Gnaneswaran to introduce transformative teaching technology to campus

Written by Alison Parkins on Mon, 08/17/2020 - 07:58 |
Learning Glass

As the recipient of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s 2019-20 Innovations in Technology for Teaching and Learning Award, Dr. Vettrivel Gnaneswaran, assistant professor of industrial engineering, will use the award funds to implement new learning glass technology on campus. Sponsored by UW-Platteville’s Teaching and Technology Center, the award provides faculty and teaching academic staff with funds to purchase technology with the potential to improve teaching and learning.

The learning glass technology, also known as a lightboard, enables instructors to record the writing that would typically occur on a whiteboard during a lecture, while maintaining face-to-face contact with students who watch the video.

According to Gnaneswaran, a recent study showed that lecture videos that include real-time writing and drawing, especially those where the instructor’s hand is visible, improved students’ learning more than a PowerPoint screencast.

While filming a lecture, the instructor stands behind the learning glass and writes on it from left-to-right. As the camera captures the recording, it is automatically inverted so students viewing the lecture video see the information displayed properly. The technology also allows images to be superimposed.

Gnaneswaran plans to use the learning glass technology in four of his industrial engineering courses that currently follow a flipped classroom construct.

“Learning glass technology will enable faculties across various disciplines to quickly adapt to a virtual learning environment with minimal compromise on student engagement,” said Gnaneswaran.

Engineering technicians, Media Technology Services staff and students have collaborated on the project. The 40-inch lightboard was custom-built in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science’s engineering shop, and the technology is being developed as a mobile version that can be maneuvered into most classrooms to record a lecture.

“UW-Platteville has always pioneered in strategic investments in both infrastructure and efforts to cater to key stakeholders,” said Gnaneswaran. “This learning glass project is one such investment in providing, though at a slower pace than envisioned due to the ongoing pandemic, a viable teaching resource for faculties. When this technology is fully operational around mid-fall, faculties will be able to produce high-quality instructional videos within their preferred teaching space. Donning my industrial engineering hat, I strongly believe that there is an opportunity to grow with every crisis. This COVID-19 crisis has provided us an opportunity to expand our horizon in digital transformation through this lightboard.”