Ramblings on Latitude and Longitude Using a Lightboard

Fall 2015 my university commissioned one of our on-campus engineers to design and build not one but two Lightboards. If you aren’t familiar with what a Lightboard is you’ve come to the proper blog.

On Tuesday, March 1st, I gave a mess of lecture about the size and shape of the Earth, and double-down on the mess by discussing latitude and longitude coordinates. At the end of class I decided I needed to give this lecture another shot, but I didn’t want to use a completely different class to mend my messy lecture.

I know the engineer who built our Lightboards and anxiously waited for them to become usable. I didn’t really think I would have a use for them, though, as cartography these days is mostly computer-based. “Why would I need to write on a chalkboard or dry-erase board to discuss cartography?” Well, I should have known I was wrong. Inspect my images below and you’ll see I draw a lot during class.



The first step on my way to mending my bad lecture, I made an appointment with our Faculty Development Center to use their Lightboard. Justin, their staff technology expert, met me in their small studio, a former classroom subdivided into a lecture capture studio and a small conference room. Justin got me mic’ed-up, got the video rolling, and left the room. My only audience was the video camera.

After the video was captured I used Camtasia Studio 8 to produce and edit the video, adding some corrections along the way. I did not use a script.

Some tips for lecture capture:

  1. Use a script. Don’t go into lecture capture cold. You’ll waste everyone’s time. I did use my notes but notes is not a script.
  2. Realize you’ll be horrible the first time. Probably the second time, too. The third time will be awful but at least it won’t be horrible. The fourth time you do lecture capture won’t be too bad. In other words, don’t go into lecture capture thinking you’ll be perfect the first time. I had my notes and practiced for about 45 minutes the previous night, and have been teaching for 20 years. Standing in a room, alone, speaking directly to a camera, is not the same as standing in front of 20-100 humans.
  3. Keep online lectures to less than 10 minutes. Or, if you plan on running longer, you should produce segments. For instance, create logical breaks in long lectures every 10 minutes or so. Here is what I found: My Lightboard lecture resulted in about 32 minutes of content whereas the exact same lecture in class took about 75 minutes. WHERE DID MY 40 MINUTES GO??? Some of the 40 minutes was spent handling questions about homework. Some of that 40 minutes was spent handling questions about the material I was speaking about. Actual new content was really only about 30 minutes. This is one of the notions behind Flipped Classrooms. Provide 75 minutes of new content, then use classroom time, face-to-face time, answering questions. This realize really brought home the idea of pushing lectures online, encourage students to watch the lecture, then bring their questions to class, then walk them through the hands-on part of the homework.
  4. Organize. Duh. But organization really helps. Using lecture capture may help turn the tables on how well you think you organize your content and material. Nothing exposes disorganized material and content like trying to make material make sense on video. If you think you’re amazingly organized then set yourself up for lecture capture. Then, watch your lecture capture as a student would. Then, see if you can make heads’ and tails’ out of your lecture.

Thanks for watching!


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