Lightboard and Video Tools

Project Title: Lightboard and Video Tools

Project Lead's Name: Ryan Baltrip

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-529-6068

Project Lead's Division: Other

Primary Department: eLearning

Other Team Members and their emails:

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal: Students in a variety of departments will be impacted by this proposal. Each academic department in each academic division will likely benefit from this opportunity. The lightboard in part one of the proposal could be used by any discipline but would be particularly useful for engineering, mathematics, accounting, statistics, and the biological and natural sciences. The video equipment (and corresponding workflow) described in part two of the proposal will allow eLearning Miami to expand video services and increase the number of videos created and courses served. Any online courses that are designed by faculty participating in eLearning offerings will be able to create high-quality instructional videos that improve the student experience.

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 2,000

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 1,000

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: Part 1: Online students find it difficult to fully benefit from the same type of instruction as face-to-face students when it comes to certain types of instruction, specifically, working through problems and equations as the faculty describes each step in detail. The obvious solution, recording a faculty member drawing on a classroom whiteboard, becomes problematic in that the instructor must turn their back to the camera (and their online student) and block the camera's view of important information on the board. In a face to face class, this isn't so much of an issue because there is greater flexibility of time to teach the material and occurs in an active learning environment. eLearning video productions and faculty self-produced videos use the same basic approach to convey this sort of content online: annotated screen capture with voice-over narration. However, this alternative has limitations as well. For example, students are unable to see their instructor's face in the video. By not seeing faculty speak, students are deprived of instructor presence, which in turn hampers their engagement with the instructor and material. Best pedagogical practices make it imperative that a solution is in place to get beyond these approaches. A lightboard (described below] is a solution to this problem.

Part 2: Miami is known for high quality, personalized courses with expert faculty, but many of our online courses lack the degree of instructor presence indicated a best practice in myriad research studies. One way to infuse an online course with the faculty's presence is through video. Presently, many faculty members produce their own screencasts and webcam videos for certain content. While these products can sometimes be effective, they typically suffer from lower audio and video quality. eLearning Miami produces professional-level instructional videos for select courses, but our current process is labor-intensive and has limitations when it comes to scaling up to meet increased demand.

To mitigate these issues, this proposal seeks to purchase a lightboard and acquire the equipment necessary to greatly improve the end products of self-produced faculty video content. This relatively small investment in overcoming the various limitations currently impacting the quality of online media content across the university will significantly improve current and future courses.

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project: Part 1: The "lightboard" is a device that is essentially the next iteration of whiteboards but designed for video production to allow an instructor to draw on a transparent surface while speaking in full view of the camera. It allows students and faculty in online, hybrid, or technology-enhanced courses to benefit: from an equivalent and improved technique. The lightboard facilitates pedagogical best practices by supporting instructor presence and enhancing engagement with students by showing faculty speaking on camera. Videos that use this technique would allow faculty to establish interactive learning activities that provide an opportunity for practice and repetitive learning. Students would be able to follow along with a lesson and practice on their own.

Part 2: This initiative would enable us to increase the number of videos produced and the number of students reached by replacing lower quality, faculty-generated videos with professional quality content. A new production workflow (for certain use cases) would create an easy experience for faculty, with less preparation time needed to create a video. It would also significantly cut down on post-production time for eLearning staff by combining the instructor's image with their slides during production, rather than editing them together after the fact. In order to augment our current offerings with an alternative, and more efficient pathway to producing videos, we would purchase an assortment of video tools (camera, tripod, video switcher, etc.), lighting, audio equipment, and miscellaneous production items. This more efficient workflow would generate a greater number of instructional videos to benefit: students and allow us to create media-rich courses that greatly enhance student outcomes.

How will you assess the success of the project: The success of this project will be assessed by a variety of methods. As we progress, we will quantify the number of videos produced, the number of courses affected, and by extension, the number of students impacted by both the addition of the lightboard detailed in part 1 of this proposal, and the new production workflow detailed in part 2. We will assess student feedback from course evaluations and implement questions into existing eLearning surveys to determine if these new tools and workflows have proven valuable, and have improved mastery of course objectives. We can tag videos using these various tools and processes within our video repository and assess a variety of aspects of their usage. When all is said and done, we will be able to accurately assess the qualitative and quantitative impact of this project for students.

Financial Information

Total Amount Requested: $19,000.00

Budget Details:

  • Total Amount Requested: $19,000
  • Lightboard: $8,000 ( adjustable-lightboard-system-large-82)
  • Camera: $2,500
  • Tripod: $700
  • Video Switcher: $1,700
  • Video recorder/monitor: $1,300
  • Audio gear: $1,800
  • Lighting: $2,000
  • Additional video tools: $1,000
  • Total: $19,000

Is this a multi-year request: No

Please address how, if at all, this project aligns with University, Divisional, Departmental or Center strategic goals: This initiative augments and supports portions of the 2020 plan in that the functional enhancements, scalability, collaborations, and user­ friendliness these enhancements can make go a long way toward promoting the "vibrant learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly outcomes" that the 2020 plan seeks to create, inspire and support. The following aspects of the plan will be enhanced as well by this proposal:

  • Academic rigor: Better content increases mastery allowing rigor to be increased and reinforced.
  • Innovation and creativity: Keep tools for instruction fresh and fosters the creative use of technology in teaching.
  • Growing and leveraging university resources: Expands current offerings.
  • Use of technology to enrich personalized learning
To the degree that Divisional Plans address the improvement of teaching and learning, along with student engagement, this would be an ancillary, supporting piece. Finally, one aspect of the BCSAE this initiative promotes is the directive to 'Advance Miami's reputation for excellence and innovation in broad, trans- and inter-disciplinary areas of research and pedagogy.'