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Panopto and Sign Language

I wanted to reach out to the Community to see if there are any users that have ASL sign language programs that are using Panopto. We have a program on one of our campuses that has been told to use Camtasia instead of Panopto for their videos. I'm looking for others that are successfully using Panopto in their signing programs so I can share use cases with them. Panopto has been our officially supported platform for years and we would like for them to use it instead of a competing platform. Any use cases would be appreciated.




  • Stacy CohenStacy Cohen Crackerjack

    Hi @Jeff Jarvis,

    Instructor-created video:

    I assume this is for instructors who are making videos without audio? We have not had problems with that in the past if it is just a single person signing. Using Panopto's downloaded recorder, we found a way to decouple the audio from the video by setting the primary video to "none" and adding the webcam using the "Add Another Video Source" button under "secondary sources." This enables us to decouple the audio from the video and strip it out of playback independently. While recording, I always encourage the user to turn the mic sensitivity bar all the way down just to minimize any sound that is captured, but this lets us work around the default requirement that you need audio to make a video. This method allows for them to record themselves and also record their screen if there is material to show.

    If you are hoping to have instructors or students make videos that include both a person signing and a person providing English interpretations, this has been a challenge for us in the past but is not a problem anymore. I recently hooked Zoom into Panopto (via our LMS, Blackboard) and there are wonderful ways that this connection enables our faculty who sign to quickly create videos of their instruction in ASL that include audio English interpretations and that visually present both individuals side-by-side. This is accomplished by adjusting the Zoom account settings for Recordings in Zoom.us for the user; we disable the "record active speaker" option and that forces "gallery view" to hold the audio file and it works really well in Panopto. There are other settings that can be adjusted to control what gets captured and how it is presented in a zoom recording. If there is material to show while the instructor is signing, the view can be adjusted with some deeper setting adjustments in Zoom that I have read about but not played with (you can force the viewer to see a larger thumbnail when in screenshare mode!)

    Even without the Zoom+Panopto integration, anything that can record two speakers side-by-side in real time and output an mp4 (even a free Zoom account can do this) can easily be put into Panopto. I have been pushing that video should take as long to make and produce as it takes to "say" the information, so live recording is my preference in most cases.

    Alternately, if you aren't using Zoom or don't want to connect it to Panopto, you can use a program like OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software Studio) to rig up a dual feed (synchronous call with some other software) between a person signing and a person providing English interpretations and leverage the Webcast option in Panopto to broadcast and record this session. OBS allows you to arrange the video frames prior to recording and then just live-record the call between the two people. I have played with this a little for a remote interview setup, but keep the idea in my back pocket for this use case as well.

    Student-created video:

    If you are looking for students in ASL or Deaf Studies programs to produce video assignments for their class work, you can use either of the Student Assignment options available through the Panopto+LMS (we have Blackboard) integrations. We have used the Student Assignment Folder workflow for a number of years with our World Languages students, encouraging them to use mobile to record and upload through the app into their course Assignment Folder (the instructor sets up). There is also a Blackboard Assignment Mashup tool that is available to us that I have tried a few times and I like it more for some situations. This permits grading and the use of other Blackboard grading tools (rubrics) for submitted videos. And now, with the addition of the Panopto Capture (Beta) tool, getting students set up to use Panopto is so much easier than it used to be!

    For asynchronous discussion in our ASL and Deaf Studies programs, we do encourage the use of another tool, but for anything that gets submitted from one student to their instructor, we have worked with the Panopto tools for a long time and they have been reliable and effective.

    I hope that this is helpful. If you want to talk more, please let me know. I have worked a lot with our ASL and Deaf Studies programs over the last few years and can share what has worked and what has not worked for us.


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