Developing a Troubleshooting Mindset

As we all begin to navigate a new normal I’ve been noticing how significant the development of a troubleshooting mindset is for growing a sense of confidence, ability, and autonomy when using different tool sets.

I’m going to use a few Panopto trouble examples that came up this week to demonstrate this. First of all, from the start many people have already shown that they were starting to develop a troubleshooting mindset simply by asking the question:

“Can these tools handle this sudden increased load?”

-Everyone right now

It’s a good question and one that is only going to be answered as time passes for several reasons including: tech changes over time, the need to rapidly scale up vs a more gradual climb which would allow more time for testing, etc. Part of developing a troubleshooting mindset is recognizing that you will not always be able to control or fix problems, but that you should be aware that they can occur and have an idea of how to mitigate for that.

Panopto experienced two incidents so far this week. During these incidents users may have experienced problems viewing, recording, sharing, etc. If we use these incidents as an example here is the troubleshooting pathway I would suggest for people having trouble with Panopto. These are the same steps that I walk through in my helper role as an instructional designer. I’m sharing them in the hopes that they can provide a bit of a roadmap into some methods others can start to use too.

Step 1 – Check the System Status

ITS has a web page that allows you to view all system status links in one place. Bookmark this page. This will tell you whether the problem is on Panopto’s end. If that’s the case – the resolution is to wait until the system is back functioning and try again to see if the problem persists. If it does – move on to step 2. There’s a screenshot below of what Panopto’s status page looks like.

Notice that even though Panopto is now operational – you can still see details about past incidents with time ranges to help you determine if that might be the problem.

Step 2 – Specifically identify the problem

Are you having trouble doing something as the faculty member? If so – what problem are you having? Be as specific as you can be. Consult the online documentation to see if there are already instructions for resolving your issue. Middlebury has it’s own help wiki page for Panopto where staff have been working to document troubleshooting steps for common problems we are seeing. You might also take a look at Panopto’s documentation directly (which is linked to from the wiki) to ensure you are following the correct steps in the process you are trying to complete. Still stuck? Move on to step 3.

Is a student having a problem? If this is the case there are some additional steps you can take as a faculty member to further troubleshoot the problem. Please see step 4.

Step 3 – I’m still stuck

This is where your identification of a problem becomes extremely important. We need to know if your problem is:

Step 4 – My student is stuck

First, you can do a little troubleshooting ahead of time.

If your video is embedded through Canvas, first check to be sure the student can and has accessed your Canvas site. You can do this by clicking on the People tab from within your Canvas course. This will show you the last time the student accessed the course and the length of time they had that window open. You can also click on the student name to view more details. Based on what you find here you may wish to reach out to the student to have a phone conversation to discuss issues they might be experiencing (technical and/or personal).

In Panopto, check to be sure your video is shared with the right class (it should reside in a course folder). You can also access the stats for a video to see if other students have successfully been able to view the video. This will tell you whether the problem is class-wide, more wide-spread in the class, or might be more directly related to a students’ individual set up/internet connectivity.

I think the problem is my student’s individual tech set up. First – to mitigate internet connectivity issues you can share this checklist of tips to maximize your internet connection and ask the student if any of these items help. Also – providing slides separately from the text or transcript of your lecture might help. Panopto offers a way to provide audio podcasts of your recordings that might help supplement the slides. Contact DLINQ so we can set up a consultation to walk you through this process.

Helping Your Students to Share Pre-recorded Presentations

A popular request from faculty has been how do I set up a way for students to:

  1. Create recorded presentations
  2. Share them with their classmates

This post will explain how to do this using Panopto and Canvas. However it is important to note that you can allow flexibility for how your students record their presentations based on what they are most familiar with. It is good to have a method for them to use (along with documentation & help) in case they don’t know where to start – but you don’t necessarily have to require them to do their recording this way if they have an idea that would work better for them.

Step 1: Create a Panopto Project Folder for Students to Share their Work

This step will create a location where students are able to upload and share videos with their class. If you have not already created a Panopto resource for your course through the course hub, you should complete that step first. As a refresher, below is a video to demonstrate how to do this.

Step 1A Create a class folder in Panopto

Step 1B Create a Sub folder within the class folder that gives students access to create items in that folder

Communicate to students, either through your course site, or another communication method information about the assignment along with instructions for how students can upload their recordings to your course Panopto – Share folder. We’ve included a video tutorial below to demonstrate this.

Step 2: One option for how students can record their presentations – Panopto

Once the students are familiar with your assignment & its guidelines give them the option to create the recording in any way that they feel most familiar. This will serve to give your students agency to use knowledge that they are already have, and only learn a new workflow if they do not know how to complete the assignment.

Be sure students understand that they all will need to try to share videos using the method described above.

For those who are not sure how to proceed, offer the following steps as a college-supported method that is available for all students for recording virtual presentations.

2A. Download & Install Panopto

Students also have access to download and use the Panopto video recorder. To do this they should:

  1. Open a web browser
  2. Navigate to https://go.middlebury.edu/panopto
  3. Log in with their Middlebury credentials
  4. Select to “Download Panopto”. This option will display in the upper left hand corner of your screen.
  5. Follow the prompts to download and install the application on your computer.

2B. Open and Record in Panopto

  1. Once the application is downloaded students should open the Panopto application on their computer.
  2. Then open the presentation or display window that they plan to record and situate it on the screen to suit their needs. (For example, if they plan to move between different tabs in a browser, pre-load the tabs with the content they plan to use, if they plan to walk through a slide presentation open the file in present mode.
  3. Open the Panopto application and select either their web cam or none in the primary window. In the Secondary window option select the screen they wish to display.
  4. The default location for their recording will be in their My Folder location in Panopto. Ask students to select the project folder that you created and shared in step 1b above.

Below is a video tutorial demo of this process.

Step 3: Upload your Audio/Video File to Panopto (Only needed if recording was not done in Panopto)

Note: Students will only need to complete this step if they did NOT use Panopto to create their recording.

In this step students would need to have their audio or video file saved on their computer. To move it quickly from a mobile device to their computer they may choose to email it to themselves if the file is not too large. (This is another reason to keep recordings short – moving them around gets more difficult the larger they are. )

  1. As a first step students should open a web browser and navigate to https://go.middlebury.edu/panopto and log in with their Middlebury credentials.
  2. Click on the button at the top of the screen labeled “Create”.
  3. Select Upload Media.
  4. A dialog box will open that allows students to select the folder they wish to save the file into (identified by their faculty member) and a selector box where they may drag and drop or select the file they wish to upload.
  5. Depending on the size of the file and the internet connection it could take some time to upload. Be sure to remain connected to the internet during this step. If your internet connection is unstable be sure to share this information with your faculty member so they are aware and can make adjustments as necessary.

Step 4: Sharing a Panopto Recording in Canvas (for Students)

This step will go over how students can embed a Panopto video into a Canvas Assignment or Discussion forum. Both of these items allow students to write in the Rich Text Editor window. For assignments, faculty should just be sure to request the “Text Entry” option to give students that editing functionality. The video tutorial below demonstrates what this would look like from a student perspective.

Embedding Panopto Lecture Videos into Your Canvas Site

This is a workflow that many faculty are using to share lectures with their students. However, it involves multiple steps and utilizing two different platforms so this is my attempt to break that process down a bit into manageable steps.

This post is a work in progress. Please send any suggestions & feedback to hstafford@middlebury.edu for updates. – Thanks!

Step 1: Create a Panopto Folder Via the Course Hub

Why do I need to do this?

Creating a Panopto folder via the course hub enables you to create one location where you can place videos where access is linked directly to your course roster. Consider this a “behind the scenes” maneuver for your students. Although they will see this folder in the course hub and could navigate through your videos for the course here, the ultimate goal is just streamlining access control for your videos.

What does this look like?

Step 2: Install Panopto & Record Your Video in Panopto

Install Panopto

To do this step you need to have installed the Panopto client (or app) on your computer. If you have not already done this you can by completing the following steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to https://go.middlebury.edu/panopto/
  2. Log in using your Middlebury credentials
  3. Look for an option in the upper right hand corner of your screen that says “Download Panopto”. Click on this option and follow the prompts to download and install the application.

Record in Panopto

See the video demonstrations below to learn how to record in Panopto. Note: When you start recording you need to select the course folder that you created in step 1. But if you select the wrong folder (like I did in this video) you can move your upload after the fact. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how.

Mac Version

PC Version

Step 3: Embed Panopto Video in a Canvas Page/Assignment/Discussion

This step requires that you have already created a Canvas site for your course through the course hub.

Why do I do this?

By embedding your Panopto video into a Canvas page you are creating a one-stop-shop for your students. If students know that they can find all the information for your course in one location it helps to limit complexity …at least a bit.

How do I do this?

Navigate to your Canvas site (you can do this by visiting the course hub, or going directly to Canvas, logging in using your Middlebury credentials, and using the dashboard to view your sites).

In the example video below I am embedding a Panopto video into a Canvas page, however you can do this in any location where the rich text editor is available (assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc.).

Fixing Problems

I need to move my Panopto recording into a different folder.

The default location for Panopto recording uploads is your “My Folder” location. Unless you change this when you first start recording you will need to move the video once it is done uploading. (I’ve done this multiple times by mistake just while creating this series of tutorials – it happens.) Luckily – it’s easy to fix.