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Multimedia in Lecture First Attempts


Brian Pankuch, Editor

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the Spring 1997 CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.
Lady luck came through for us at my college and we obtained some funding for updating computer equipment. I was able to purchase a Mac PowerBook 292 Mhz/9 G HD, and 160M RAM. It's got a 14.1 inch active matrix screen and is probably the fastest laptop available at the moment.
I'm using it with an Epson 5000, 750 lumen projector. This is bright enough to work with lights on, though I tend to shut the lights at the front of the room off. I project the PowerPoint lectures on the sidewall, this leaves me with the freedom to use the front board, to answer student questions.
I queried a number of people about the methods they find most effective and I'm trying two with somewhat different emphasis. One is based on some of the ideas in 'Peer Instruction", by Eric Mazur Prentice Hall, 1997 ISBN 0¬∑13-565441-6.
One class is getting more short questions projected, that they try to answer. This gives me some idea of how they are understanding the topics. The second is getting more special effects with short QuickTime movies. I can project movies full screen with sound with no problem with the PowerBook. I'm also using Director animations that I've made up.
A great help has been using computer programs to generate examples live in class. For instance I'm currently going over g->mol type problems. After going over the basic ideas and definitions I project a g->mol program. Then select a problem and show the students how to do the problem using the program. The program is set up so all interaction with the user is by choosing from 4 multiple guess answers, A), B), C), or D). It has a built in tutor to walk the user through setting up a problem map or unit path then filling in step by step, with student input, each 'conversion factor' that makes up the map.
If you have set this up in PowerPoint you realize it can be very time consuming to do. Not forme I just click on a button in my PowerPoint lecture and the link starts up the program. I can show a variety of problems (random number generators give a choice of a large number of potential problems) and have step by step interaction with the class in doing the problem. I can have students hold up cards containing A), B), C), or D) to indicate their choice at a each step of the solution. This gives me immediate feedback of how each student is following the solution. The students have already been in the Mac lab and know how to use the programs, so this reinforces using the programs.
I want to reinforce this since we have been using programs for over 5 years and students who use them for more than a few hours show 2-2.5 grades higher on tests than those who don't. My projector has a zoom lens and a custom zoom (software) feature that allows me to make the program window quite large. Some of the programs have simulations available that project quite well.
The problem of students taking down every word of notes vs. others who take briefer notes, is more obvious with PowerPoint than with a board. Using chalk you have several boards to keep material up -for a longer lime. With PowerPoint some are getting fidgety while others are still busy writing. If you've come up with a solution to this let me know.
Note taking is helped by using computer programs that the students have access to. The students can use the programs themselves and work through similar problems-with less need to take detailed notes.


10/01/98 to 10/04/98