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.

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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.

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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.