

What is it?

Lecture capture is a broad term that refers to recording activities in a classroom and offering a method for later playback. There are many tools and methods to record a lecture. It can be as simple as recording only the audio of a lecture for a podcast to a complex recording of all audio, video, and computer content from the class session.  Playback could include a file to download or a streaming service to watch and listen through a web browser. To learn more about lecture capture, please refer to EDUCAUSE's handout, "7 Things You Should Know About Lecture Capture."

Faculty uses for lecture capture:

  • Help students study and review course material
  • Offer an option for students that miss class due to illness or athletic events
  • Enable students with language or learning challenges to pause and replay lectures for improved comprehension

About the pilot:

The Technology and Learning group conducted an evaluation of two lecture capture tools: Opencast and Panopto.

  • Opencast is an open-source lecture capture, administration, and playback service. It was funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon and William and Flora Hewlett foundations, and developed by a number of academic institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley and Cambridge University. Opencast offers options to capture both classroom video and computer projections, and then provide a friendly web interface to play the lectures or presentations online. You can learn more about Opencast by visiting http://opencast.org or watching an overview video.
  • Panopto is a commercial lecture capture, administration, and playback service. It also offers options to capture both classroom video and computer projections, as well as a friendly web interface to playback the recorded lectures or presentations. You can learn more about Panopto by visiting http://www.panopto.com.


  • Options to record classroom audio, video, and computer projection
  • Playback videos through your web browser
  • Integration options for Courses (powered by Sakai)


At this time, there isn't a broad interest in lecture capture across our university. There are pockets of interest and special use-cases, but there isn't an institution-wide need.  For this reason, Information Technology is not funding a central solution but encourages interested schools or departments to pursue a solution that works best for their needs.

While encouraged by the prospect of Opencast as an open-source solution, we ran into several issues with the service.  We obtained a recommended recording device, but had difficulty getting the unit to communicate with theOpencast server.  We discovered that deep internal expertise with the platform was preferred or outside consultation should be pursued.  We were looking for something more turn-key and plug-and-play, so we determined that Opencast did not meet the needs of our own situation.  Other academic institutions are using Opencast successfully, so we do not recommend that others judge the solution by our experience.

Panopto proved to work fairly well for the select groups seeking lecture capture. The service does have its limitations, but having a commercial group to go to for support was helpful for the pilot participants.  For a time, Information Technology funded the service, but decided to discontinue its institutional license due to lack of overall need. The Caruso School of Law is currently funding its own license of Panopto to meet the needs of its community.

Separately, the Graziadio School of Business and Management is licensing TechSmith's Camtasia Relay for its lecture capture needs.