Anna Catterson, educational technology coordinator for Information Technology, invented a way to present video lectures to online students that allows students to see the presenters’ face and their writings simultaneously and gives feeling of an normal classroom setting– a mobile Lightboard.

“The Lightboard is used for many things but primarily for videos, lecture videos, or capture meetings that a faculty might want to record,” Catterson said.

Students also will be able to record their group projects and video presentations to use on the Lightboard.

The Lightboard is a high-tech tool for ESU’s online education. This unique invention is composed of lead free glass and fabricated parts that a 3D printer printed.

“So the Lightboard is a star fire glass we attached it to an aluminum steel frame that I built and we had them pre-drill holes into the glass for the frame,” Catterson said. “We then lit it up with strips of led lights and they sit on the glass and shines through the bottom and the top, so any writing that you make on the glass is then illuminated. Then we put lights around it to light up the presenter.”

Gina Peek, assistant professor of nusing, said she is excited about the opportunity to work with the Lightboard.

“I think Lightboard will be the answer to the particular problem of not being able to effectively interact with the content being presented,” Peek said. “I anticipate that students will better understand content when they ‘see’ me using it.”

“The benefit (of the Lightboard) is that you can see their face instead the back of their head as if its a classroom setting,” Catterson said. “The camera is facing it so they are behind the glass and when the camera is recording it then it can either mirror it live or we can take the video footage and just edit it to mirror it so the writing is the correct way and then we upload it to online courses and students find it more engaging.”

This invention is a one of a kind and would be useful to other schools but it took a lot of work and time, according to Catterson.

“I did a pilot drive (and) I used the Light Board for a lesson in class, to find out what works and what doesn’t work,” said Clint Stephens, assistant professor of learning technologies and information technology. “I think it’s really innovative technology and a great way to help online students both get the whiteboard content while also getting direct connection with their instructor.”

Stephens also believes that the Lightboard will help online students experience a human connection with the professor.

“Look(ing) people in the eyes is such a big deal, versus seeing the back of their head,” said Stephens. “Often it’s hard to sit and watch an online video for several minutes if you’re not feeling that personal connection.”

Currently, the Lightboard is only available at ESU and it isn’t in production.

“...(It) would be kind of cool (to receive a patent),” said Catterson. “You can’t buy them (Lightboards) anywhere and I’m really not in the business of making 100 more of them and selling them to other people. I do have a tutorial up that if people wanted to try it and make their own they can. I am pursuing other models.”

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