CNM Glass Puts New Spin on Teaching

September 16, 2015 -- CNM faculty members have a high-tech, engaging new tool for teaching students. It’s CNM Glass, a system that captures video of short lectures presented by instructors who write on a tempered glass board instead of a whiteboard or blackboard. The technology behind the glass allows instructors to face students while writing on the glass board, creating more dynamic lectures that can provide more clarity and a more engaging learning experience for students.
September 16, 2015

CNM is the first academic institution in New Mexico to adopt the learning glass technology and one of a handful in the country.

“Teaching with this glass board feels similar to teaching with a blackboard or whiteboard,” said Kat Flies, former presidential fellow in Instructional Technology and faculty member in the School of Math Science & Engineering faculty. “The difference is that instructors face a camera when teaching through the glass and don’t have to turn their backs to their students to write on the board.”

A video camera captures the image of the instructor lecturing and writing coursework on the glass, and an inverter flips the image so that it is not a mirror image. Therefore, if the instructor is writing on the glass with a right hand, it looks like they’re using their left hand. The glass board can be raised or lowered to suit the height of the lecturer. The glass also allows the instructor to use colored pens to write, plot and sketch to create an engaging environment for students watching the videos. Finally, future plans include the ability to superimpose PowerPoint slides as well for annotation and labeling.

Flies said that creating instructional content with CNM Glass as a writing surface is appealing to both students and faculty. Students feel more connected to the instructor who looks at them rather than down or away. Since they can hear and read what the instructor lectures about, while seeing facial expressions and hand gestures, they are more engaged, interested and focused. This ultimately impacts student retention and success rates.

Instructors also like CNM Glass because it is user-friendly, requiring only brief setup and no or minimal post production. Instructors walk away with an mp4 copy of the video after copying it onto a thumb drive or uploading it to the cloud. They can then opt to upload the videos to Mediasite or YouTube or share the video links with students in Blackboard for easy access. 

“Instructors can use this technology in face-to-face, hybrid and totally online classes, and CNM Glass is appealing to tech-resistant, tech-newbie or tech-savvy instructors,” Flies said.

She added that she first became familiar with the glass technology last February when she met with the media production team at the University of California in San Diego. “The moment I saw a video of UCSD’s so-called “Learning Glass, I wanted one for CNM,” Flies said.

“I asked, ‘Where can we buy it?’” Flies said. “They told me you can’t buy it. You have to build it, but we will be happy to share the design and list of items with you.”

She returned to Albuquerque and convinced Peter Hurley and Chris Cervantes from CNM's Media Production Services to develop custom specs for a modified and improved glass board for CNM.  Flies, together with Hurley and Cervantes, submitted a proposal to build CNM Glass, which was approved by Sydney Gunthorpe, vice president of Academic Affairs, and supported by Deans Council.

CNM Glass is now available for use by CNM faculty and staff on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12-4 p.m. at the Advanced Technology Center (temporary location). Depending on requests and staff support for CNM Glass, more time slots will be considered.  Contact Peter Hurley,, to schedule a slot.