IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

Panopto or Zoom?

Which should you use for teaching online?

Zoom and Panopto allow you to create recordings of online meetings, but they have different strengths and meet different needs for online work and teaching.

Panopto was designed mainly for lecture capture, so its features work best for creating a long-term, easy-to-view recording that integrates smoothly with Canvas.

Zoom was designed for online meetings, so its features emphasize interactivity and engagement during the meeting session itself. Zoom is able to record meetings to the Zoom cloud or to your local computer.

Review the feature comparison below to determine how and where to best use each tool. Both tools are available at no cost to UW faculty, students and staff.

Learn more about UW Panopto and UW Zoom

Want to use live Zoom sessions and Panopto lecture capture for the same course? Check out the Zoom Panopto Integration.

Feature / Tool Zoom Panopto
Join by phone Yes No
Interactive discussions
  • Yes. Zoom is designed for interactive discussions
  • Up to 300 participants
  • Unlimited meeting duration
  • Panopto is not designed for  interactive discussions
  • Viewers can type questions in the Discussion section
  • Webcasting has a slight time delay and does not include the same interactive features as Zoom
Easy sharing of recordings
  • Zoom recordings stored in the cloud are available to meeting participants in their Previous Meetings.
  • Teachers and TAs can share Zoom cloud recordings of class meetings directly with their students through the Zoom App in Canvas.
  • Panopto recordings can be shared in Canvas or Panopto.
Playback features
  • Variable speed playback
  • Search within recordings
  • Automated captioning
  • Variable speed playback
  • Search within recordings
  • Review previous 10 seconds
  • Add notes
  • Bookmark a place in the recording
  • Automate captioning

Learn more about Panopto playback

Display control
  • Presenter’s computer screen
  • Presenter’s talking head
  • View both talking head and computer screen simultaneously
  • Presenter’s computer screen
  • Presenter’s talking head
  • View both talking head and computer screen simultaneously
User view Active speaker view (default)

Gallery view: all meeting participants visible simultaneously

Users can view two screens. By default, the main screen (PC) / secondary source (Mac) is larger, but users can choose which source is larger, or display a full screen of one source.
Chat Each user can post a question or comment during the meeting to everyone in the meeting or to an individual participant. This chat conversation can be saved to the local computer when the meeting ends. Please note there will be slight time delays when using chat during live broadcast.

  • Users can post questions and make comments in the viewer window during live broadcast.
  • Viewers can also take public and private notes during broadcast.
  • Questions, comments and notes are stored after the broadcast.
Breakout rooms Yes, meeting host can create. No.
Mobile friendly Yes. Download the Zoom mobile app. Yes. Panopto is working to improve the mobile experience.
Recording lifespan Deleted after 90 days when recording to the Zoom cloud.

Meeting host can also record to local computer.

Recording can be downloaded from cloud or local computer.

Deleted from the Panopto cloud after 5 years.
Students can schedule and start study sessions Yes No
Last reviewed August 31, 2021