A BENDIGO university lecturer is being recognised for his use of innovative technology.
La Trobe's senior physics lecturer Dr Russell Anderson has been shortlisted in the AFR Higher Education Awards in the Education Technology category.
The award recognises his Lightboard Studio - a world-first multi-function studio which features a giant plane of glass between the speaker and the camera.
There are LED lights along the side of the glass, which makes it appear as if the lecturer is writing in mid air.
There is also a green screen in the studio, which allows lecturers to superimpose PowerPoints or other visuals in the classes. Dr Anderson said it was nice to be recognised for his work.
Read more news:
"It feels great," he said. "There are not many awards that have this innovative education technology category."
The project was funded late last year, with Dr Anderson installing the technology over the summer.
He said while the idea was developed before the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been utilised heavily this year because of remote learning.
"Lots of face-to-face teaching doesn't translate well to video," Dr Anderson said.
"Writing on a surface is generally horrible in video because you're facing away from the screen to write on a whiteboard.
"By having this giant piece of glass, you're having a really engaging presence that makes the student feel like you're there with them and inside the PowerPoint at the same time.
"We knew in designing this that we wanted to reach far and wide. But we are really surprised at the different ways people have thought to use it, given the limitations of online delivery."
Dr Anderson said the technology could be utilised even after the pandemic.
"Everyone is on board," he said. "If you can provide short, five-minute videos, that's like a love language for students.
Read more news:
"It could mean that when you're having face-to-face classes, it's way less like a lecture and more like a conversation."
Fellow La Trobe lecturer Dr David Hoxley has also been shortlisted in the awards for his FARLabs project. The technology allows students to conduct experiments without being physically present in the lab.
The AFR Higher Education award winners will be announced at an event in Sydney in November. Dr Russell said it would be great if he could be there at the ceremony after a difficult 2020.
"It's been a deeply taxing year," he said. "It's one of the most difficult years of my professional life. But seeing others around me get to that extra mile has given me the motivation to do so myself.
"We're just chuffed to get the recognition and hope it puts La Trobe on the map."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.