The Lightboard Studio is a dedicated studio for producing instructional video micro-lectures. The Lightboard was invented by Prof. Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University – we modified his design to build one at Illinois. A Lightboard is a sheet of tempered “StarPhire” glass, custom produced for the highest level of clarity possible, edge-lit with LEDs, and mounted on a sturdy frame. When the glass is written on using a fluorescent marker, the ink will glow and become plainly visible. A camera on the other side of the glass records the video while reversing the frames to make the text readable. As a result, from the teacher’s point of view, she's writing on a surface analogous to a chalkboard while facing a camera. From the student’s point of view, the teacher makes eye contact while writing in midair.
The primary purpose of the Lightboard Studio is to enable instructors who are comfortable with chalkboard instruction to produce videos with a similar style, with as short of a turnaround time as possible. The studio is staffed by student workers who can help instructors set up any projected presentation aids they wish to use, and prepare overlay graphics based on the names of micro-lectures. The Lightboard is partially enclosed in a blackout tent to eliminate reflections on the camera-side of the glass. A proxy student near the camera is available to make eye contact with (a stuffed Beaver doll). The real student worker will be on the other side of the blackout drape running the recording equipment.
When finished recording, instructors can take their raw footage with them, or our student workers can add it to the Instructional Media Resources media server so that it can published within a learning management system.