Innovative Online Learning with Lightboard Technology

If you’re one of the professors who have moved some, or all, of your courses online, there is a new, innovative technology available to use at USF St. Petersburg: it’s called the Lightboard. A Lightboard is similar to a white board. The Lightboard is made of glass and the professor writes facing the audience, versus having their back towards the audience.

In an online environment, it is important to build personal connections with your students. The Lightboard is a great tool for building personal connections because students are seeing your face throughout the video.


How does it work?

No, you don’t need to worry about learning how to write backwards. Using a simple video tool in post-production, we are able to take everything written on the Lightboard and flip the content horizontally.


Above are the production and post-production images, courtesy of a Spanish professor at USFSP: The left side is the original image, while the right side is the flipped image which is done in post-production.


USFSP has used the Lightboard to film various subject matters including Spanish, French, Teaching Elementary Math, and Educational Leadership.

Best practices for filming a video using the Lightboard: 

  • Plan your talk for about five minutes or enough to fill the board.
  • Plan your lecture ahead of recording. Be prepared to write from the beginning to the end of a lecture because erasing the Lightboard takes time and will be done after the lecture is finished.
  • Wear a solid color, preferably blue or green.
  • When writing on the board, leave a space for yourself so students are able to see your face.

Watch this video created by Northwestern University as Michael Peshkin describes his usage of the Lightboard.

For scheduling a time to check out the Lightboard or record a lecture, please contact one of the Instructional Designers in the Library or email me at

Congratulations Karla Kmetz-Morris

I wanted to share some exciting news about Karla Kmetz-Morris, lead instructional designer here at USFSP. She received a call last week asking her to serve on the Board of Directors for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, which also serves as the State Advisory Committee for the Assistive Technology Act.

In this role she will collaborate with other board members and key stakeholders across the state and nationally on issues surrounding funding, awareness, training, programs, device loans, and advocacy for assistive technology and services.

This is amazing news for USFSP and I know Karla is happy to represent USFSP with this important work. As you can see, we have a really impressive team in OLITS! We are very honored and proud of Karla for how she represents USFSP, the Nelson Poynter Library and OLITS!

Karla was also elected as Chair of the Webinar Committee for the Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association. She is working closely with a few other instructional designers in the QM network to develop and facilitate a webinar series that provides professional development opportunities to instructional designers in the areas of design research, strategies, QM implementation, etc.

Congratulations Karla!


Education research and the pace of innovation

Education research and the pace of innovation | Inside Higher Ed.

SAN FRANCISCO – To keep up with the breakneck pace of developments in online education, higher education researchers must be nimble and sometimes make do with “dirty” and quickly gathered data. Otherwise weighty discussions about student learning might get lost in all the hype around massive open online courses and other digital innovations. by Paul Fain

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

Scheduler coming soon to Canvas

Coming soon to a Canvas course near you…. The Scheduler!

The Scheduler tool allows instructors to create appointment groups (collection of individual appointments) in the Calendar that students can easily sign-up for. The Scheduler tool may be used by the instructor to create appointment times for office hours or student presentations.

  • Log into Canvas.
  • Select Calendar from the top menu bar.
  • Select the Scheduler option at the top of the page.
  • Click the Create an appointment group button.
  • Enter the name and location of the appointments
  • Select the course for which the appointments are available from the drop down menu.
  • Add details to give your students information about how to prepare for their appointments.
  • Select the date and time range for the appointments.
  • Choose how long you want each appointment slot to be. Canvas will split your time range into appointment slots.
  • Choose whether students should sign up as groups.
  • Click the Save and Publish button when you’re finished.

For more information check out the Canvas Instructor Guide.

Embedding Images in a Canvas Discussion Board

Ever have a problem trying to embed an image in a Discussion Board in Canvas? Here is a tutorial to help you!


The Video Demo allows you to watch the process.

The Video View Scene allows you to see the steps.

The Video Try Steps allows you to try the process and get feedback!

Embedding Images in a Canvas Discussion Board

Why Storytelling Works for E-Learning

Recently I had the opportunity to read an excellent article on “Why You Need To Use Storytelling For Learning” from the eLearning coach blog. I happened upon this blog shortly after rereading a web document about Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Ideas were bouncing around in my head about the way we build online courses to achieve learning objectives and how storytelling so aptly helps us achieve those objectives.

ImageIllustration by Milo Winter
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bloom’s lowest order of thinking skills, remembering, the basis of any educational experience, is so much easier to do when it is tied to a story that the listener can recall. Memorizing anything feels like work. Listening to a story is just fun. Understanding the context of the story draws us into the story and helps the viewer gain awareness of gray areas in order to broaden our perception when applying the subtleties in real world application.

Sometimes I wonder at our abilities to create meaningful discussions in our online classes, but today I marveled at technologies ability to foster a learning experience in a discussion board when I viewed a discussion in a one of the classes in the Digital Journalism and Design program at USF St. Petersburg, Digital Media and Democracy. The discussion was about Fact Checking and the pressure that the news industry faces when trying to be first to get on air with a story. This particular discussion has accumulated 95 responses in a class of 21. While it isn’t the numbers that I am excited about, even though if you were to count the number of students contributing in a discussion in a face to face class I don’t think you would ever hit 95 contributions, it is the quality of the responses and the ability to ferret out fine details through the use of video citations and relevant links that excites me.

One student added to the discussion by adding a link to a portion of a video from the movie Newsroom. In the video, the newsroom was responding to the Gabby Gifford shooting and was illustrating the internal dissension as to whether or not to report her dead, when other news agencies were reporting that unverified information. We sometimes forget about the impact of videos and their ability to communicate unique and powerful stories and their nuances. Understanding the pressure the news agencies are living, is communicated through character portrayal in a realistic setting with a current and heartbreaking story about real people. Relating the instructor provided materials of this module to this link to illustrate a point, would simply not have happened in a regular face to face classroom. The student would have had to come to class ready with the reference link to have added it to the discussion before the class ever took place. In Bloom-speak, he synthesized the material applying it to his own experience, before he created his own posting.  It brought the discussion alive to me, rendering an impression that transported the discussion into my life outside the classroom, to coworkers, friends and readers of this post.

The integration of stories whether by instructor, or by learner, help engage and make meaning. The eLearning Coach does a good job at reminding us of all the components that make stories so effective. If you have a minute pull up a seat and take a look here.

Important Statistics about the eLearning Market for 2013 – Infographic announced important eLearning Statistics for 2013.

The Top 10 statistics about the eLearning Market 2013 that should be highlighted are:

  1. eLearning is a $56.2 Billion business and is likely to double in size before 2015.
  2. The U.S. and Europe utilize 70% of the world’s eLearning, but Asia Pacific is gaining ground.
  3. The fastest growing eLearning markets are Vietnam and Malaysia.
  4. 77% of American Corporations use online learning.
  5. 72% of companies surveyed report that eLearning keeps them on top of their industry changes.
  6. In 2011, 51% of companies did at least one training session with eLearning to more than 50% of their employees.
  7. Corporations save 50-70% when they replace instructor-based training with eLearning.
  8. eLearning classes are generally 25-60% shorter in duration than traditional classes.
  9. 23% of employees leave their jobs because the position lacks opportunity for development and training.
  10. Online education is proven to increase knowledge retention by 25-60%.Image