Learning Glass Wins 2015 Sautter Award

Don Olliff and Craig Bentley with the Learning Glass

Don Olliff (left) and Craig Bentley (right) with the Learning Glass

Congratulations to Don Olliff and Craig Bentley of the Instructional Technology Integration (ITI) team on winning one of the Larry L. Sautter Silver Awards for Innovation in Information Technology. Established in 2000, the Sautter Award encourages and honors projects within the University of California system that demonstrate innovative deployment of information technology in support of the University’s mission. The ITI team was recognized for their work on the Learning Glass, a tool designed to create engaging videos that deliver instructional content online as part of a course.

The Learning Glass works like a traditional whiteboard or blackboard, but is made of glass. Instead of turning his or her back to the viewer (as would happen in the classroom) the instructor looks through the board at the camera. This creates an engaging, natural, relaxed, and friendly viewing experience for students. The tool was developed at San Diego State University (SDSU) by Dr. Matt Anderson and first built by Dr. James Frazee’s group at Instructional Technology Services at SDSU.

Professor Adam Burgasser using the Learning Glass to create a video

Professor Adam Burgasser behind the Learning Glass, creating a video filmed by Jordi Olimon

“The Learning Glass is one of the most important tools in online education that we’ve found and presents a number of different advantages,” Don Olliff said. “Faculty can easily draw on it to illustrate concepts, thoughts, or equations, using colors for emphasis and contrast. Students are more engaged because Learning Glass videos feel more personal, like a conversation rather than a lecture. Believe it or not, it’s actually easier for both faculty and us to create Learning Glass videos than other types of videos. It’s a much more relaxed process that also creates great educational content.”

Students have responded positively to the Learning Glass. In one survey of students, 94% of students said that videos using the Learning Glass were “very helpful” or “helpful” with 58% calling them “very helpful.” In the same survey, 62% of students cited Learning Glass videos as their preferred instructional video format.

Since building a Learning Glass for Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) in 2014, Don and Craig have assisted colleagues at other UC campuses in adopting the tool by sharing their experiences and providing information about how to create a Learning Glass. They are currently at work creating a new, larger Learning Glass.

For more information about the Learning Glass or support available to UC San Diego faculty creating flipped, online, or hybrid courses, contact ITI at iti@ucsd.edu or (858) 822-1456.

See the Learning Glass in action:

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