Volume 1, Issue 4 Spring 2003
Use of Instructional Technology as an Integral Part of a Non-Major Science Laboratory Course: A New Design
The use of instructional technology to learn and teach science is a natural approach for today’s undergraduate. Adding computers to a non-major laboratory to serve as the research laboratory notebook converted the course into a dynamic student- centered classroom. Cooperative teams became very active in doing inquiries and using the tools of technology to gather background information, collect evidence, analysis data, write proposals, submit journal articles to a class electronic journal, and present results at the podium. Student and instructor comments support the design of the new biology non-major laboratory course.
Costs to Instructors in Delivering Equated Online and On-campus Courses
An online version of a graduate-level research methods course was developed in 1998 to be equivalent to an existing lecture-based version of the course that had been delivered on-campus in a live format for many years. The purpose of this study was to (a) document the amount of instructor time and resources required to develop the equated lecture-based online version of the course, (b) determine the degree to which test data from 18 sections of the online course compared to test data from 18 matched on-campus sections of the course, and (c) compare the amounts of time devoted by instructors to the delivery of these matched on-campus and online sections. The online course required in excess of 700 hours of instructor and staff time to develop. Of these hours, 166 were devoted to producing lecture-like slideshows with voiceover to simulate live classroom lectures. As expected the two venues produced almost identical test scores, however, the online sections required 30% more instructor time to deliver than their matched on-campus sections. Our conclusion is that the similarity in levels of student learning within the two venues has been achieved at a considerable cost to instructors in amounts of extra time required to develop and deliver the online coursework.
Curricular Change to Improve Student Learning in Undergraduate Statistics
Undergraduate students often leave statistics courses not fully understanding how to apply statistical concepts. In order to enhance student learning and improve the understanding and application of statistical concepts, an elementary statistics course was transformed from a lecture-based course into one that integrates technology with active and collaborative learning methods. The effect of these changes was evaluated using a combination of pre- and post-content knowledge tests. The overall results of these changes showed that student performance on the content test was higher in the redesigned classes compared to the traditional course.
Moving From Theory to Practice in the Design of Web-Based Learning From the Perspective of Constructivism
This paper describes the design of a web-based learning module according to a framework drawing on constructivist theories. The aim was to operationalize concepts such as authenticity, collaborative knowledge sharing, sense-making and viewing multiple perspectives as they relate to the design of e-learning opportunities. The prototypical module was designed for practitioners such as teachers and structured around interpreting and responding to a problem. The module consists of a problem model and relies on use of a discussion forum and a shared workspace to support negotiation of interpretation and experience. Also included are 60 streamable video segments presenting multiple perspectives on the problem. Results of the design process provide insight into ways in which constructivist principles and concepts can be translated into practical solutions for the provision of e-learning content. The module illustrates a way in which learning experiences can inform and be informed by practice.
Using Action Research to Develop Preservice Teachers’ Confidence, Knowledge and Beliefs about Technology
Involving future teachers in action research projects along with professors and/or teachers may provide opportunities for future teachers to develop content pedagogical knowledge, examine beliefs about teaching, and gain confidence. In this study, we focus on changes in the beliefs, knowledge, and confidence of 10 preservice teachers engaged in action research with a biology professor, a teacher educator, and a high school biology teacher to evaluate a National Science Foundation-sponsored project over a two-year period. The purpose of the NSF project is to enhance case-based learning in high school and university biology courses worldwide through the use of molecular biology computer simulations and Internet conferencing. Our results showed that engaging preservice teachers in action research studying the effect of case-based multimedia learning promoted reflection on beliefs about interacting with and monitoring students in computer lab situations, as well as dispositions of teachers. In addition, preservice teachers reported gaining confidence and developing more complex technological pedagogical content knowledge.