Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Building a Lightboard

Yesterday Steven Foster mentioned in his blog post entitled SWCASP Takeaways  that I built a lightboard at my law school.  Here are the details, should you wish to do the same.

First, for those who don't know, a lightboard is essentially a glass dry erase board used for creating video recorded lectures and presentations.  You stand behind the glass and lecture, while drawing on the glass board in front of you.  The setup allows you to write on the board without having to turn your back to the audience.  You may be thinking, but isn't the text backwards to the audience?  Yes, it is!  But, through either a specialized camera setup involving a mirror or using post-production software, the images on the glass can be "flipped" so that they appear right-ways to the video viewing audience.

If you'd like to create a lightboard of your own, I recommend buying the frame online and then having the glass cut locally.  We purchased our frame from New Revolution Tools and are happy with the product.  We chose a 4 x 6 frame, on casters, with built-in rope lighting ($1,600).  The frame came with blueprints  and dimensions to help our local glass cutter fit the glass to the frame.  While some lightboards use real glass, we opted for a more cost-effective clear polycarbonate glass, a.k.a. plexiglass.  At just over $500--and one-fifth the price of real glass--the polycarbonate glass allowed this project to stay on budget.

You will also need:

  • a video camera,
  • a mirror or image reversing software,
  • additional stage lighting,
  • a dark colored backdrop curtain or wall paint,
  • lightboard markers ($20),
  • a microfiber cleaning cloth to avoid scratching the glass ($10), and
  • white vinegar/water cleaning solution in a spray bottle ($5).

The entire project cost us about $2,500 because we already owned a video camera and some stage lighting.  Additionally, I secured a $2,000 technology grant from our larger University, which brought the out-of-pocket departmental cost down to about $500. 

The lightboard permanently stores against a wall inside a small classroom in the library.  The classroom tables can be moved out of the way for filming.  (See photo below.)

We plan to use the lightboard in a variety of courses, including enhancing our existing online LLM program, creating a few new online summer courses, and developing an on-demand academic support video library.  For the ASP library, I plan on asking students and professors to record 2-10 minute videos addressing both skills and substantive topics.  In the skills category, my wish list already includes case briefing, outlining strategies, study tips, and accommodations FAQs.  On the substantive front, I hope to have a short video that discusses one particularly difficult case in our criminal law textbook, tips for drafting a question presented, and some flowcharts and mindmaps, to name a few.  All of the videos will be housed on a private WVU Law You Tube channel.

If anyone would like additional information on the project, please feel free to reach out to me.  (Kirsha Trychta)

Lightboard frame

Lightboard 3.7.18


Teaching Tips, Web/Tech | Permalink


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