The difficult part of teaching courses like physics, statistics and math is that there is a lot time spent at the chalkboard or whiteboard solving complex equations or discussing difficult concepts. In many classes, students are staring at the back of their professor’s head much of the time.

Megan Mocko, a master lecturer in the University of Florida Statistics Department, strives for lectures with a more personal experience. Students need to see her face and expressions as she is writing notes in order to feel connected to her and the content.

Inspired by a light board design by Dr. Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University, John Mocko, a senior teaching lab specialist in the University of Florida physics department, developed a see-through, mirrored light board that allows lecturers to stand behind a piece of glass facing the students and write their equations and diagrams. They’re able to add videos, images and graphics to appear on the glass and make annotations. The students see the professor’s facial expressions and gestures while he or she is writing, and the notes are flipped left to right by a front surface mirror to appear correctly to students watching.

Think of it as a glass chalkboard pumped full of light. You face your viewers, and your writing glows in front of you.

“I really want to convey my passion for my subjects on to my students, so I’m really excited about the new light board studio built by the UF physics department. It’s a much more personal experience,” Megan Mocko said.

Via Mediasite, both the light board with the professor and notes and a live screencast such as a PowerPoint presentation is captured. A Pasco Data Acquisition system is also connected to Mediasite Desktop Recorder to create an experiment recording area. Faculty can attach sensors to the computer for physics, chemistry, engineering, biology and earth science and record live data in graphs, digits or charts for the students to see on the light board. The system can also export the data as a spreadsheet for online students to analyze at home. The students can pull data directly from the video, all of which may be used to create online labs.

The light board is located in a studio that is open to all UF faculty. They can record their interactive lecture via Mediasite, edit it if needed using the Mediasite Editor, and instantly share the link with their students to watch on-demand.

“What’s nice about Mediasite is students can pause the video, back it up and zoom in on certain parts of the lecture,” John Mocko said.

Learn more about the light board at UF here, which includes sample videos of the light board in action.

San Diego State University is also doing something similar with its Learning Glass studio. Learn more in our blog post San Diego State University’s New Learning Glass Studio Uses Mediasite by Sonic Foundry to Make Class Time More Engaging.

P.S. Mediasite isn’t new to University of Florida. It’s been used for over a decade to capture lectures and record and live stream events across campus. Here’s the Top 3 Reasons Mediasite at University of Florida is Awesome.