Feature Comparisons Between Panopto and Zoom

How do you know which tool is going to work best for your instructional needs? Both Panopto and Zoom will be available for faculty during COVID-19. Both can be used for recording and sharing content but there are some differences in features.

The largest difference is that Zoom is designed for video conferencing or meetings while Panopto is designed to record and share lectures. Panopto is helpful for use within a classroom environment as it’s a simple recording or webcast tool without collaboration features in the webcast. Zoom is a synchronous tool which means it is a better choice for real-time discussions and interactions.

Feature Comparisons

Zoom Panopto
Audio-Video System Check No No
Initiate Recording Begin meeting/recording manually Begin recording manually
Recording Storage Record to cloud or local computer Record to cloud or local computer
Recording Availability/Security Manual Automatic or Manual
Interactive Discussions Yes No
Live Session Limits 300 participants Unlimited viewers
Mobile Capabilities Yes Yes
Chat and Breakout Rooms Yes No
Captioning Auto Transcription, Unable to upload caption file Auto Transcription, Able to upload caption file
Download Recordings Yes Yes
Editing No Yes
Result of Network Loss Video is saved prior to loss. Create new recording. All video saved
Result of Power Loss Video is saved prior to loss. Create new recording. Video is saved prior to loss. Create new recording.
Analytics Meeting Attendee Reports Video Analytics and Reporting

Leveraging Both

You can absolutely leverage both of these technologies. We recommend if you have a larger class and will be mostly lecturing or sharing pre-recorded video content that you use Panopto to store and share your videos for ease of use for you and your students. Zoom can then be used supplementally for meetings with students or sessions that require a lot of interactivity and discussions.


There are several important things to consider when you decide which tools will work best for you. Below are some of the considerations we feel are more important and will help guide you.

Class Size

Zoom is limited to 300 participants in a meeting. Additionally, quality and the ability for everyone to interact during a meeting does decrease as the participant lists grows. We recommend if you have a larger class to consider Panopto for recording and sharing your lectures if you plan to keep them less interactive.

Technical/Network Requirements

As many of us have experienced in the recent months, the network at our homes and work can falter. If a lecture is primarily delivered in a synchronous way, it could create some issues for students including audio cutting in and out or an inability to attend the meeting. They could miss content. Although there are routes to take by using your phone and cellular data, it does create a slight inequity for students. We recommend you record lectures that do not require interactivity or discussion ahead of time. Panopto does not rely on a network connection as heavily as Zoom does and therefore may be more suitable for pre-recording content.


Both Zoom and Panopto have excellent accessibility features including auto-generated transcripts that can be edited for accessibility purposes. However, you are unable to upload caption files to videos hosted in Zoom. You can upload caption files to videos hosted in Panopto. You can reach out to Student Accessibility Services for more information if you have a student in your course that has an accessibility concern.

In the Classroom

Panopto can securely webcast your lecture that is occurring in the classroom to your students while simultaneously recording for later viewing within Webcourse@UCF. Additionally, if the network goes down in a classroom, Panopto continues to record and will upload the entire recording when the network connectivity resumes.


Zoom is an extremely popular video conferencing tool and that is directly related to the level of interactivity built into the software. You are able to share polls with students within the meeting, interact through chat, video, or audio, and even move students into breakout rooms. Panopto’s level of interactivity depends on how you utilize the tool. Zoom is an excellent option if you plan on having very interactive or discussion sessions with your students. Panopto does have some interactivity available such as Panopto quizzes which can be embedded in your video content and feed directly into Webcourses@UCF but this does require additional setup on the part of the instructor.

Sharing and Managing Video Content

If you plan to record a lot of material ahead of time or without students present, we recommend Panopto for sharing and managing your video content. Additionally, you are able to upload videos you recorded in other software including Zoom to Panopto and share it with just your particular students in your course.

Learn More

Learn more by visiting the UCF Zoom Support Guides or UCF Panopto Support Guides.