Lightboard Video Lectures and Tutorials

The COLRS Lightboard Studio is allows faculty to produce micro-lectures for their courses. The Lightboard was invented by Prof. Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University. COLRS designed, and the UIS carpenters constructed, a modified design using clear plexiglass. When the glass is written on using a fluorescent marker, the ink glows and becomes visible. The instructor wears a lapel microphone while a video camera on the other side of the glass records. The camera reverses the frames to make the text readable.

From the instructor’s point of view, they’re writing on a surface analogous to a chalkboard while facing a camera. From the student’s point of view, the instructor is making eye contact while speaking with them while writing in midair.

The primary purpose of the Lightboard Studio is to enable instructors who are comfortable with chalkboard instruction to produce micro-lecture videos with a similar style.

The studio is staffed by student workers and COLRS professionals who can help instructors set up the studio and add any graphics, including the lecture title after the recording.

Effective Practices

  • Write strategically. The Lightboard’s writing surface is a smaller working area compared to a classroom’s chalkboard space. If a complete topic can be covered with one board’s worth of text, minimal editing is required after the recording is done.
  • Dress in dark colors. Lightboard text appears most vividly over dark backgrounds, so dressing in dark colors will allow for the most legible video.
  • Do not wear clothing that has writing on it. The video frames are reversed, so text on your clothes will appear backwards — a distraction for your students.
  • Prepare visual aids ahead of time. Visual aids (PowerPoint slides, photographs, or other videos) can be superimposed at varying opacities over the camera video. If your have your visuals prepared ahead of time, we can determine what will and won’t work for the Lightboard.


If you use this PowerPoint template from the UIUC CITL for screen overlays. COLRS can use green screen (chromakey) software features to make the background appear transparent.