Professors use multimedia to spruce up lectures

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    By ROB HERTZLER

    Students’ dreams are coming true: some teachers are not just lecturing anymore.

    With the help of the Instructional Technology Center, some teachers are bringing computer technology into the classroom.

    Jon D. Green, professor of humanities, is one of the first instructors to utilize the ITC’s resources by making his history of civilization class more of a visual experience.

    Green is now using Power Point slides with a browser window projected onto a screen. He is also using QuickTime video to visually guide students through architectural advances in history.

    However, most teachers are still stuck in a “pre-print mentality,” Green said.

    “We’re spinning our wheels by just telling people stuff,” Green said. “Before books, teachers would lecture and the students would hurry to write everything down and that would become their book.”

    Green said it is a challenge to convince his colleagues there is a better way.

    The Civilization Multimedia Project was initiated by Duane Roberts, academic liaison for KBYU, who approached the ITC after KBYU surveyed history of civilization faculty on their use of media in the classroom. A grant for the project was approved by the Committee on Instructional Media Arts. Students in areas such as graphic design, computer science and instructional design were then hired to work on the project.

    “Obviously there are a lot of faculty involved, but confidence was instilled in the students,” said Jennifer Wolverton, assistant director of the project.

    Green and David C. Wright, professor of history, are currently using the project in their classrooms.

    “We were forced to go back and look at the way we taught and ask, ‘Is this the best way to teach this?'” Green said.

    “(Using the project) allows faculty members to become high-tech without learning high-tech skills,” said David W. Monson, also an assistant director of the project.

    Not only can the teachers use the project in the classroom, but their students can access the multimedia lectures on the Internet outside of the classroom as well. Wolverton said this allows the students to quiz themselves on class material and have access to interactive media objects. This is especially helpful if a student misses class.

    With class notes accessible from the Internet, it may be tempting for students to miss class. However, Wolverton, has found that attendance in the class has not dropped off.

    Another current ITC project is a CD-ROM chemistry lab. Richard Swan, instructional designer for the CD-ROM, is working on the project with Brian Woodfield, from the chemistry department. The CD-ROM will make a lab experience available to almost 5,000 students who would otherwise miss out.

    “There are 5,000 students in Chem 111, and it’s too expensive for them to have a real lab experience,” Swan said.

    Only 50 to 100 chemistry or pre-med majors who take the class are able to use the lab, Swan said.

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