Digital Studio

GVSU uses Augmented Reality to help Students Experience Vision Loss in Medical Education

Hunter Bridwell, Digital Media DeveloperThis post by Hunter Bridwell, Digital Media Developer in eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University.

Photo of a sample augmented reality app showing a “left field cut”.As Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies develop, the market for apps and their various uses has begun to broaden, particularly in education. Even two years ago, the selection of applicable programs was slim and considered by most to be very gimmicky. Faculty often have very specific needs from lesson to lesson and while the platforms are currently picking up steam, a prepackaged app often doesn’t have everything that faculty may need and can have a lot of things they don’t need. Instead of waiting for someone to make an app and bring it to market, I worked in Unity to create it myself.

First, I was presented with a problem. Students in Carla Slabaugh’s Occupational Therapy courses have no effective way to experience what a “Left Field Cut” is without putting tape over glasses. It’s a simple solution but it doesn’t really meet the needs of the lesson. A Left Field Cut occurs after someone has a stroke: a large, left part of their vision is essentially cut out, but the brain doesn’t register this as blackness like the tape on the glasses would. Instead, it realigns the vision altogether. This affects patients’ motor skills. It often causes people to run into walls and door frames when they thought they were walking through the door. By programing a camera with a visual field cut in the Unity software, I used augmented reality to help students bridge the gap of understanding from what is being described to them to what a patient is actually experiencing.

“It worked great to simulate the field cut,” said Carla Slabaugh, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy. “With the fuzzy edge you made it let the student better understand how information on the left side can be missed. It is a huge improvement over the tape on glasses method.”

Learn more about the plethora of possibilities available through the Digital Studio at GVSU by visiting our Digital Studio Projects page.


Teaching with the Lightboard @GVSU


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Video is becoming an important tool in teaching. The value of video to support traditional classes, online/hybrid courses, and “flipped classrooms” has rapidly increased at GVSU.

With over 100 videos being created in the past year, the Digital Studio, along with digital media developers, Justin Melick and Hunter Bridwell have been busy!

Lightboard videos are engaging and an innovative approach to a standard “screen recording”

In a nutshell, Lightboard videos are created when an instructor writes on a glass panel with flourescent markers that are lit by LEDs. This creates a unique display as compared to the typical whiteboard recording that is common in many instructional videos such as those from Khan Academy.

The benefit of the Lightboard is that students can also view the instructor which increases teaching presence and the inclusion of the non-verbal instructor cues that are so important.

Here are a few example videos of professors at GVSU who have used the Lightboard:

Ready to start creating you own Lightboard videos? Here is how to get started:

  1. Meet with one of our Digital Media Developers, Justin Melick ( or Hunter Bridwell ( to get a tour of a ligthboard studio and set a date to record your first video!
  2. Use our planning document to lay out what you want to present during your lightboard video. This document helps you plan what you will write on the board and how to space that content in a way that is more meaningful and easy to understand.
  3. Come and record your first video! Usually faculty will take a half hour to forty five minutes to record their first five to seven minute lightboard video. After a few presentations most people get used to the format and can create five to six videos in an hour.

Learn more about Lightboards at GVSU on our eLearning Web Site!

Article in Rapid Growth features eLearning Team and Showcase

Rapid Growth has a series running on the topic of technology and education. In an article written on March 16, 2017, author Matthew Russell highlights a variety of innovative ideas and happenings from around West Michigan.

The article entitled “From virtual reality to online libraries, how technology is revolutionizing education in GR” highlights the work of the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team as well as the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

Explorative spaces installed at Grand Valley State University will help older students test and build the devices that tomorrow’s learning environments may rely on.


Atomic Object Technology Showcase – An immersive and engaging space for faculty and students to interact, discover, learn, and share how technology can transform teaching and learning.

“We have a lot of different drop-in space for students and faculty to experiment and play around with technology, to imagine what it would look like if we used these in teaching, and how it would make us more effective. The ultimate purpose is to solve instructional problems to meet students needs so that they’re successful.

Read the Full Article on Rapid Growth Media

Delivering Great Online Courses via Effective Teaching Strategies

Bb Blog Eric Kunnen Winter 2016 SM.jpg In a recent Blackboard Blog post, Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, highlighted a few tips for “delivering great online courses via effective teaching strategies“.

“Great Teaching is Great Teaching”

In this post, Eric highlights the a few keys to success in delivering high quality courses:

#1. Student and faculty interaction is KEY

#2. Course design is KEY

#3. Instructional design and digital media development is KEY

#4. Faculty professional development and support resources are KEY

Finally, in the quest for delivering quality online courses, it is important to reach out to the campus for support. The eLearning Team provides an outstanding array of support, from exemplary instructional design, to instructional technology support, to digital media development, to Blackboard resources, and future oriented emerging technologies in the Technology Showcase.

Let the eLearning team know how we can help you deliver great courses through effective teaching strategies! We are here for YOU!

Read the entire article on the Blackboard Blog.

GVSUeLearn visits Digital Media Commons at UMich

Justin Melick, Vince St. Germain, Paul Wilson, and Eric Kunnen from the eLearning team and Technology Showcase, along with professor Star Swift from Grand Valley State University visited the University of Michigan Digital Media Commons to learn about the innovative digital media technologies available at the University of Michigan on September 6.

In brief, the Digital Media Commons (DMC) has a plethora of resources and services available to faculty, staff, and students to use to create a wide array of teaching and learning resources. The DMC includes:

  1.  Groundworks – A collaborative facility to create digital media and also to convert analog resources. There is even an audio booth that can be used to create podcasts. There is also a recording studio where you can walk in to record a lecture or as a student, work on a video assignment for class.
  2. Design Labs – This lab is the place for tinkering and making with a variety of tools to create.
  3. Video Studio – A cutting edge production studio that can be used for performances, motion capture, green screen and other creative projects.
  4. 3D Lab – A place to create 3D simulations and objects.  In addition there is a 3D “cave” where you can “walk through” your 3D designs.
  5. Emerging Technologies Group – Provides services and support for creative projects.
  6. Audio Studios – World class lab and recording facility.

Here at GVSU, we were inspired by all the technology resources available at the University of Michigan.  As we look to the future of the Technology Showcase, Digital Studio, our work in eLearning, and across the university, we will use our experiences at the DMC to help us move forward!

Thank  you to Eric Maslowski, Robert Newcomb, and the team at the DMC for the tour!

Innovative Teaching, an Invisible Whiteboard, and Student Engagement via the Lightboard at GVSU

The lightboard is an innovative teaching and learning tool that allows instructors to write out their content while still being able to give both verbal and non-verbal cues to their students on video. As the instructors write with the markers on the board the colors appear to glow, allowing faculty to create engaging visuals that help drive home vital concepts. This technology was originally created by Michael Peshkin of Northwestern University and has spread to institutions around the world.

In the six months that the lightboard has been available for use, seven faculty members have created 38 videos for twelve course sections. Additionally, two videos were created for international conferences using the lightboard. Beyond presenting content faculty have also used the lightboard to create class introductions that include concept maps connecting learning objectives to course content and assessments. 

If you would like to schedule a time to create a video on the lightboard contact Justin Melick at For more information regarding the ligthboard at GVSU visit