Illustrating Key Concepts and Problems Using a Lightboard

A Lightboard is part chalkboard and part projection screen that floats course content in the space between the instructor and their student audience. This device generates a kind of virtual reality that engages student learners in a way that traditional online learning platforms cannot. Although the glass panel is completely invisible to the viewers, it provides a surface upon which the instructor can write bright, legible writing against a black background, all the while facing the student audience.

Faculty can simply create a single scene where students observe the instructor, the board, computer-generated graphics (PowerPoint, graphs, photos), and any physical objects (models, instruments, etc.) that are a critical part of the lesson. Once edited, these videos may be shared with students using CyBox, YouTube, Vimeo, or your college’s video server and linked through Canvas, ISU’s academic Learning Management System (LMS).

Interested in learning more? Download CELT Lightboard Studio (PDF)

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Produce videos to “flip” their classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch a video lecture before class, and faculty use class time to focus on problem solving and applications of the lecture material.
  • Film tutorials for solving difficult problems or explanations of more complex topics that would otherwise take up a significant amount of class time.
  • Intuitively share their annotations to illustrate problems and processes on the same plane as other visual elements (e.g., flowcharts, diagrams, pictures).
  • Students are able to control the pace of the video; as well as view it multiple times to learn from what faculty are teaching them.

Instructor Orientation to the ISU Lightboard Recording Studio

View Scott Grawe’s (Associate Dean, College of Business, Supply Chain & Information Systems) Instructor Orientation to the ISU Lightboard Recording Studio YouTube video [10 minutes and 48 seconds]

ISU Faculty Use:

Scott Grawe, Associate Professor, illustrates key course concepts for SCM 466: Supply Chain Management

Students may review content at any time because Grawe has provided access to it through Canvas. In addition to the online content, Grawe’s class meets one time per week to go through case studies and various interactive activities designed to maximize face-to-face learning time. View Scott Grawe, Associate Professor, illustrates key course concepts for SCM 466: Supply Chain Management YouTube Video.

Amber Bellville, College of Business, flips SCM 301: Supply Chain Management

Bellville’s course uses the Lightboard to illustrate quantitative techniques to varying business situations. She has integrated PowerPoint into her Lightboard problem examples to show complex formulas and large data sets. View Amber Bellville, College of Business, flips SCM 301: Supply Chain Management YouTube Video.

Centrally Supported Tool:

The ISU Lightboard Studio is located in 2B Parks Library and its usage is coordinated by CELT. Members of the ISU teaching community may use the Lightboard by emailing or calling CELT at 515-294-5357 to schedule a studio operator. Non-CELT clients will need to provide their own CELT-trained Lightboard studio operator.

Tips for Using the Lightboard:

  • Organize your lectures ahead of time by developing a script. The script may be used later for video captioning.
  • Instead of a 50-minute lecture, develop shorter 5 to 15-minute mini-lectures to hold student attention and engagement.
  • If a complete topic can be covered within the space of one board, minimal video editing is required.
  • The Lightboard text appears most vividly over dark backgrounds, so dressing in dark colors and avoiding writing at face height (or keeping your head to the side of the text) will allow for the most legible writing.
  • Be natural when on camera and teach as you would in a face-to-face class. Holding notes on camera is fine
  • You will need a specific colors and layout for prepared visual aids (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) to work properly with the Lightboard. Download Example PowerPoint slides optimized for Lightboard (PPT)
  • A clean Lightboard is important for the video; therefore, plan for an extended time between your recordings.


  • Scott Grawe, Associate Professor, Supply Chain & Information Systems, College of Business, obtained funding to build the Lightboard through the 2015 President’s Flipped Classroom Initiative.
  • The ISU Lightboard studio was engineered and constructed by Matthew Carver, Roger Suski, and Paul Jewell, Engineering–LAS Online Learning (ELO).
  • Studio space was provided by Parks Library.
  • The original concept for the Lightboard was developed by Dr. Michael A. Peshkin, Northwestern University.

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