I am currently writing a new case study on my use of IT in teaching undergraduates mathematics. My previous case study, Using a tablet PC and audio podcasts in the teaching of undergraduate mathematics modules, appeared in the second edition of the book Giving a Lecture: From Presenting to Teaching, Exley and Dennick (Routledge, April 2009). This case study can also be found in adapted form at http://www.maths.nottingham.ac.uk/personal/jff/Papers/pdf/podcasting.pdf
I have now moved on to screencasts (video of my tablet PC display with synchronized audio from classes). I have asked my second-year mathematical analysis students for feedback on the current use of IT in lectures, either directly by email, or else using an online anonymous feedback form that I have set up specially for this purpose.
To set the scene, recall that I base my lectures around a set of pdf slides which have a “skeleton” of the course (including definitions and statements of the main results), but with gaps for the students to fill in (e.g. worked examples, proofs, further discussion). These slides are issued to the students as printed handouts: two slides per page, single-sided (to ensure there is enough room for students’ notes). I then import the slides into Windows Journal, so that I can fill in the gaps (and add extra pages as required) during classes. This gives some variety in the presentation, as some of the time I am talking around the pre-prepared pdf skeleton, and some of the time I am writing on the tablet for them. Finally, after each class, I save the resulting annotated slides as a pdf file and put this on the web for the students, along with audio/video from the classes. Where appropriate, the materials from previous years also remain available on the web pages.
Note: making a lot of materials available online leads to lower attendance at lectures (sometimes as low as 50%), and can lead some students into a false sense of security. These students may end up doing worse than they would have done if the materials had not been available! However, those who are working hard, and who are trying to keep up and understand the material, do clearly benefit from the provision.
Here is what my anonymous feedback form says:
You can use this form to submit anonymous feedback on the technology used in classes.
(In late November, you will also have a chance to fill in the usual SET paper-based feedback form on the module teaching.)
I am particularly interested in how useful you have found:
– use of the tablet PC to present classes;
– pdf files of annotated slides;
– audio from lectures;
– screencasts from lectures.
– material from previous years.
I will add in responses to my blog feedback page, https://explainingmaths.wordpress.com/feedback, as I receive them.