The LectureTools Blog

Receive a $10,000 Research Grant: LectureTools Clients Now Eligible for Echo360 Active Learning Grants Program

Posted by Christopher Machielse on Wed, May 08, 2013

As a current LectureTools customer, you have first-hand experience of how our digital tools help increase your students’ engagement and participation in the classroom on a daily basis.

Now that we’re part of the Echo360 family, you have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore new ways of using LectureTools and study its impacts, then share your findings with the global community through the Echo360 Active Learning Grants Program!

We’re delighted to announce that LectureTools customers are now eligible to apply for a $10,000 grant offered through this exclusive program. 

One of the new categories is a special LectureTools grant, reserved exclusively for schools currently using our solution in their classrooms. Whether you want to study how you use LectureTools to flip the classroom, boost engagement or assess student participation and understanding through analytics – the choice is yours. 

You can also apply for one of the other new categories making their debut in the 2013 program. For a complete list of grant categories, criteria and previous recipients, visit the website and start making plans for your proposal today!

We encourage all LectureTools customers to take advantage of this unique opportunity and submit their proposals by the deadline of Friday, June 28.

Topics: Active Learning, Benefits of LectureTools for Students, LectureTools News, Learning Outcomes, LectureTools Case Studies, Active Learning Grants

Export LectureTools Participation Data to Blackboard Gradebook

Posted by Christopher Machielse on Mon, March 18, 2013
lecturetools in your blackboard course site

Awarding students participation points for in-class activities can help to incentivize attendance and, more importantly, engagement with course material. Though LectureTools has always provided participation data in the Assess tab, instructors have had to export these student metrics to Excel to calculate grades.

Now, instructors using Blackboard as their LMS can easily import LectureTools Assessment participation data into their Blackboard Gradebook. You and your students can sign in to LectureTools straight from Blackboard, creating a single sign-on for both LectureTools and Blackboard.

If you already have a course set up in LectureTools, linking it to Blackboard is as easy as launching LectureTools from your LMS course tools and selecting it from a dropdown menu. If you haven’t used LectureTools before, an account will be created using Blackboard’s sign-on, and you can create a linked course in seconds.

Then, sending participation data is as simple as selecting lecture columns to include and clicking the “Send total to LMS” button.
send assess to blackboard


The LectureTools data then shows up as a single column in the Blackboard Grade Center. Like any other assignment or exam column in gradebook, you can add the LectureTools column with a percentage weight to easily factor it into your students’ final course grades.
lecturetools column in blackboard learn grade center 

For more information about how to configure and use the Blackboard integration, visit the LMS Integration topic in our support portal. Don't use Blackboard? Watch out for later announcements about your LMS!


Unleash Analytics to Improve Teaching and Increase Learning

monitor student confusion

In-class quizzes and student Q&A help keep students attentive and engaged while providing you with real-time student comprehension data during class. See how LectureTools can increase participation and deliver learning analytics before, during, and after class.

Topics: LectureTools News, New Features, emerging technologies in education, Educational Technology, LMS Integration, Student Assessment

LectureTools Acquired by Echo360

Posted by Chelsea Jenkins on Wed, November 07, 2012


An Active Learning Platform

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In 2005 Dr. Perry Samson started LectureTools at the University of Michigan as a research project with one goal: to revolutionize the classroom and to engage students with their laptops and cellphones, regardless of class size. 

LectureTools launched commercially in August 2011 and has since been adopted by professors at over 30 universities and colleges across the United States, Canada, and Asia. Today, we are excited to announce that we are joining forces with Echo360, whose lecture capture technology is in use at over 600 schools across the globe and backed by Steve Case's Revolution Growth.

LectureTools: An Active Learning Platform on Vimeo.

Echo360 provides not only resources, but also a like-minded vision and talented employees that will help us achieve our long-term goal of building an active learning platform that revolutionizes the way people teach and learn using technology in and out of the classroom. This is not the end of LectureTools, rather, a new beginning, and current accounts will not be affected. LectureTools will always exist and it will continue to improve as a stand alone product. It will also be developing an integrated solution with lecture capture and other active learning features. 

We would like to extend a special thank you to our early adopters, who have given us amazing feedback and their continued support. We look forward to continuing our work with you and the Echo360 team.


To a new beginning, 

The LectureTools team.


Samson is also a co-founder of the Weather Underground, which sold in the summer to the Weather Channel, with a group of former students. LectureTools also sprouted with a dedicated group of recently graduated U-M students including Jason Aubrey, Bret Squire and Sharanyan Ravi. Aubreyco-founder of LectureTools, joins Echo360 as a product manager while Squire and Ravi join as developers. 

We would also like to say thank you to a few key players in the LectureTools story – University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan TechArb, University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, The National Science Foundation, our advisor Jim Sterken, and the instructors and students who have helped us grow.



Make your class more interactive: click below and become the next addition to our team!




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Topics: Online Education, LectureTools News, New Features, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, interactive classroom technology, enhance student engagement, Teaching with Technology, Student-Instructor Interaction, Engaging Students in the Classroom, Classroom Response Systems, Educational Technology, instructor interaction, instructor communication, student engagement, student engagement strategies, Student Response Systems, student response, Flipped Instruction, educational networking, The Flipped Classroom

Instructors Reflect on Teaching With LectureTools

Posted by Christopher Machielse on Thu, June 16, 2011

lecturetools beta instructor discussion

Yesterday LectureTools hosted five University of Michigan instructors for a round-table discussion about their experiences teaching with the LectureTools this spring. Members of the development, design, and business teams sat alongside the beta instructors for the discussion over lunch.

Increasing Student-Instructor Interaction with LectureTools

The instructors were enthusiastic about LectureTools, particularly how interactive activities and the student inquiry channel facilitate real-time feedback from students.

Coleman Burns Discussion“It's that interactive piece, it's that accountability piece – and the feedback that I got from [my students] on Monday is that they really like that method of interactivity," said Dr. Patricia Coleman-Burns, who taught a 20-student nursing course. "The PowerPoint by itself, it's very passive.”

Although Coleman-Burns had a relatively small class, she found LectureTools still helped her to identify how her students were learning.

“I'm freer to really hear what they're not getting, I'm freer to get the gaps in their knowledge, I'm freer to give them this platform where they can fail without failing,” she said.

As a classroom response system, LectureTools allows instructors to pose multiple choice, ordered list, free response, or image quiz question types to students. At the instructor's option, the system can generate a results slide to display during class, revealing how students are thinking and enabling class discussion.

Dr. Marita Inglehart, who taught a 100-student Psychology of Dentistry lecture remarked she enjoyed being able to get a sense for how many of her students were answering her questions, instead of relying on just one or two students to share their views with the class.

Dr. Ken Balazovich often teaches courses of 400 or 500 students during the fall and winter semesters. This spring he saw the LectureTools Beta as a valuable “trial run” in his Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology course of around 100 students.

“I've always used lots of questions, I demand interaction. What [students] don't want to do is make a wrong answer in front of 400 people,” he said.

Allowing students to work through problems in-class with the help of classroom response systems encourages them to think critically.

“They're a lot more open to taking risk,” said Coleman-Burns. “What we want them to do is learn.”


Addressing Student Comprehension and Questions During Lecture

Dr. Lynn Carpenter, who taught about 100 students in an introductory biology course this spring, and Balazovich both found value in LectureTools' student inquiry tool. Graduate student instructors were able to answer their students' questions while Carpenter and Balazovich went on teaching their lectures.

Another featured designed to allow students to report comprehension issues during class is the ability to flag a slide as “confusing.”

“If 10% say it's confusing, I'll go back and attack the problem in another way,” said Balazovich. “So I don't have a deli line outside my office with questions.”

Despite Balazovich's use of real-time feedback, he noted, “I don't teach any differently except I'm cognizant of confusing slides. It's the students who are learning differently.”

Having access to students responses and feedback during lecture makes the task of agile teaching easier for instructors in large classes.

“I loved the idea that I could get immediate feedback from my students during lecture,” said Inglehart.


Looking Forward to Future Courses and LectureTools Features

As the spring beta period comes to a close, the instructors found that most of their beta issues had been fixed by the development team. The meeting concluded with discussion about what comes next, both for the instructors and for LectureTools.

LectureTools Assessment Preview

Kiran Jagadeesh, Lead Software Engineer, also gave the beta instructors a brief sneak preview of the “Assessment” feature, which is expected to be live later this summer.

As the LectureTools team continues to look forward, so do the instructors who plan on using LectureTools in their fall courses later this year.

“Next time I'm going to expand on some of the interactive features and questions,” said Carpenter.


Learn More About the Instructor Interface Behind LectureTools

LectureTools Instructor Dashboard

Request a live demo today and learn more about how to create interactive slideshows and how to present engaging lectures using LectureTools.

Schedule a Live Demo

Topics: LectureTools News, interactive classroom technology, lecturetools beta, Teaching with Technology, Student-Instructor Interaction, Engaging Students in the Classroom

Meet the 5 LectureTools Beta Instructors

Posted by Christopher Machielse on Mon, May 23, 2011

For several weeks, LectureTools has been in exclusive beta testing in five spring courses at the University of Michigan. So far, both students and instructors have been able to give our development team constructive feedback about their LectureTools Beta experiences.

We are in constant contact with our “beta instructors” and our development team is busy ironing out any remaining bugs. Allowing these select external users to teach and learn using LectureTools has proved to be valuable for both parties thus far.

We are fortunate to have a group of passionate professors who are using LectureTools in their spring courses. Meet the instructors and see screenshots of how their courses have been using LectureTools below.

Dr. Ken Balazovich

Dr. Balazovich uses LectureTools in his Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology course, where he teaches roughly 100 students.

biology answered questions

Dr. Balazovich's students have been active on the student inquiry channel. His graduate student instructor answers the student questions during lecture. Above is Dr. Balazovich's view of the answered questions (we removed student names to preserve anonymity). Students see answered questions anonymously.


biology free response

Above is the results slide for one of Dr. Balazovich's free response activities. If the instructor chooses "Show Results," LectureTools randomly selects 20 responses to display and generates a results slide to facilitate class discussion.


Dr. Kyger Lohman

Dr. Lohman is teaching Geology of Michigan this semester. His course has about 40 students.

prepare geology lecture

Above is the "Prepare" interface for one of Dr. Lohman's lectures. From this interface he can import PowerPoint slideshows, re-order or hide specific slides, or create interactive activities.


Dr. Marita Inglehart

Dr. Inglehart is using LectureTools in her Psychology of Dentistry course. Her class begins bright and early at 8:00am, has around 100 students, and has plenty of opportunities for class discussion.

dentistry interactive activity

Activities remain "hidden" from students until the instructor chooses to start the activity during class. Here Dr. Inglehart prepares to ask her students about a dentist's rapport with his patient after an in-class video.


Dr. Lynn Carpenter

Dr. Carpenter is teaching Introductory Biology: Ecology and Evolution this semester. About 100 students are enrolled in her lecture.

biology student inquiry

The student view of the inquiry tool from one of Dr. Carpenter's biology lectures. Students can see the questions they have asked and any answered questions from the entire class. Only the instructor and TAs see names associated with the questions.


Dr. Patricia Coleman-Burns

Dr. Coleman-Burns is teaching Introduction to the Research Approach in Nursing for almost 20 nursing students this spring.

nursing student screenshot

Students can view Dr. Coleman-Burns's slides and take notes using LectureTools. They can also navigate to the "Questions" tab to submit questions for Dr. Coleman-Burns to answer.

Schedule a Live Demo

To learn how to prepare and present interactive lectures using LectureTools, schedule a live demo today.

Topics: LectureTools Beta Classrooms, LectureTools News, emerging technologies in education, lecturetools beta

LectureTools Passes First Test During Large Lecture

Posted by Cameron Guilmette on Fri, April 29, 2011

student uses LectureTools v2.0

Last week was a very exciting time for LectureTools because, for the first time, LectureTools was used in a live classroom by real students! The software was used in Dr. Perry Samson’s Extreme Weather lecture at the University of Michigan. We are very pleased to announce that despite this being the premiere of LectureTools, things in class went off without a hitch.


Successful LectureTools Test in 'Extreme Weather' Lecture

lecturetools free response resultsWe watched as students marked content as confusing, responded to the interactive activities, and interacted with the instructor via the real-time Q&A feature. Each feature of LectureTools was designed with input from instructors and students to enhance student engagement and increase active learning.

Dr. Samson, a veteran of teaching with technology and the research version of LectureTools, seemed to be very pleased with the lecture as well. He favored using the free response question type for the majority of lecture, which was nice to see because it really showed us how much of a difference technology can make in large lectures. Dr. Samson took time to review the submitted responses for students after each free response activity.

Not only did students appear genuinely engaged at these moments, but also, a few students were even brave enough to raise their hand and ask a question the “old fashioned way.”


Next Steps for the LectureTools Beta

After lecture, students were asked to fill out an online questionnaire to provide feedback about their experience using LectureTools. While most students found no trouble with the software, the development team is hard at work incorporating the students' feedback.

Stay tuned for further updates on the beta testing of LectureTools, as several spring semester courses at the University of Michigan will be using our new software.

Topics: LectureTools News, interactive classroom technology, lecturetools beta, Teaching with Technology, Engaging Students in the Classroom