When classes went remote during the Covid-19 pandemic, Boston College installed cameras in every classroom to record lectures. These videos are designed to encourage sick students to stay home, as they can now do so without falling behind on classes. However, there are many other ways to use these recordings to your advantage! Here are some tips for using “Panopto” this semester.
Review Material While Outlining
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s probably the best use of Panopto recordings out there, so it’s worth mentioning. You won’t be able to watch every class lecture during finals week, so you shouldn’t rely on these recordings too much as the semester begins winding down. However, watching a class or two to refresh your memory on particularly challenging or confusing topics could be really useful.
I tend to only use these recordings during finals prep when I’m reviewing notes that no longer make sense to me. Going back to the Panopto from that class and watching the short clip where I took those notes can clear up a lot of confusion. This is a great way to quickly resolve an issue without halting your study progress to meet with a professor. Getting to the bottom of the confusion on your own will also help you remember the material better than you’d be able to if a peer simply told you the answer.
Catch Up When You Zone Out
We’ve all been there. If you’re sitting in a lecture and realize you haven’t been fully listening for a while, you can suddenly feel lost. When that happens, quickly jot the time in your notes. After class, go to that time stamp in the Panopto recording, head back a few minutes to when you first zoned out, and see if you missed anything important. You can also use a similar method if your professor just raced through a concept or slide faster than you could write down what you needed to. There’s no need to rewatch an entire lecture that you already attended, but catching up on any lapses in attention or note-taking speed can help you feel confident that you got everything out of the class.
Let Yourself Absorb the Lecture
Most students spend their time in class furiously typing away and trying to get down as much information as possible. However, there are some topics that are better absorbed when one stops focusing solely on taking notes or writing the professor’s words verbatim. During these classes, taking only very sparse notes can actually help you retain information better.
If you decide to put your computer away to really be present in a lecture, it’s often best to write up some notes later so you can have them when it’s time to outline or otherwise prepare for finals. In this case, using the time-stamp method discussed previously is perfect. Keep a notepad handy during class and jot down time stamps that were particularly important to the lecture. That way, you can take some notes on those concepts later without rewatching the entire lecture.
Assess Your Public Speaking
Practicing law often involves public speaking, which is part of the reason many professors use cold calling as a teaching method. Watching your cold calls can be tough to do, as no one likes listening to themselves speak, especially when they’re speaking under pressure and without preparation. However, this practice can be really informative. Do you sound confident? Do you use a lot of “likes” and “uhs” when speaking? Are you getting your ideas across clearly and concisely? Listening to yourself once or twice on Panopto may be the only way to find out the answers to these questions, and it can turn a bad cold call experience into something you can grow from.
Tess Halpern is a second-year student and vice-president of the Impact blog. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.