A Cutting-Edge Instructional Technology Tool
Developed by FVCC Assistant Professor David Long.
A Lightboard is an instructional tool that provides the opportunity to create an online learning environment that simulates face-to-face teaching. Part chalkboard, part projection screen, the device floats a lesson in the space between the instructor and his or her student audience, generating a kind of virtual reality that engages online student learners in a way that traditional online learning platforms cannot. Recently developed by Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University, a Lightboard is a vertical sheet of glass positioned between an instructor and a video camera. Although the glass panel is completely invisible to the students, it provides a surface upon which the instructor can write bright, legible writing against a black background, all the while facing the student audience.
Combining Michael Peshkin’s innovative lightboard design with modifications that reduce the cost and complexity of construction, FVCC has constructed their own Lightboard to better simulate face-to-face lectures and demonstrations for online students.
In contrast to traditional video lecture methods (audio narration of static slides), the Lightboard offers several advantages expected to make positive impacts on the student learner experience.
- Eye Contact – In a lightboard learning environment students are able to make what they perceive as eye contact with the instructor, who looking right at them from a position similar to what students experience in a face-to-face classroom.
- Gestures – Instructors can utilize the full range of gestural and non-verbal communication, further engaging online students.
- Integration – In a single scene students can observe the instructor, the board, computer-generated graphics, and any physical objects (models, instruments, etc.) that are a critical part of the lesson.
In short, instructors can behave almost exactly as they would in a face-to-face lesson using the same set of tools they use in the classroom. This results in much more fluid and natural delivery, creating a learner experience that is more comparable, and in some cases superior, to a face-to-face experience.