Online+ Teaching Notes – Valpo’s Lightboard

Handy for both Flipped Classrooms and Online Teaching…!

Demo Videos

Context, Ingredients, and Fashion notes?!

The Lightboard is built with a fairly substantial set of equipment, currently (Summer 2020) installed in Schnabel Hall’s small TV studio. Note: To use it, you need to be wearing dark (deep forest greens/charcoal grey/midnight or navy blue) clothing – otherwise the text you put on the board will washed out when you stand behind it. Also, any lettering or logos in front of the camera will appear reversed. Black will make you blend in to the backdrop!

For use, the VU implementation of the board is very similar to using a large whiteboard… The board in this case is clear glass, with a camera on one side and you (and the microphone) on the other side in front of a black backdrop. To your sides are powerful studio lights that create a visual effect that makes the text written on the board appear to be in front of you and the student/viewer. As you record, you’re facing a large TV screen showing you what is being recorded (including the “flip” of the image), which is very useful – and allows you to see how much of the glass panel is usable.

Remember to bring: A USB stick/key. 32 or 64 GB is a good idea. Video can consume a lot of

Some “meta” notes

A repeat thought…: I try to keep any video to 10-15 minutes (the advice I’ve gotten from VITAL‘s team and other teaching experts and literature is that is the generally the most effective length!). There are two side effects I’ve discovered: if you target a 10-or-so minute recording rather than doing post production or editing, a re-record is simpler. The physical size of the board actually tends to help, as well. When it is “full”, in practice it is usually a good time to stop…

I have found a one page outline “with me” with a rough outline, which helps maintain that time target.

How To Use

There are directions taped to the side of the actual board! There is a sequence of on/off buttons to follow (the camera’s – depending on your height – can require some standing on your toes….!).

You’ll need to insert your USB drive and do a bit of a off-camera shuffling to push “record” and (later) the stop button (or appear partially out of shot at the beginning and end). The light on the record button will blink a bit as it starts up.

Some Final Tips

You might want to bring a laptop to check how things turned out while still there. Nearby systems were available at one point, but these are being moved around at the moment.

As with other tools…. I tend to set my files to “Unlisted” in Youtube. I’ll take the link provided by Youtube for the unlisted video and put it in Blackboard as a web link along with the slides and any other supporting materials. I will generally leave the “Comments” feature (as a way to capture student reaction) enabled.


If you need to know if students are using the videos, there are two easy tools: Blackboard can track “click” statistics (this has to be enabled) and Youtube provides, by default, a view counter… Note, repeat or incomplete views/viewers can skew this counter a bit.

Other Techniques & Thanks