When the pandemic hit last March and Harper classes moved to remote learning, many faculty had to do a rapid transition to teaching in an online environment. That also meant that resources and technology that were available to use on campus, were no longer an option.

Rethinking Remote Learning: Creating Lightboards at Home

Physics professor Raeghan Graessle was in the process of utilizing the Lightboard in the Academy recording studio when campus shut down. (The Lightboard is a clear glass whiteboard with LED lighting which allow the instructor to face the camera while writing on the board with neon markers.) Raeghan was faced with the dilemma of knowing that the Lightboard is what she needed to bring her physics lectures to life. A few Google searches later, Raeghan decided to build her own Lightboard and is now recording Physics lectures in her basement, along with her cat Hazel. Here’s a video of Raeghan teaching a lesson on Adiabatic Processes on her home-made Lightboard.

Accounting professor Dominique Svarc was instrumental in bringing the Lightboard idea to Harper after seeing it in action at a conference. Pre-pandemic, she had recorded more than 75 supplemental instruction videos in the Academy Lightboard studio. With the studio no longer open, Dominique had to rethink her approach. She had the idea to use her iPad and Apple pencil but couldn’t find an app in which she would appear on the screen while explaining the lesson. With help from the Academy, Dominque was able to try out a split screen “hack” in which she appeared on camera while explaining the lesson. A few weeks later, the Academy connected Dominque with the University of Toronto where she was able to download a beta version of the iLightboard app that was developed in the University’s MADlab. Having access to this app has allowed Dominique to produce recordings like using the full Lightboard, and also provide feedback to the app developers. Here’s a video of Dominique teaching a lesson on Sales Tax using the iLightboard app.

To learn more about Lightboard recording at home, be sure to drop by the Virtual Tech Expo on February 26, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Both Raeghan and Dominique will be sharing more details about their home-grown Lightboard experiences. View & download the Tech Expo schedule.