Featured Tools

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 atc@wpi.edu 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 sburke@wpi.edu.


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. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12197

Peshkin, M. (n.d.). Lightboard.info. .info. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://www.lightboard.info/

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 atc-ttl@wpi.edu.

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 atc-ttl@wpi.edu 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 atc-ttl@wpi.edu.

Student Projects with Echo360 Universal Capture

Filed in Announcements, Featured Tools by on January 23, 2020

This post explains how to use download Echo360 Universal Capture, how to record with it, and how to share a link to the recording.

Downloading Universal Capture

The first step is to click Echo360 on the left side menu-bar of the Canvas site. Once you do this, you’ll see a gear wheel on the top right. It releases a drop down menu. Select Downloads.

From here, select the Universal Capture: Personal installer appropriate for your platform.


Once installed, open the program from your desktop. You’ll notice you’ll be asked to login. Click on it and you’ll be taken to the internet to pass through the WPI authentication system.


Using Universal Capture to Record

Once the program knows who you are, you’ll be given the opportunity to edit capture details. Do this first, before you start to record.



You will want to name the capture here and designate where it goes. It should go to your Library. More on that later.



Now that you’ve done this, you’re ready to record. Choose the inputs from the drop-down menus above the display windows and make sure your audio meter is fluctuating. Give it a test. You can even give it a test recording for 30 seconds to make sure all is well.  To record, all you have to do is press the red button. The interface will minimize and you can pull up your Powerpoint or whatever you are using to present your content.



Using Echo360 to Share Your Video

When you’re done recording, go to your Canvas course site. Click on the Echo360 button on the left.


Now click on the Echo360 icon on the top left.


Once you do that you’ll be taken to your Echo360 library. Click on All Content.


If you sort by date you’ll see the most recent video you recorded.

Once your video is uploaded and processed, hovering over the video you want to share makes a blue square with three dots appear in the bottom right. Click on Share.



It’s going to ask you how you want to share, and you can select Links from the top menu.

If no links have been added yet,  you can add a link. Make sure the toggle for public access is on, and then copy the link. It is this link you can share with your professor.



If you have any questions about recording your student project with Echo360 Universal Capture and sharing it with your professor, please email atc-ttl@wpi.edu.


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 sburke@wpi.edu.


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 edmedia@wpi.edu.