Producers See the Light at the Lightboard Studio

Filed in Announcements, Create, Featured Tools by on November 15, 2021

Borne of the desire to facilitate engagement for students who were estranged during the COVID-19 pandemic, WPI installed a Lightboard Studio at the Gordon Library. The project was a joint effort of the Gordon Library and the Academic Technology Center.  Now, the Lightboard Studio is a production space where instructors can record themselves as they write or draw on a glass partition.

Michael Peshkin, an engineering professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, pioneered lightboard studio technology in 2013. His website succinctly describes the concept.

“Lightboard is a glass chalkboard pumped full of light. It’s for recording video lecture topics. You face toward your viewers, and your writing glows in front of you.”

Facing students during video production comports with an aspect of the cognitive theory of multimedia learning known as social agency theory. The cognitive theory of multimedia learning, developed by Richard Meyer, is a guiding principle for instructional design. Mayer notes, “when the learner feels social partnership with the instructor, the learner will exert more effort to understand what the instructor is saying, which results in better learning outcomes” (Mayer, 2017, p. 414).

Departments as diverse as physics, business and mathematics have been among the users of the WPI Lightboard Studio at the Gordon Library.

Doug Petkie, Professor and Physics Department head, began using the studio in C-term of 2021. “I was inspired by others who did Light-Boarding in A and B terms,” such as Destin Heilman and Mark Claypool, said Petkie. “It helped us get a little closer to giving students a more real experience.”

Using the Lightboard Studio involves 2 or 3 steps. The first is to reserve the space in the Gordon Library. The second is to email to reserve a microphone. The third, if you chose to use it, is to get trained! The video below will help you get started with that step.



For more information on the studio and how to reserve it, click the link below.


If you have any questions about WPI’s Lightboard Studio, email


Lubrick, M., Zhou, G., & Zhang, J. (2019). Is the future bright? The potential of lightboard videos for student achievement and engagement in learning. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education15(8), em1735.

Mayer, R.E. (2017). Using multimedia for elearning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 33(5), 403–423.

Peshkin, M. (n.d.). .info. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from

Closed Caption Systems @ WPI

Filed in Announcements, Create, Featured Tools by on June 21, 2021

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in the places of public accommodation – such as schools – and failing to transcribe or provide closed captions for your educational videos can be seen as a violation of the ADA. So transcripts and captions have legal significance. But beyond that, they help your students access your educational videos. And meaningful access is the ultimate goal.

To that end, the video platforms available at WPI, such as Echo360, Ensemble and Studio, all have mechanisms for creating closed captions.

You can skip to the directions for each platform here:


But before you do, you might be interested in some definitions.

A transcript is the textual representation of what is said during a video. An interactive transcript presents as a block of text that scrolls along with the speech in your video.

Closed captions are smaller segments of the transcript that are overlaid on the video in synchronization with the spoken word.

  • Echo360

Users of Echo360 will notice that their videos are automatically transcribed. Transcriptions take a minimum of 30 minutes – so don’t be surprised if they take a while to be available. And you don’t see them from your library. You’ll see them when they’re shared to a class or link or when using the embed button in a Canvas page.

To turn your transcript into closed captions, first access the transcript editor. To do this, go to your Echo360 library and find the video for which you want to generate the captions. If you hover over the bottom right of the video thumbnail you’ll see a blue box. Click on it. Choose “More Actions” and then “Edit Transcript.”

Here, in the transcript editor, you’ll notice the “Apply to CC” button. By clicking it, you’ll enable the closed caption button in the player.

Students viewing the video in Canvas can turn on the captions by clicking the CC button on the bottom right of the player.

    • Ensemble

      Users of Ensemble video who want to create closed captions for their videos have to upload a caption file to affiliate with the video. This often means uploading that video to another location, like Echo360, YouTube or Studio in order to generate a caption file which can then be downloaded and uploaded to Ensemble. The types of caption file that Ensemble accepts are vtt or xml.There are a couple of ways you can do this with WPI’s tools. One way is to upload that video file for which you want to generate captions into Echo360. Echo360 will generate a transcription file. You do have to wait for it, as I said above. But once it’s done, if you click on Edit Transcript, you can export the transcript.

      An exported Echo360 transcript is a .vtt file that can then be uploaded to Ensemble. Similarly, you can download captions from Studio. Studio creates a .srt file, but this can be converted to .vtt using the tool here.

      Once you’ve got the .vtt file,  go to  your  Ensemble  library.  To the right, you’ll see options such as edit, manage, publish and delete. Click Manage.

      Click on Caption on the top right.

      Choose to upload a caption file. First click add file and add it into the upload box, then click Start Upload. Let it upload, and then click the green Continue box. On the next page, click the green box marked Publish.

      Now, your students will be able to turn on the closed captions when they see the video in Canvas.



      • Studio

        Studio, a video platform within Canvas, has a very easy system for creating captions. And it’s fast. For every video you upload or create using Studio’s screen capture tool, you can request closed captions.

        Here’s how it works. Go to your Studio library. Find the video for which you want to generate captions. Click on the video. Below the player, you’ll see a few options. Click captions. Here you can make a request for captions in the language that is spoken in the video.

        You’ll receive an email notifying you when the captions are done processing. At that point you can go back into Studio and review and publish the captions. Once you’re satisfied with their accuracy, publish them. Studio’s captions look like the below. They are positioned at the top of the frame.



If you have any questions about creating Closed Captions for your educational videos at WPI, please email us at

Production Tools for WPI Video Producers

Filed in Announcements, Create by on February 27, 2021

Greetings, Educational Video Producers!

Did you know that WPI has three tools that can be utilized for recording your educational videos? Those tools are Echo360, Zoom and Studio.



Like a choose-your-own-adventure, you may be wondering where to start. Asking yourselves these questions may help you decide.

Q. Do you want to create video learning objects that can be re-used for more than one section or course?

A. Use Echo360 or Studio.

Q. Do you want to record a class discussion or a guest speaker?

A. Use Zoom from your home or office computer. A guest speaker can be recorded in a classroom using Echo360 if the guest joins via a webconference that you route to the projector in the room. However, classrooms do not have microphones for student audio. Student questions aren’t recorded in a classroom unless they are repeated by the instructor.

Q. Do you want to stream live and record at the same time?

A. Use Echo360 if in a classroom; if you want to facilitate remote student interaction, use Zoom from your home or office computer.

Q. Do you want to record in WPI classrooms?

A. Use Echo360. Classrooms do not have built-in Zoom capabilities.

Q. Do you want to integrate in short quizzes into your video?

A. Use Studio.


Video Production

To learn more about how to create videos with Echo360, Zoom and Studio, check out these links:

Recording your Screen with Canvas Studio

Recording your Webcam with Canvas Studio

Recording at home with Echo360

Recording on campus with Echo360

Recording with Zoom


Video Post-production

To learn more about editing with Echo360 and Studio, check out these links:

Editing with Echo360

Editing with Studio*
* Please note that editing options are only available after you record but BEFORE you upload the video. You will not be able to edit the video after this point.


Video Distribution

To learn more about sharing your videos, check out these links:

Embedding Videos with the Rich Text Editor

Sharing Echo360 Videos as a Course Relevant Collection

If you have any further questions about the video tools at WPI, please email

Recording Lectures Remotely

Filed in Announcements, Create by on February 27, 2021

Hello WPI Community! This post will cover options for creating educational videos during situations – such as the current COVID 19 pandemic – where it’s not possible to come to campus.

WPI has two primary tools which allow for communication with students via video. One is Echo360 and the other is Zoom.

Both of these tools have areas of overlap and well as differences. It’s worth considering what is the right tool for your purposes.

If your goal is to create video learning objects that stand the test of time, then use Echo360. Echo360 is integrated into Canvas and you can read how to download it and create videos here. It’s easy to record from home and then share the videos with students via Canvas.

Echo360 can also be used in a classroom. To learn the basics of recording a lecture in a classroom, check out this post. In both scenarios – at home or on campus – Echo360 lecture captures can be streamed live. When done, they are saved to the Echo360 cloud and shared via your course website.

Zoom is WPI’s web-conference application. Zoom allows for live engagement via audio/video participation. It also works well  for classes where the instructor might want to share the time with a guest speaker or have a discussion. Like Echo360, it also records, but you will have to take some steps to connect the videos to your Canvas site. You can learn more about Zoom here.

So given that both tools record, what’s the best tool to use?  If the primary goal is to create a video learning object with good resolution and ease of sharing, choose Echo360. If your goal is to record a live discussion-based event featuring audio and video from multiple participants, choose Zoom and run from your home or office computer. You may be wondering if you can combine the best of both worlds and use Zoom in a classroom. If your goal is to record, then the answer to this question is no. The classrooms are equipped with Echo360 technology for recording lectures and instructor audio. We do not recommend Zoom for in-classroom use as the classrooms do not have built-in, Zoom-ready hardware.

This post was just a basic overview of Echo360 and Zoom as tools for recording your course-related videos. As always, WPI’s Technology for Teaching and Learning group welcomes your questions. If you’d like to contact us, please email: And don’t forget to check out this site for links to the ATC’s micro-trainings!


Let’s Use Universal Capture!

Filed in Announcements, Create, Featured Tools by on September 4, 2019

Greetings, WPI faculty and students!

Many of us don’t want to use a classroom to record our lectures. Instead, we want to record from the privacy of our own homes or offices.

In this post, we’ll dive into the software that will enable you to do just that: Echo360 Universal Capture – personal.

The first step is to access the software. To do that, go to your course website in Canvas.

You’ll notice the Echo360 button on the left-side menu of your Canvas course site. Click it. This brings you to the Echo360 section of your Canvas site. From here, you can see the Create button on the top ribbon, as shown in the image below.




Clicking on the Create button releases a drop down menu. Select New Capture.

Now, if you don’t already have Echo360 Universal Capture installed, you can choose to download the installer for the platform you’re on. Once it’s downloaded, you’re onto the next step.




If you do already have the application installed, the system will request permission to open it.



Now, once Echo360 Universal Capture is open, you’ll see your name on the top right. (If you don’t, you’ll see “Log in” and you can follow the prompts to do so.)



Before you start recording, you’ll need to fill in some capture details. On the top left of the interface, you’ll see Edit capture details.



In Capture Details, you’ll name your video. You’ll also decide where you want your video to go once you’re done recording it.

In the “Publish To” field, you can select to publish – aka share – it directly to your course site or to your personal library on the Echo360 cloud.

If you choose to publish your recording to a course, it will populate into the Echo360 section of your Canvas site. If you select “Library” the capture won’t be available for your students until you manually share it to the course site. Note also the select box for Live Stream – it won’t be available if you select “Library”. You have to chose a course to publish the video to in order to make the Live Stream selection box available.

If you choose to stream your capture live, students can access it from the Echo360 section of your Canvas website.



Now that you’ve set up the meta-data and the upload location of your file, it’s time to start recording. The recording interface looks like the below.



You’ll need an audio source – either an internal microphone or an external microphone. The display windows show whatever computer monitors or webcams are detected by the software. Most people choose to show their computer display on the left and their webcam image – if any – on the right.

Once you press record, the interface will minimize and you’ll be able to maximize your Powerpoint or whatever it is that you want to record.

Many people choose to record both a camera video of themselves, especially for introduction videos, and their screen. Some choose to record just the computer screen while they narrate/annotate. There are lots of creative options for you!

If you have any questions about Universal Capture, please email Sophie Jagannathan at


Engaging Viewers During a Live Stream

Filed in Announcements, Create, Featured Tools by on August 24, 2018

WPI had more than 6500 lectures recorded over the past year, at least 3600 of which streamed live.

Live streaming is one way to share your classroom lectures with students who may be remote. This is particularly helpful for online instructors whose students may be all over the world. It also helps instructors whose students are at home, watching the lecture in their pajamas.

In today’s world, it’s not enough to simply deliver lecture content: best practices call for engagement. One way to make this happen is through the Q/A tool in Echo360.

Echo360 is the lecture capture system in use at WPI. It’s deployed in multiple classrooms on campus and can be used as a media creation tool from instructor’s personal computers. But live streaming only happens from classrooms at WPI.

To access a live stream, students log in to their Canvas site. They click on the Echo360 button on the left-side menu and then navigate to the day’s class. A class that’s streaming live will be designated by a green “LIVE” button, as shown below.

Once a student has joined the stream, they can access the Q/A tool on the top of the player window. It looks like a thought bubble with a plus sign.


Adjunct Teaching Professor Christopher Wood, of Fire Protection Engineering, has been utilizing the Q/A tool for several years. Wood teaches both online and face to face sections of courses.

“I don’t generally have a lot of students physically in class, so I look to get ‘live’ feedback about my teaching with regards to whether I’m successfully communicating my intended message,” he wrote in an email interview. “Having the online students comment or ask questions helps get that live feedback so I can address it while I’m still capturing the class.”

Wood started to use question/answer interaction tools while streaming in order to build more community. The Q/A tool in Echo360 compliments the way he uses the discussion board in Canvas.

“I think it’s very easy for online students to feel isolated and I want to break that down as much as possible,” he wrote.


To use the tool, professors and students can click on the bubble + icon, as shown in the picture above. A text entry window opens on the right of the video stream.

Live participation, in radio or tv, typically involves a screener who decides whether a question or comment is fit to go out live. While the Q/A tool has no such function, Wood has never had any problems with inappropriate questions or answers.

According to Wood, if a student were to post something inappropriate he would simply shut off the projector in the room, thereby disabling the visual part of the stream.

“I don’t think this is too much of an issue,” he wrote. “but again, I’ve never had the problem and wouldn’t avoid doing this (Q/A  tool) just because of that minimal risk.”

For more information about using the Q/A tool during your live stream, email