When teaching remotely, it can be helpful to set up your home or office with technology to facilitate online instruction. Here are some equipment recommendations. ITS also has Teaching Studios on campus that are already set up with cameras, whiteboard, and teaching technology.
Connect your computer to a TV to see notes or Zoom video attendees more clearly. Try to use a wired connection, probably HDMI, if available.
- Logitech C920 or C930e
- Logitech Brio
- Avaya HC020
Headsets and Audio Equipment
- Boltune Bluetooth Headphones - low cost wireless headphones
- Trekz Aftershokz wireless bone-conducting headphones with built-in Mic
- Plantronics DSP-500 wired headset
- Plantronics DSP400 Foldable Multimedia Headset (Also noise cancelling - the current version of the headset I've been using for 15 years. Great sound quality - DW)
Whiteboard / Handwriting Support
There are a range of possibilities to replace the classroom blackboard when teaching online from simple to high tech. Pick what is more natural for your teaching.
- Large whiteboard - use a webcam to properly capture the full image.
- Small whiteboard with a document camera (ITS has small whiteboards for loan)
- Piece of paper with a document camera (see below for a do-it-yourself version)
- iPad with Apple Pencil - available to faculty through the Teaching with Tablets Program
- Google Jamboard website and a low cost pen tablet, such as Wacom Intuos
Use diffusion material when lighting a whiteboard, and position lights off to the side at 45 degree angles if possible. This will eliminate glare. See the lighting section below for more details.
D.I.Y. Document Camera
Lafayette College has instructions for a simple D.I.Y. document camera using a phone: https://help.lafayette.edu/writing-drawing-demo-while-remote/. You can join a Zoom meeting from a computer and a phone, using the computer for controlling the meeting and the phone to share video of your writing.
You should be lit from the front and to avoid lights behind you. Some folks have successfully used a torchiere near their desk to provide a uniform illumination from the light reflected off the ceiling and walls, but you can also install more direct lighting behind the camera/screen from which you're working. A light right behind or in your sight-line of the camera can make it very hard to look at the camera and/or your screen, so a pair of lights high and to the side is often how you see studios set up. A diffuser screen can make the lighting less harsh. This can be a white or light-colored sheet material stretched flat somewhere between the light and you (but please be careful to avoid the fire hazard of draping cloth over a light!). A simpler approach is to take a standard desk lamp and turn the reflector or light so that it reflects up against a wall in front of you, which again will diffuse the light and provide a more natural illumination of your face.
If you're presenting material from a document camera or from a whiteboard, make sure the surface is illuminated, so the content will be clearly visible to the camera. For a homemade document camera, a standard desk lamp works well. You generally want to get as close to natural sunlight as possible in terms of color, so look for "daylight" type light bulbs to provide your illumination to your illumination.
Some possible sources for lighting
- Ring Light for use with phones
- Standard desk lamp (Example1, Example2)
- Clip-on lamp (Example1, Example2-LED)
- Torchiere (with reading lamp) - Also available at Lowes or Home Depot
Here's a video about making the most of natural lighting. The same principles can be applied if you're using lamps.