Engaging video lectures in Modern Languages

  • Group size: 10 students (maximum)
  • Teaching type: Recording lectures and designing engaging online activities 
  • Division: Humanities 
  • Subject: Modern Languages
  • Tools: Panopto


The Latin American cinema course uses the full range of tools Panopto has to offer to deliver pre-recorded online lectures to groups of students. In the first instance, lectures are condensed to around half their length for an online audience. The course tutor found this a rewarding experience, reflecting on what material is extraneous and what graphics have been included purely to induce audience reaction. After removing superfluous materials, the lectures are then further broken into smaller chunks of around six minutes, so allowing students to navigate easily to the specific material they need. This involved effort on the part of the tutor to ensure that each chunk formed a standalone piece of information. The tutor introduced cohesive devices to link sections whilst simultaneously limiting the use of anaphoric or cataphoric referencing and the need to jump between chunks. All commentary was subtitled using the tool in Panopto. 

(Note: Captioning in Panopto is now enabled by default for all new — and some retrospective — recorded videos)


Materials are accessible on several levels. Firstly, chunking materials encourages access-anywhere learning: for example, it is perfectly feasible to access materials on a mobile device whilst using public transport. Also, students with certain types of disability are catered for by subtitling. By assessing the way in which they organise their materials, tutors found they could produce a much more succinct and focussed style of lecture.


Panopto lends itself well to a highly-organised modular approach, which doesn’t always match a less structured, exploratory approach to learning.

screenshot of panopto

Ben Bollig delivers a recorded online lecture using Panopto – the picture shows the lecturer’s face, slides, and chapter headings.

  • Contributed by: Ben Bollig
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