Using technology to enhance the traditional lecture
The advancement of information technology has provided faculty with many opportunities to adopt and incorporate it into traditional classroom teaching. However, the new technology is not always better. For many topics, the best strategy is still the traditional chalk-and-talk lecture. There are three critical requirements that must be met before new technology is adopted on a large scale. 1. The new technology should be able to facilitate student learning and understanding. It should be better than a traditional lecture. 2. The new technology should be easy to use. Learning to use the technology should not create excessive work for the faculty member. Class preparation should take approximately the same amount of time as for a traditional lecture. 3. The new technology should be reliable and convenient. The author is currently using a technological method for teaching engineering mechanics courses that meets the criteria listed above. A key component to the method is that the faculty member projects complex figures on the board and then uses chalk (or markers or a smart board or a tablet) to modify the figures. This teaching method blends the traditional lecture with the new technology, utilizing the new technology to improve the quality of the traditional lecture. From the instructor's perspective, preparing the lecture takes approximately the same amount of time as preparing a traditional lecture. The use of technology has been well received by the students, improving student satisfaction, and also improving student performance on the department final exam. The new technology has also been very helpful in providing distance office hours. Distance office hours are not just for distance students; the on-campus students have benefited more from the distance office hour sessions than the distance students. Students no longer have to make the trip in to the faculty member's office to get help with the homework. They can get help from their dorm room or apartment. The author has been setting a couple of hours aside the evening before homework is due, and providing office hours from his home, sitting in his recliner, and approximately one-third of the students in the class log in to get help with the homework. It is convenient for faculty and students, and is a very effective teaching tool.
Carroll, Douglas R., and H. Sheng, "Using Technology to Enhance the Traditional Lecture," Presentation at the American Society for Engineering Education Conference and Exposition, Honolulu, HI, June 24, 2007.