On this page I will quote the Autumn 2009 student feedback on my use of IT in teaching undergraduates mathematics, and especially my use of screencasts of classes.
For more on the background to this, see my post Feedback on the use of IT in teaching university mathematics
I will add in feedback below as I receive it (editing out some things, e.g. any mention of other people!)
- I personally think all the teaching methods you use are very useful. I believe the PC tablet is particularly useful as the notes are clear and everything is gone through on a step by step basis. The screen and podcasts too are clear.
- The tablet PC is always a good way to present classes. It allows us to stay awake and concentrated by writing in the gaps, but by not having to write everything down means we don’t get behind or end up mindlessly writing pages which we can’t understand. You have chosen a nice balance of the two.
I haven’t looked at material from previous years as yet but nearer the examination period I imagine this would be very useful.
I have found the screencasts really helpful. Sometimes it is impossible to attend a lecture for some reason or another and pdf slides often aren’t enough to be able to follow what’s going on if the material is complicated. It’s also very helpful if we didn’t understand something the first time round to be able to look back at the notes and hear your explanation again.
All in all my feedback is extremely positive and I feel there is the most additional support available for this module without request.
- PC tablet combo with ‘fill in the gaps’ handouts is the best way of lecturing!
Audio & screencasts from lectures are also incredibly valuable for missed lectures! I rate all the above very highly.
- The screencasts and audio of the lectures is extremely helpful.
- I find the screencasts/audio files really useful for when I’m going over my lectures notes and don’t understand something as I can get a proper explanation rather than just the notes I have made. I also feel they will be especially helpful for when I am revising and wish to revisit a certain topic. The tablet pc is a lot clearer to see than writing on the whiteboard, and again are a lot more useful as they are online so if I do copy something down wrong I can refer to whichever pdf file I need. Material from other years is always handy and I am glad it is made available for this module.
- I find the tablet PC incredibly useful; unlike white/blackboards it’s easy to see the writing and it’s good how the notes on the screen correspond exactly with our hand-out notes.
The annotated slides are useful if one misses a lecture or to check if the notes were copied correctly.
The audio combined with the screencast is very good; I find it useful to listen/watch the lectures over again even if I’ve attended the lecture as it is sometimes easier to concentrate at home rather than in a lecture.
I use the previous years’ problem sheets and find them very useful.
[JFF Notes: here I believe the student is referring to previous years' assessed coursework questions and model answers. These remain available on the web, unlike the standard question sheets and solutions from previous years.]
- I think the tablet PC is a good idea it is clear to read the annotations unlike with some OHP slides or white boards. The pdf files are also useful when I do not manage to get everything down in the lecture (which happens rarely). I have not felt the need to use the audio files or the screencasts from lectures and have not yet used the material from previous years although this will be helpful for revision.
- Tablet PC for lecture notes is very helpful. Makes copying up missed lecture notes possible (from uploaded pdfs), makes copying down proofs into the correct places in the notes extremely easy (along with the lecture notes) and makes recording the screencasts possible.
Screencasts also very useful as simply copying missed notes isn’t always useful without the explanation of the lecturer.
- I myself use a tablet pc to take lecture notes, so the pdf’s that are available on the module webpage help me immensly. I find that lectures that are presented using a tablet are much easier to follow, as it is a good blend between a powerpoint and a blackboard lecture.
- Basically I wish every single lecturer would do what you do. I had swine flu this year and missed a good amount of your lectures. Being able to hear the audio whilst looking at the slides makes it so much better than just some online notes. I know I am not the only one who thinks your way of teaching is the best, we all really appreciate the amount of effort you go to.
- The tablet PC and screencast combination has made mathematical analysis my favourite module recently! Unfortunately I have a few other commitments this year and I’m not always able to get to the lectures. Being able to listen to the lecture while watching as the slides are annotated has given me the ability to do any lecture at any time from the comfort of my remarkably comfortable chair at home. Having annotated notes available at any time has meant that I can print off anything I miss. This is how every lecturer should organise their module as it has given so much access to the student, and in a time when we rely on technology for everything, it’s amazing that all my modules aren’t already being taught like this. When I can’t find what I need online I feel somewhat at a loss for what to do! Keep it up Dr Feinstein, you’ve made my life much easier and my learning much more efficient!