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Continuing adventure:


Brian Pankuch, Editor
Chemistry Department
UCC, Cranford, NJ 07016

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the Spring 1997 CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.
The results of using the techniques, interactive PowerPoint lectures, I've previously described, are promising. I've had a second class in a year in which the lowest grade was a C. Students still  transfer out of our majors courses' into one of our review Chemistry courses, and some just withdraw. Still this kind of performance has been quite rare, in my sections or in sections of my colleagues. SeeKarenTimberlakes' article in this Newsletter for more detail and ideas.
Action has switched to one of our new remodeled classrooms with multimedia equipment. We have a 1200 lumen Sharp projector mounted from the ceiling, a high quality screen which pulls down, and has a lock down feature which makes it very rigid. A large wheel based table has connections for my portable PowerBook, an Elmo projector, VCR, and both phone and T1 connections for the Internet.
My procedure at the moment, after some experimentation, is to connect the power cord, projector cable and remote mouse accessory then start my PowerBook in my office. I boot the system, a PowerBook 292, bring up PowerPoint, Director and Netscape if I'm going to show animation or Internet material. I open the PowerPoint lecture I'm currently using and go to the slide we left off on. I generally check the slides I'm using for the next lecture to make sure all is well, especially if links to movies, etc., are still good. If I need material from a CD I put the CD in now. I put the PowerBook into sleep mode, disconnect the power cord, move the cart (which has three shelves, with the PowerBook on the top; spare wires, remotes, batteries, handouts on the next; and my briefcase on the bottom) to the classroom. I also have about 1.5 inch foam rubber strips under the PowerBook to cushion bumps, and still let air circulate for cooling.
In the classroom I turn on the projector (ours must be turned on before you connect to the PowerBook or they can't talk to each other), plug in the PowerBook, and connect it to the projector. Touch any key and the PowerBook is up and running within seconds with the application programs I'm going use already running. When I'm finished I put the PowerBook back to sleep, disconnect, wheel the cart back to my office, reconnect to my T1 line and at a click of the mouse I'm up and running, checking material for my next lecture. My Mac reconnects to the Internet without any action on my part ..
This cuts down substantially on the time and stress of completely shutting down and rebooting my system. We are having some problems with the very impressive remote for the projector. It doesn't work in the present configuration, which means I can't zoom in on movies, programs, etc. You can zoom in movies, stop, start, loop, etc. in QuickTime 4. To do this requires opening a movie in QuickTime and saving it in QuickTime format. If you just link to a movie that you last played in Simpletext or some other program it will reopen in the same application.
Working on the PowerBook, even with its 14.2 inch screen, is still less efficient for me, so I prefer to use my desktop machine with a 20" screen. Unfortunately for some reason when the files are transferred to the PowerBook many links to movies, etc., are broken. Transferring with everything (440 MB and growing) lessens the problem, but some links still break. I've been having better luck connecting the PowerBook to my desktop machine with a special cable from Apple, the PowerBook then appears as a hard drive on the desktop. All files being changed are saved to the  PowerBook as a hard drive. This method works well butthere are still some intricacies and inconsistencies which have eluded me. For that matter I can move shapes on a slide in my office in PowerPoint, leave the machine on as described above and have it change by the time I use it in lecture? Technology is fun, but it is more fun when it works consistently.
03/05/99 to 03/09/99