Monash
Lightboard
Project

Beautiful teaching videos, made by anyone.

What is a lightboard?

The Monash Lightboard is an automated studio recording high-quality, engaging video while being as natural to teach with as a whiteboard.

Lightboards simplify content preparation for the teacher, support active learning by students, and improve engagement through instructor eye contact, inking, blended multimedia and demonstrations.

See what staff at Monash and La Trobe think of the Lightboard Studios, and impact on learning reported by students.


Lightboard origins

Lightboard emerged in the US in 2013/14, at Northwestern and SDSU.

Monash physicists Dr Lincoln Turner and Dr Russell Anderson and astronomer Dr Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway recognised that active learning hinges on pre-class delivery.

When assigned readings, students don’t. When assigned video of familiar instructors explaining, with inking and animations, they watch.

With cinematographer Steve Morton, undergraduate engineer Josh Morris and educational programmer Phil Starkey, they built Australia’s first Lightboard for higher education in 2016.

Education designer Barb Macfarlan, support officer Steph Luo and learning technologist Cameron Nichol trained and supported the rapidly growing cohort of academics teaching with the Lightboard.

This Lightboard Team of academics, professional and students is proud to have enabled Monash teachers to support student learning through the pandemic, and into the active learning future beyond.

Making rich content

The presenter writes on a glass panel with fluorescent marker and is filmed through the glass; the image is reversed left-right in video hardware so backwards-writing is not required. As a result:

  • Presenter looks straight at camera; their writing glows in front of them

  • Non-verbals are captured: pointing at content, gestures, use of equipment

  • Diagrams, videos and simulations are overlayed, viewed live on a monitor

  • Board-writing is familiar: the barrier-to-entry for academics is low

  • No pre- or post-production (slide writing or video editing) is required.


Coronavirus and remote delivery

In the first weeks of the pandemic, we upgraded the studio to operate hands-free. Users now swipe on with card, and start/stop recording and playback with foot pedals. A board-mounted microphone provides a non-contact alternative to lapel microphones. We changed the board cleaning fluid to an alcohol-rich mixture, and are adding wireless presentation of slides.

In April we added a Zoom capability which converts the digitial video from the board to USB webcam format. Staff members add the ‘webcam’ and present a Zoom call from behind the board.