Professors find ways to reach students through different means

Glennis Siegfried

Students use it nearly every day, whether to check e-mail or buy a meal with their FlashCard.

Technology has a large impact on college students’ lives, and this generation is no exception. Part of that impact is now coming from the classroom. Today, teaching is no longer about overhead projections and notes copied from the board.

Audio recordings, interactive PowerPoint presentations and even iPods are being used to instruct, thanks to technological advances.

Albert Ingram, associate professor of educational foundations and special services, is one of these professors. When grading student papers, he reads through them twice. The second time through, he makes audio recordings of his critiques and comments, which he then gives to the students.

“Giving good feedback is essential,” said Ingram. “It allows me to give a lot more information, and the students like it.”

He also said that the old, red-pen grading method was much more “time consuming and painful,” and never satisfied him.

Ingram is not the only one. Murali Shanker, professor of management and information systems, is also using hybrid technology in his classroom instruction.

Shanker records his entire class lecture while taking notes during the presentation. He then places them on his Web site for the class to access. Even after students have left the class, former students can return to the site and use the lectures as reference material.

Part of Shanker’s methodology is to accommodate different student learning styles. That’s why he said he doesn’t mind if stuudents choose to stay home to go over lectures rather than attend class.

Students, in turn, appreciate these efforts.

“It takes a lot to keep our attention, (and) technology is important in the classroom,” said Monica Medla, sophomore early childhood education major.

Medla said she hated it when she had to copy her notes from the board and believes technology should be integrated into classroom teaching.

Medla said she enjoyed being able to use her iPod to study for her Music as a World Phenomenon course.

One of freshman accounting major Emily Boli’s professors, uses “clickers.” These Classroom Performance System radio frequency devices allow students to answer questions in class with just the push of a button.

“They’re faster, but they’re kind of weird,” she said. And while the devices are a bit costly, they do save paper.

Medla has also used a clicker before. She liked the anonymity of answering questions in class.

“Usually you look around and wait to see how everyone else is answering,” she said. With the clickers, there’s no way for students to know how others answered.

Junior English major Cody Pinnick said many of his professors have not incorporated technology into the classroom, and he would like to see more of it.

Pinnick said some of his professors use PowerPoints, which he said are helpful, but others would like to see more.

“I would like to see Smart Boards (in the classes),” said Boli.

Contact technology reporter Glennis Siegfried at [email protected].