Using a visualiser (document camera)

What is a visualiser?

A visualiser allows you to project an image of an object, document, picture etc. onto the projector screen so that students can see it. It projects whatever happens under its camera, so you can manipulate objects and write on documents and this will be projected onto the screen. Reflect can capture the output from a visualiser in a recording.



When is a visualiser useful?

Visualisers are useful when you want to write or draw during the lecture. For example, if you want to show how to derive an equation or draw a diagram. If you want to be able to write or draw, a notebook tends to work better than loose paper or acetate sheets. You could consider writing some information on a notebook in advance, then adding to it under the visualiser during the lecture.

Visualisers are also useful for showing artefacts such as rock samples, or pieces of equipment. Lecturers have used a visualiser to show circuit boards in electronics teaching sessions. People have even used visualisers to project from an iPad.

How do I use a visualiser?

The visualiser will not be captured by an automatic recording, you will need to login to Panopto and start a manual recording. It works well if you choose the visualiser as the primary video source, so that students can see output from the visualiser and the slides at the same time in the recording. Click on the screenshot below to see an example of how this works (recording kindly provided by Simon Vaughan, Department of Physics & Astronomy).

Visualiser as primary video

When you come into a teaching room, the visualiser will usually be folded up. To raise the visualiser, you need to lift the handle until the arm is straight. To lower the visualiser again, pull the handle towards you until the arm is folded.

Once the visualiser is raised:

  1. Press the power button to switch the visualiser on. The Reflect recordings will work best if you leave the visualiser on for the whole teaching session.
  2. Press the “Doc Cam” source button on the room’s touch panel so that you are projecting images from the visualiser rather than the PC
  3. You can zoom in and out using the wheel at the top of the visualiser. The visualiser will focus automatically. It is best to zoom out while you are writing, then zoom in again to display.
  4. If the projected image is not clear, check that Auto-focus is switched on. The light on the button should be green.

This resource by Julia Goedecke, Department of Mathematics, explains effective ways of using the visualiser with Panopto.

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Need help with Reflect?

For urgent help, when equipment is not working in a teaching room, call Teaching Room Support on 0116 252 2919.

Contact the IT Service Desk for all other technical problems, such as issues with Reflect recordings. Make sure you provide the module code and start/end times of the teaching event.

Phone: 0116 252 2253

For general Reflect enquiries about the use of Reflect in your teaching, email