The recent installation of a Learning Glass at the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI) has faculty jumping at the chance to experiment with new ways of engaging students with their videos.

Prof. Quoc-Viet (QV) Pham Dang, an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science department, was DTEI’s first professor to inaugurate the new Learning Glass. Dang was just starting to design his fully online class, Advanced C Programming, with Rica Young, an instructional designer at DTEI, when the Learning Glass was installed. Dang’s reaction to its arrival was: “This is cool! Students can finally see my face while I’m writing instead of having my back or side turned toward them.”

Photo: Quoc-Viet Pham Dang, Assistant Professor of Teaching at the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, demonstrating a computer programming problem using the learning glass

Dang used the Learning Glass to create mini-lectures of several minutes each in which he graphically depicted programming concepts such as GUI development, network communication, and prototyping processes. The Learning Glass enabled him to create on-the-fly illustrations, diagrams, and tables that would have likely fallen flat had he simply narrated over a PowerPoint slide. Says Dang: “I created videos in the past using a whiteboard. While it did the job, with the Learning Glass, I’m able to talk directly to the camera and to students without needing to constantly turn around. Plus, the text and drawings have much better contrast than a traditional whiteboard. Someday, I’d like to have up to six panels so I can mirror what I do in a classroom!”

“We are excited to bring the Learning Glass solution to UCI, so faculty can have more options to produce instructional videos,” says Megan Linos, the Director of Learning Experience Design and Online Education at DTEI. Although it’s common to associate the Learning Glass with teaching STEM topics, its affordances transcend disciplines. Just ask Richard Matthew, Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy, who used it for his online Global Poverty class: “I decided to use the Learning Glass to supplement my lecture videos. Specifically, I used it to draw a concept map that illustrated the many dimensions of poverty. This proved to be an effective and fun way to deliver an engaging mini-lecture in a graphical way.”

Research on the pedagogical benefits of the Learning Glass is still in its infancy, but early findings show promise. According to a study co-authored by the inventor of the Learning Glass technology, Matt Anderson, a physics professor at San Diego State University: “It was discovered that students performed better, retained more information, and preferred the Learning Glass instruction over other instructional video formats and conventional classroom whiteboard and overhead projection instruction.”

If you’d like more information or want to schedule an experiment with the Learning Glass, please contact Megan Linos, the Director of Learning Experience Design and Online Education, at wlinos@uci.edu.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *