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

Compelling Reasons to Caption at WPI

Filed in Announcements by on October 12, 2021

“When  students are able to access their accommodations, without barriers,  this is a wonderful thing,” says Amy Curran, Director of Accessibility Services at WPI. In the education field, an accommodation refers to a modification that has been put in place in order to enable students to access the curriculum in both an in-person and virtual classroom setting.

Closed captioning for videos is one type of accommodation. Traditionally implemented for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, the utility of closed captions extends beyond this community. According to Curran, closed captioning can also assist individuals with reading, retention and processing disabilities. “Anyone with any kind of processing-based disability would benefit from captions,” she says.   

As the student population diversifies, Curran expects to see the demand for accommodations such as closed captioning grow. “The dynamic of students has changed,” says Curran. “The accessible world is opening up and more students are seeking this kind of support.” 

Closed captioning is also an easy way to implement universal design , a framework which aims to “improve teaching and learning for all people” according to CAST, a non-profit education research and development organization. 

Because students do not have to disclose disabilities, it’s important to remember that there may be someone in class with an undisclosed or undiagnosed processing challenge.  Taylor Rohena, Assistant Director of the Office of Accessibility Services, notes that some students “may use captioning to really gain access to the content.” 

Aside from auditory or cognitive disabilities that are addressed by an accommodation like closed captioning, there are a variety of factors that make turning on closed captioning a practical choice.    

 Environmental noise can be a reason for students to turn on closed captions. “I know a lot of people who use them when they want to watch the video in crowded spaces,” says Kade Woolverton, a Civil Engineering BS and Management MS, class of 2022.  

 “Sometimes it is difficult to hear the professor or read their lips on video,” acknowledges Hannah Belan, a senior IMGD major.  “The closed captioning ensures that I’m getting the same information that all of my classmates are getting.” 

 Professors don’t have to wait to hear from the Office of Accessibility Services to create closed captions for their educational videos and lecture captures. Echo360 and Studio, two video content management platforms used by WPI, have transcription and closed caption features. To learn how to implement them, click here.   

“The process of editing transcripts and adding to the video is simple,” notes Destin Heilman, Teaching Professor and Director of UMMS MQP Project Center. Heilman is currently captioning videos due to an accommodation. He uses the AI-generated transcript in Echo360 as a baseline for his caption track and works with a teaching assistant to edit them if necessary.  

“The interface that easily allows one to review the text at the exact timestamp while the video plays is neat!” he says. “I think it is not only wise but good practice to have these at the ready.”   

To learn more about closed captions and transcriptions for educational videos, please email WPI’s Technology for Teaching and Learning group at  

Tool tip: Q/A Feature for Engagement

Filed in Announcements by on July 13, 2021

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

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

Creating Evergreen Videos

Filed in Announcements, Editing by on June 15, 2021

We all want our course videos to be “evergreen.”

What does evergreen mean? It means to the extent possible, the video should stand the test of time. It should maximize its relevance.

An evergreen video is one that you don’t have to perform surgery on every time a small detail changes.

To make your educational videos evergreen, the first thing you need to do is contextualize it by topic, not time.

Why? Because a surefire way to make your video less relevant is to date it.

A typical example follows: a subject matter expert is giving an academic talk to a live audience and, as is typical, their opening slide contains a date. Many presenters are used to that format, so when they record a similar talk for video, their first slide has a date or a lecture on it. The image below shows a Canvas page, in which a video has been embedded. The thumbnail sketch for the video shows a date and lecture number.


Video thumbnail sketch in Canvas LMS


The first time the professor shares the video with students, it’s fine. But two years later, when the instructor teaches the same course again, it’s out of sync. And if the instructor has changed the sequence of topics, “Introduction to Waveforms” might not be lecture one.

This puts the instructor in the position of having to edit their video. The goal becomes to eliminate the inaccurate footage, which is usually just a few seconds at the beginning. But for many people, even this simple edit is a big lift because learning video editing can be complex. (If you’re in this position, learn more about simple edits here.)

If, however, when you’re creating your video you contextualize it by topic, you can avoid an edit session. The video becomes a modular element in your overall course design. The image below shows how this can be done.

Video thumbnail sketch in LMS - topic only


Again, the video is embedded in a page. But this time, the lecture number is featured in the page header.

Text in a module name, item or page can be easily edited. Video, on the other hand, is more tricky. While it is possible to edit videos and insert footage that updates the video, it’s a lot easier to edit the text on a page or module name.

Bottom line: To preserve your video’s relevance, save the ephemeral details for media that’s easy to edit, like text.

Editing Tools for WPI Video Producers

Filed in Announcements, Editing by on February 27, 2021

I hate to break it to you, but some of your footage is going to end up on the cutting room floor.

There comes a point in every video-creator’s life when they have to cut some footage. Some footage you might say good riddance to, other footage you may just need to update.

Here are links to tools to enable you to accomplish that mission.

Canvas Studio


Canvas Studio

Did you know Canvas Studio has an editing feature? Here’s the caveat. It has to be used right after recording and BEFORE you upload the video.

After you upload, you won’t have the chance to edit the video unless you download it and bring it into a separate editing program.


But if you do catch the opportunity to edit, there are some neat tools to play with. They can be accessed through the TOOLS button on the lower left of the editing interface.

You can play around with these tools and see if they enhance your video. However, if you run into issues, check out the support links in Canvas or email And keep in mind – the opportunity to edit is but a brief window in time when you use Canvas Studio.


To work with Echo360’s editor, first find the video you want to edit. You can access your Echo360 video library from Canvas.


When you hover over the lower right of the video’s thumbnail, you’ll see the option to “Edit Media”.


When you click “Edit Media” you’ll first be given a warning. The warning is telling you that any changes you make to this video will manifest anywhere you’ve shared the video, whether it’s via a link or the Canvas LTI. I always say yes to this. If I don’t want to make a change that effects everything, I “Save As”. More on that later. Once we’re in the editing interface, you can see the principals means of making edits, as shown by the arrows below.

On the left we have the scissors. These enable you to cut footage from the inside of your timeline. On the right, we have the “tail” button. You can move it inwards to delete unwanted footage at the end. Likewise, you can move the “top” button inwards to delete unwanted footage at the beginning.



I wanted to take a moment to call your attention to the buttons on the top right. Restore. Save As. Save. Pretty self-explanatory. But if you wanted to save these edits as a new video, choose Save As. If you want your edits to override what you’ve got, click Save. And if you feel it’s all been a terrible mistake, choose Restore.




To edit video on Ensemble, first login to the system here. (Remember, choose to login with your WPI credentials, below the form.)

Once you’re logged in, you land at your video library, where the videos are arrayed in rows, with options below the thumbnail and also to the right. Click Edit, as shown by the arrow below.


Once you’ve clicked edit, you’ll see more option on the top right. Click Trim and Chop.



Trim allows you to shave unwanted footage from the beginning and end of the video. Chop allows you to cut out unwanted footage from the middle. Once you’re done, click Save, and a new, edited version of the video will appear in your library.



For more information about editing your educational videos, email

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!


The Echo360-Zoom Connection

Filed in Announcements, Featured Tools by on February 27, 2021

The Echo360 – Zoom Connection

For Echo360 users, or those who might become Echo360 users, here’s good news: your Zoom cloud recordings can be ingested by Echo360 and placed in your personal libraries and course sites. Why is this good? For starters, it allows you to keep all your video content in one place.

You don’t have to deal with multiple video storage platforms. And you don’t have to take that step – if your current practice is to record the Zoom meeting to your own computer – of manually uploading the video file to Echo360. Echo360 now just gobbles them up – as long as you’ve recorded to the cloud, that is.


What is the Zoom cloud? It’s a place to store your recordings that’s on the internet. People like to store video there so they don’t have to store the video files on their own machines. But recordings don’t live on the Zoom cloud forever. That’s why making arrangements for your Zoom videos to move to other servers, like Echo360, is important.


Step 1: Enable Zoom Recordings on Echo360

From your Canvas site, click the Echo360 button on the left. Click the gear wheel on the right and then click Account Settings.


Make sure the switch to “Automatically copy Zoom recordings to Echo360” is on.

Once this switch is on, Echo360 basically takes a look into your Zoom account. It sees your upcoming meetings – singular and recurring. In the drop down on the right, it gives you options of where you might like these meeting recordings to go. All recordings – once you’ve chosen to record to the cloud – are copied to your Echo360 personal library. But you can also choose to have them populate in a course section – which is kind of like a folder. It’s this course section which is connected to your Canvas site via the Echo360 button.

You can see below that I’ve decided to route my “Echo360 – Community of Practice” Zoom meetings to my EdM section for the testing term. For you, it might be that you want your upcoming FP520 Zoom meetings routed to your FP520 Echo360 section for the Spring 2021 term, for example.




Record Your Zoom Meeting


Now that you’ve mapped your Zoom recordings to their specific location on Echo360, remember that you’ve got to email to request the cloud recording option in Zoom. Once enabled, the next time you start a recording in Zoom, you can choose to record to the cloud.



Record your meeting in Zoom. When you end the meeting, the video will upload to the Zoom cloud. Once Echo360 “hears” that it’s there, it’s going to make a copy of it and bring it over to live in the Echo360 cloud. There it will reside in your Echo360 library AND your specific course section, if you’ve enabled that.

For a video version of directions on using the Echo360/Zoom integration, click here. For more information on sharing a video with your students via Echo360, please click here.

Any questions about the Echo360-Zoom integration? Let us know by emailing

Embedding Ensemble Video in WordPress

Filed in Announcements by on May 1, 2020

Ok – I’m going to show you how to embed a video into a WordPress site. This technique posts the video at the top of the page.

First we’re going to go to Ensemble video, here:

And we’re going to login using the Login with WPI credentials button.










This brings us to our video library. We’re going to find the video we want and click the embed code button.











Now we’re going to chose the iFrame Responsive code and copy it.



We’re going to take this code and past it in the bottom of the WordPress page, where there are Solostream Post Options.



And now, we have a video embed in a WordPress page! Voila!