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Free Lecture Capture System Gains Widespread Academic Support

Software developer Panopto reported to us this week that hundreds of educational institutions have applied for its Socrates Project, which allows K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to adopt the company's CourseCast system at no charge. The program, launched late last year, is aimed specifically at academic institutions.

By last week, more than 300 institutions had applied for the project. In fact, according to Panopto CEO Brad Winney, the number is closer to 340 in various stages of adoption (from applications to investigation to actual deployment), mostly in higher ed, but also including a couple dozen K-12 districts, which are using it both for professional development and for making recorded classes available to students to help boost achievement.

CourseCast, which came out of a project at Carnegie Mellon University, allows users to capture, edit, and stream audio and video via the Web and provides indexing and archiving capabilities as well. Captured materials can be searched, linked, and annotated through the software, and recorded materials can be embedded in popular course management systems.

A 1.5 update released in late January added in a new, automatic method for sending recorded materials directly to a Web page; the ability to edit materials and view edits immediately from any computer on the network; support for searching notes and PowerPoint slides from the viewer; a cross-platform viewer that supports note taking; and support for "arbitrary collections of object material," which can include whiteboard captures, slideshows, and other content associated with a given lecture.

Winney told us that Panopto expects to release a further update in the June timeframe--one based largely on input from participants in the Socrates Project. CourseCast is provided free through Panopto's Socrates Project in exchange for participation in beta programs aimed at further enhancing the software. The company makes its money off the system in the commercial, non-academic market and through professional services. Certain levels of support are provided free for academic institutions, although Winney said Panopto will also be coming out with professional services for academia as well.

Further information on CourseCast and the Socrates Project can be accessed via Panopto's home page.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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