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Thinking about technology in your courses?

Here are tips from several UI instructors who have incorporated technology into their teaching.

Make it fun.

Teaching a class using technology doesn’t just mean uploading class materials on the web. Exploit its potential for communication and instruction. Also, the more enthusiastic you are, the better the class will respond.

Be prepared to be frustrated.

Learning something new can be frustrating.

Find friends.

Sit in on classes where technology has been successfully employed. Find the technical support you need from vendors and publishing representatives, and the knowledgeable folks at Information Technology Services.

Keep it simple.

When thinking of questions for use with personal response systems or clickers, use simple questions that focus on key ideas rather than fine details.

Test, test, test.

Do a dry run with your tech support so you’re comfortable with the technology before going “live.”

Build in rewards.

Find ways to show students what they’re accomplishing along the way—small payoffs that will lead to a bigger one.

Kill as many birds as you can with your technological “stones.”

Combine research and teaching. For example, one professor researched online video-editing tools for a conference but also used what he learned to teach a class on the use of multimedia in political campaigns.

Be student-focused.

You’d be able to generate more “teaching moments” since you can, with the use of clickers, immediately gauge students’ understanding of a concept. But this also means some content may not get covered.

Partner with the students.

Enlist your students as partners and collaborators in the experiment with technology. They’ll be more tolerant of any problems and can give you feedback on how useful the technology is.

Survey students.

Knowing which parts of the class were helpful or frustrating for them can help you improve the next class.

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