Donna Kirk - The Lightboard

September 2017 Newsletter: Donna Kirk, the August ATI, and The Lightboard

August ATI Recap

Academic Technology Institute (ATI) took place on August 29 in the Science Building. Attendees enjoyed morning sessions to learn about new technologies and how their colleagues are teaching with them. Many stayed for the afternoon to practice using technologies to enhance their courses. The sessions were streamed live and recorded. You can view all session recordings here.

August ATI reception picture
Director of Academic Technology, Jane Sims, introduces Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wolfgang Natter, and Chief Information Officer, Xavier Knight, for their welcoming remarks during the lunch session.

New Experimental Classroom For Innovation

Over the summer, we helped design and transform Science 1206 into an experimental new classroom space to support active learning and other teaching innovations. Science 1206 will promote student collaboration with tables and chairs on wheels, large video monitors and whiteboards on every wall, and multimedia cameras and mics for connecting and sharing work, even at a distance. The room is designed to be interactive using users' laptops and other mobile devices.

We will be offering workshops to promote student interaction and success that includes an active and learner-centered focus, experimental designs and technology integrations. After attending these workshops, faculty can bring their classes to this new space on an occasional basis to see how it all comes together. The goal is to make the classroom available to as many faculty as possible. The room will hold up to 24 students, but we're waiting on some chairs and whiteboards yet. Stay tuned!

The Academic Technology team is now available to work with you in Science 1206. Have a question on new course development or integrating student interaction and assessments into a current course? Wondering how to use Blackboard, Zoom, or other applications? Want to test out the new Lightboard or create videos for your lectures? If so, we are happy to meet with you in person or to connect with you from anywhere, anytime using Zoom. Give us a call or send a quick email (, and we can start a Zoom meeting with you.

Science 1206 Classroom with People

Meet the Lightboard

Donna Kirk using Lightboard

CSS has a new Lightboard that was built in the Video Studio, Science Room 1132. The Lightboard is a new technology that is rapidly becoming a preferred way of creating video lectures. Essentially, it is a clear whiteboard that the instructor writes on using fluorescent markers while delivering their lecture. The twist is that students see the instructor through the board as they are writing, diagramming and drawing. The Lightboard is an easy-to-use tool for creating video content for your course. Want to see a sample? Click here to see Donna Kirk's video.

Read what two CSS faculty (Donna Kirk, Mathematics, and Jennifer Rosato, CIS) have to say about their experience with the Lightboard:

1. What do you like about the Lightboard?
Donna: Recording a video is easy, no software or hardware to learn! The process of creating a video feels natural as it simulates the experience of teaching in a classroom. Once a topic is selected, creating a video is as simple as standing in front of a board to write notes and narrate the concepts presented.
Jennifer: I liked that this was a low-tech option from my end for recording a video. I just needed to have my notes ready for the lecture.

2. How would you describe the Lightboard to another faculty member?
Donna: ​The Lightboard is a tool to create videos in a manner similar to ​presenting in a classroom. While creating a video, the Lightboard permits focus to be on the notes shared on the screen as would be displayed on a white or chalk board. No need to stare at your computer screen and watch yourself.
Jennifer: The Lightboard is like recording what you would do and talk about on a whiteboard in front of the classroom, it's just visually oriented so students can see you along with what you're writing so you're back isn't to the students.

3. Is the Lightboard easy to use?
Donna: ​The Lightboard is so very easy to use! Eric has a fabulous set up that is straight forward and natural to use. Simply select a topic for a 7 - 10 minute video and start presenting in front of the Lightboard​ ​when you are ready. Eric turns on the sound and camera recording ​and you are ready to go! When your presentation is complete, Eric works his technology magic and shares a YouTube link containing the finished video.
Jennifer: Yes! It's very easy to use because it's similar to using a whiteboard. The Academic Tech team takes care of all the tech details for you with the video, audio, and editing.

Questions? Want to sign up for a recording slot? Email Eric Mistry at!

Meet Amy Nelson, Ph.D., Our New Instructional Designer

Amy Nelson Headshot
Amy joined CSS as an instructional designer on August 7.

Amy's background includes careers as a tool designer, engineering instructor, a training manager at a major manufacturing firm, and more college teaching and roles as academic dean, dean & provost at two colleges in Minnesota.

Amy has developed numerous courses and programs for the associate and baccalaureate levels, as well as performance improvement courses for employers. She has also been a peer evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission, successfully completed three reaccreditations, managed the ISO9001 quality process for an organization, and taught many continuous improvement courses.

Along the way, Amy discovered and embraced online learning because she moved every 2-3 years. She earned her Master's in Educational Change and Technology Innovation from Walden University in 1998 and her Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning in 2006. Her research focused on the skills subject-matter-experts need to become successful educators and the programs that help develop those skills, and the skills managers need to lead distance learning.

Amy and her husband, Keith, have two children and one grandson and granddaughter. Another little girl is due January 1. They serve two dogs: Onyz, a 12-year-old black Lab and Leeza, a 6-year-old American Spaniel. They are planning to move from Red Wing, MN to the cabin in Two Harbors they bought in 2016, and have been working on it to make it livable. In her free time, Amy designs and builds non-instructional things, such as storage beds, armoires, kitchen cabinets, and a kitchen island.

Stop by Tower 1618 or Zoom in to meet Amy and learn more about her adventures.

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