Case Study: Math253 Mark Maclean Lightboard

When UBC math Professor Mark Maclean couldn’t find a free lecture hall for his math class he thought: “Why not live stream my class?” Maclean quickly discovered this was not something commonly done. In fact, a full credit course had never been live-streamed at UBC before.

After discussing the live streaming concept with CTLT (write out full name?) he was referred to UBC Studios to see if using our Lightboard to stream his course was an option. Determined to make this first-of-its-kind project work, our producers and media specialists quickly went to work testing out numerous configurations with other partners within UBC IT. Together with: IT Audio Visual Services, IT Webcast services and IT Systems, UBC studios worked out a highly successful solution to live stream – no lecture hall required!

The biggest hurdle was the setup of the live stream and its compatibility with the current UBC network. It would take not just one team but a whole group of teams working together to make the livestream work without a hitch. Working under the umbrella of IT these numerous groups were able to expedite necessary upgrades and generate a smooth, high quality stream watched hundreds of times by Macleans’s students.

Once the live streaming aspect was figured out with our numerous UBC IT partners, we went to work with Maclean to create dynamic assets and content to engage students. Over the four-month period of the course we also provided a technical operator to deal with any issues that arose during the streaming. 

A total of 82 students registered and were able to tune in live, which around 20 percent did, or watch later in the week.

In total, over 35 hours of live broadcasts were streamed with many more hours of work put into the initial setup of the system.  Students were empowered to engage with the content live and on-demand afterwards. The links were shared to other class sections, with students using the on-demand videos as a helpful study tool for final exams. Maclean says students liked having “a video archive of all lectures during exam season.” One student pointed out Macleans’ class was the only lecture where: “I got to drink tea and sit on my bean bag chair under a heated blanket.”

For UBC Studios, Maclean and the numerous other teams within UBC IT who created this first-of- its-kind experience, there was little time to sip tea beneath a heated blanket. But an overall 20 percent increase in registration and a total of 120 views per video along with an overwhelmingly positive response from students seem to prove the lecture hall is no longer a key component to a successful lecture.