We all have had to make some (or a lot of) changes to our lives due to COVID-19. One of them has been a complete transformation to online teaching instead of in person teaching. I personally hate the concept of online teaching. It should only be used as a last resort. If online teaching were successful, then there would be practically no use of all the schools and colleges at all. People could learn from the books itself. Teacher can convey what books and online videos cannot. Teaching is not just transmission of information, but it is rather a transmission of understanding which can never be achieved by any method other than in person classes.
With that in mind, I had to create something for my students, so that the classroom experience could be replicated as much as possible. I don’t want online classes. I don’t like online classes. I don’t wish that any should ever have to take online classes. But, we sometimes have to do what we have to do, whether we like it or not.
I had the following options:
- Teaching from Powerpoint presentations: NO! NO! NO! Just NO! Engineering cannot be taught by Powerpoint. When I was a student and the teacher entered in the first class of the course with a laptop, I knew, “I am not going to learn anything from the course.” So, I don’t want my students to feel the same way.
- Teaching from Tablet/Ipad or MS whiteboard on a windows PC with a stylus: I had both options available with me but decided against it as it would not be as good for the students. They could not see me too much if I was looking at the screen writing. There was no good position for camera and the tablet that would give a good view of the content and the teacher. So, I decided against both the options.
- Good old chalk and (black)board: So, that leaves with the trusty blackboard which are no longer really available in black anywhere. I got a green (black)board installed in my home.
The equipment list
- Green (black)board: High quality e3 ceramic steel board which was cut to a ratio of 16:9 so that the camera covers the entire board without wasting any space in either the camera or the board.
- Camera: Canon EOS 200D II (aka, 250D/SL3). It is a very good camera in a reasonable price which has been developed by Canon keeping live-streamers in mind.
- Lens: Tamron B005 – SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical [IF]. It gives a very good image quality at a wide aperture for a fraction of the price of a Canon lens.
- Capture card: Elgato Camlink 4K. It enables us to live stream using the HDMI output of the Canon camera at 4K25.
- Lights: Hyglow 50W 3000K Warm white LED floodlights
- PC: Desktop PC with Ryzen 3500 and Nvidia GTX 1660
- Microphone: Ahuja wireless microphone system with an around-the-ear microphone.
A sample of my class is presented here: