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Lightboard one of many innovations available to faculty

  • Photo by Christi Wiltenburg  Justin Melick, digital media developer, stands behind the lighboard in the Digital Studio in the Kindschi Hall of Science. Melick helps faculty members create videos using the lightboard.

Posted on October 05, 2015

A reorganized Information Technology team has new space in the Kindschi Hall of Science to become a one-stop-shop for faculty members who incorporate innovative technology in their classes or teach online/hybrid courses.

The space for the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team has also allowed the technology to grow by adding new resources to the Digital Studio. For example, the lightboard — a tool that allows faculty to write on glass while facing students — expanded three times its former size to 9.25 square feet.

Matt Hart, associate professor of chemistry, uses lightboard videos of himself to explain core concepts visually, while also being able to give verbal and non-verbal cues that are important for student learning. The videos are created by Justin Melick, digital media developer, and show Hart working through formulas while facing the camera. Hart said it provides a unique opportunity to increase instructor presence in courses.

He added that the ability to pause and replay is crucial. "Students found them useful on my Blackboard when studying and enjoyed the ability to pause and rewind to look back at material they might struggle with," he said.

Melick, who built the lightboard, said more than 50 lightboard videos have been created at Grand Valley since it was built on campus last year. Eric Kunnen, associate director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies,said it's one of only 30 lightboards at institutions across the country. “There is tremendous potential in technologies like the lightboard that help make Grand Valley distinctive while empowering faculty to create engaging instruction," Kunnen said.

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team can also digitize VHS tapes, cassettes and film, and help faculty create interactive digital content. Vince St. Germain, eLearning and Instructional Technology Specialist, highlighted a recent video tour of IT's server room and data center for introductory computing courses, rather than scheduling classes for building tours.

The team also encompasses staff members from Instructional Design for eLearning, Blackboard and the Atomic Object Technology Showcase, which is housed in the Mary Idema Pew Library. Kunnen said team members support faculty through workshops or individual consultations and online resources on their website.

More information about eLearning and Emerging Technologies is online at