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Ability to Emulate User Accounts for Troubleshooting (masquerade / impersonate / log in as)

Elaine M MelloElaine M Mello Whiz Kid
edited May 2021 in Feature Requests

We just ran into an issue where someone was a department admin in Canvas, but wasn't seeing videos in Panopto when going directly to Panopto. It would be good if Admins could emulate an account so we can test the experience as they see an issue. We do this all the time in the LMS and on other hosting services we use, so this would be tremendously helpful to be able to do with within Panopto's interface.

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    I am a chemist - we need to put complicated chemical structures in the quizzes. When I enter a quiz, panopto makes the *text only* quiz fill the entire screen. Is there a way to let the student take the quiz while also seeing the main video feed(s)? I want to show the complex structures in the video feed and have only multiple choice answers in the quiz... please help! Another option would be to allow image upload for the quiz question, which might be easier to implement.

    This would make a REALLY big difference for ease of use.

    Thank you!!!!!


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    I'm a physics professor and have the same need. I agree with Shannon it would REALLY make a big difference.

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    When I need to use an image ("on the graph, what does D indicate?"), I used a slide with the photo on it. Then created a quiz question individually for them to select. You'll have to pause for however long you think an average person would take to read the question and trust that they'll remember the image to answer on the next page (on the quiz). So on your log, it would show as:

    Slide C: What does C on this graph indicate? (Select your answer on the next page). 11:26:31

    Quiz: What did C on the graph indicate? 11:29:31

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    Would be nice to be able to view as "Viewer" while logged in as Admin to verify posted videos have the correct permissions assigned. If there was a drop down to select the from user groups/departments and to test that groups available videos.

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    I set up a panopto recording and embedded it in Blackboard content area

    Then used the Blackboard student preview button, then clicked on the watch in panopto button

    When the panopto recording plays in a new window, it shows the full settings at the top right hand corner, share, edit, settings which makes a staff instructor think that a student has more permission rights than just <view only>

    While if you log in with a test student blackboard account it shows that in watch in panopto the student actually only has view only rights.

    This feature is somewhat misleading the student preview, not sure if its a panopto or blackboard topic or both?

    Maybe the settings with panopto can be adjusted, i know you can stop the download of an embedded panopto vide for students.

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    To have this ability would be so helpful. I give a big second to this one.

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    We find that we we actually impersonate someone in Sakai (using Become User), we become that user in Panopto when we use LTI. Not sure if it works the same way in Canvas or Brightspace.

    It also obviously doesn't work the same if we're using SSO.

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    While we can emulate a user in Canvas, faculty and admins can go directly to Panopto. We've found that those who do so do not get the same access viewing course recordings that they would get in Canvas with the Panopto page embedded in the course page. Having the ability to emulate a user in Panopto would help troubleshoot permissions issues between Canvas viewing and Panopto.

    And yes, this is with SSO for both. Inherited permissions can vary depending upon the user (in the case that prompted this feature request, a dept admin needed access to all recordings and when going directly to Panopto could not access all content.

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    We have departments in Panopto that mirror our Canvas sub accounts, then we use those departments to set up department admins to match the access that they might have in Canvas. It has been working really well.

    I would say that I would like to see an "act as" feature in Panopto, but only after we are able to associate a user with a Department (and thus their admins). Maybe something where if a user has creator access to something within an area their user profile is accessible to department admins there? That opens up some area for abuse, but it might be an option. If this is something only available to site admins, I don't see it being very useful.

    Maybe it could be a user initiated thing (similar to Zoom) where individuals can give others access to their account?

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    At a minimum, some sort of "Effective rights" would be helpful.

    What rights does a user have to a folder or video and how/where are they granted? Via group membership at a parent folder, explicit permissions, etc.?

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    @Charles Barbour I could see something like a "permissions audit" being very useful. I have a video and a user/group and I want to check if they have access. The tool either shows me where they get permissions from or it gives me some options to give them access (direct for a user/group, change the settings for the session, change the settings for the parent folder - if I have access). Something like the tool available for playlists to align permissions, but it actually checks for users/groups and gives you some choices.

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    While currently our access to Panopto is via Canvas. We have enable Azure in the Panopto groups and will be allowing non Canvas users to access Panopto such as staff, and that all of our Zoom recordings can be imported into Panopto. Having the ability to impersonate users will go a long way to make troubleshooting (non Canvas) users issues so much easier

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    We find that "becoming" the student in Canvas is not reliable when testing Panopto, Instead, we have created faculty, student, and staff "test accounts" (we use in Canvas and all our apps). The test accounts are 100% reliable.

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    @Elba Rios Interesting - in the case I tested, we embed an iframe of Panopto onto Canvas. When I emulated the admin's account, I was able to view the videos and stats, but if I went directly to Panopto's login (SSO login) then I did not have access to more than a couple of course folders. I did confirm that the person was not set as an admin or instructor on those courses in Canvas, they only had access via the department permissions. So it seems that there is an inconsistent replication of permissions from Canvas to Panopto, which is why having the ability to emulate a user account directly in Panopto would help troubleshoot any issues that come up.

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    I second (or third) this. Our LMS (Cornerstone) allows us to "proxy"" as a user, basically log in as a specific user so that you can see whether or not they have permissions to a video/folder in order to verify that something is locked down properly, etc. And we use it to diagnose issues. We use it in our LMS all the time and have already come across times where we wish we had that in this platform!

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    Elba RiosElba Rios Whiz Kid

    @Elaine Mello , I'm not sure if you were able to resolve this. I find that Masquerading or using an incognito window for testing Canvas/Panopto behaviors is not reliable. Using test accounts provides a better picture. I requested several test accounts be created by our IT department (for faculty, students, and for staff). When testing behaviors in Canvas, I add (temporarily) a student or faculty account to a course.

    Here's my workflow when testing:

    Chrome - Sign in to Panopto as ADMIN. I use this to login to Panopto as admin and see deeper into the issues.

    FireFox - sign in as Canvas admin to access faculty courses and troubleshoot embedding, linking, etc. I add our faculty and student test accounts to replicate issues.

    Safari: I sign in with our our faculty and (then, student) test accounts to test and replicate issues. Two switch between accounts, I logoff and empty cache between logins so that results are not false.

    I hope this helps.

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    Thanks for the idea, Elba - I'll check with our group to see if we can use some test accounts. My prior experience with emulation on both Canvas and other services has worked out well, but there's definitely a wonky handshake issue with Panopto. Our latest issue is duplicating content for a course in Canvas and having Panopto add the new course access to the older content (which contains student videos that they shouldn't have access to - we're trying to troubleshoot that one right now) but rather than going through adding new accounts to Canvas to test, it would be preferred to actually emulate a user in Panopto. But that's a different problem to solve at the moment.

    The problem is a test account doesn't address an individual student's access issue. Being able to emulate what they see and experience would be helpful in troubleshooting any issues they have.

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    Bonnie PowersBonnie Powers Crackerjack


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    Bonnie PowersBonnie Powers Crackerjack
    edited August 2022

    In some of our systems Administrator can Become another user to see what they can see and have access to. It would be great if Panopto had this feature.



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    We use Canvas, so my work around has been to emulate the student viewer in Canvas to see what they can view in the Panopto embedded page on the Canvas site. A little bit of a kludge, but at least you can troubleshoot that way if your LMS allows you to do the same.

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    This is a useful feature, especially for tech support! So many times, we want to do something like this.

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