The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ran a few videos, asking students to recall some of the best, and worst, instances of faculty incorporating technology into classes. I was somewhat surprised at how basic some of the answers were. A couple students specifically talked about video, where an instructor simply made himself available to Skype in the evening. One student noted even if he didn’t require assistance on an assignment, it was comforting to know the instructor was only a few mouse clicks away. Another example that was slightly more high-tech involved a TA sending out a variety of multimedia via iTunes in association with a Rock and Roll history course.
In terms of the worst experiences, most students centered their discussion around the use of Power Point. The two main themes were:
- Instructors too dependent on Power Point
- Instructors providing very DENSE slides, making it difficult for the students to take notes and keep up with the content being covered.
In addition to dense slides, students seemed very frustrated when these slides were not distributed electronically after lectures. Students also urged faculty to always have a plan B, so if technology fails the content is still covered adequately. With so much discussion about Power Point, I want to point out that the Institute runs several sessions that focus on best practices for Power Point. Various research-based models are discussed, such as the assertion-evidence model. Check out our events page if you’re interested in the workshop.