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How do you handle old courses in your provisioning of Panopto folders?

I'm trying to get a handle on whether to turn on our integration with Canvas so that it's just on for everything in Root in Canvas AND for all terms. There are definitely drawbacks for this approach but we have dozens of terms and sub accounts and I don't want to set that up for any administrator errors down the road.

Based on this, I have to questions. In this Canvas/Panopto community:

  • Do you use term provisioning? How much of a pain is it if you do?
  • Do you have sub-account provisioning?
  • Oh and how often do you run the bulk processing of course creations in Panopto? How have you systematized that in your environment?

Best Answer

  • Michael EspeyMichael Espey Whiz Kid
    Accepted Answer

    We (University of Iowa) have the integration set up and we have had it in place for a few years, it seems to work well. We evaluated the different bits of the integration when we moved from on-prem to hosted (Summer 2019 - seems like a decade ago), the config we landed on was to install at the root account, sync all terms (right now we have a few years worth of terms populated, 4 per year + a few extra), sync all sub-accounts from Canvas (we have maybe 400ish at this point), and we use the setting to copy the sub-account layout from the LMS and that helps keep course folders lined up properly, but we don't provision anything in advance. We also have the folders that pair to some of the sub-accounts set up as departments in Panopto so we can give local department admins access to their content in Panopto without needing to go through Canvas. Beyond that root folder in Panopto we have folders that were made by the integration for each of the sub-accounts (either a college/unit or department within a college/unit), then the term, then the course folder. We also have personal folders available for all users (for the Zoom integration), and we haven't had any major issues with content getting mixed up yet.

    Course folders are provisioned JiT so nothing shows up in Panopto until the user invokes the integration in their course. That allows us to see at a glance what departments are using Panopto. We toyed around with manually rolling courses each term (similar to what we do in Canvas), but it just seemed like a lot of work for no real gain for us. We have the Panopto integration in the nav bar by default, so it is a super quick process to spin up a new folder for a course should an instructor want one. We also looked at the setting that creates all folders a user would have access to on login, but that didn't seem to give us much beyond the workflow we are using.

    The main reason we decided to go away from the bulk provisioning route was the number of unused folders it would create (purely from a content management POV). The second reason was that the huge number of folders seemed to slow down the site for a bit after provisioning, but we were spinning up thousands of folders and groups each time it ran. Maybe this isn't a problem outside of creating tens of thousands of folders, but I didn't end up testing it any more than a few test syncs. The third reason was the manual intervention that would be needed at the start of each term. I also lead our central exam scoring service and we have to manually roll semesters for that platform, it is less than ideal. For that platform it is done at the start of each term. We recently looked into building something in house to do this that would keep Panopto course folders, users, and groups up to date with our SIS, but that wouldn't really add much value because drawing this information from Canvas when it is needed gets us close enough to "true" for everything we do.

    We currently have the setting to sync permissions for all IDP when users login turned off, but we are evaluating if that is going to be an option. It would allow a bit more flexibility in how/where things can be shared. Essentially that would allow an instructor to send students a link to a video in an email and when they log in with Shibboleth it will pull their enrollments from Canvas. In my testing it is working well, but I am curious how much stress it will cause with hundreds or thousands of our users hitting it every hour. Yesterday was a bit light and we had almost 9,000 logins throughout the day. If it is making an API call for each of the users enrollments there will be times (around 8 am, 11 am, and 8-10 pm) where Canvas API rate limits are going to come into play.

    I would be happy to try to answer any questions you have, please let me know if any come up about the above or otherwise.

Answers

  • @Michael Espey thank you so much for this detailed response. I'm thinking twice about bulk provisioning now.

    Are you you all using the Zoom LTI as well? Cloud Recordings that map to Panopto Course Folder?

    Also, can you say more about the IDP piece? We're doing unified accounts with both Canvas and SSO set up. Is that what you're describing? One issue we've been hitting is people going to add users before they have Panopto folders set up.

    This is awesome. Thank you!

  • We are using the Zoom LTI with Canvas, but we haven't rolled out the three-way integration (mainly because it was released the day after we turned the Zoom -> Panopto integration). We might look at this for a Summer 2021 change, but I really want it to be opt in/opt out on the user level before doing so. The default (route recordings to My Folder unless the user has set up a manual pairing) has been working quite well, and I would hate to change it now that users have workflows in place. We have been working with it since March and we have moved a ton of meeting recordings in that time with very few issues (outside of users deleting their own stuff in Zoom). Needless to say, Zoom storage wouldn't last us too long. It has been getting better but from time to time the Zoom side of the integration slows way down. I really hope that Panopto improves the internal Webcast experience so we can pivot the courses that don't need realtime feedback to use that.

    For the IDP thing, that is indeed what I am describing, once you have unified providers you will have some other options (the interesting one is the permissions sync). Once IDPs are unified preassigning permissions shouldn't be an issue. It will just trust that wherever the login is coming from, the one account is the target. How we have it set up, users are able to enter usernames and it will have the permissions ready to go when they do log in. There is a setting to enable this workflow: Enable suggesting new users.

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