Friday, May 15, 2009

Technology Back-off

Eleven years ago I became involved in online learning. I designed three courses using Front Page while working at the tech college in 1998; then we moved to a Blackboard platform and I designed two more. It was one thing in my life I was ahead of the game on. When I moved to Dalton I continued as much, using a WebCT platform for all my classes. I spend a great deal of time on this site, posting grades, handouts, administering tests, etc.

At the same time I started using PowerPoint until I had almost every lecture on that as well.

In the last year or so I have turned the tide, slowly. Although I had PowerPoints for most of the lectures in my Business Communication class, I only used one this semester--and that was one about how to use PowerPoint in a speech. At the end of the class a student thanked me for not using PowerPoint. All of her other professors used it maximally--which is to say, badly. They just used the slides that came with the text and read them in class, a far cry from teaching.

Students today are inured to technology; whereas it used to get their attention, not using it, and expecting face-to-face, old-fashioned interaction, may be the way to engage them. I'll still use the WebCT platform because it does my grades for me and allows the students to see grades, and it saves me time for administering quizzes in class. But I'm going to back off from as much IT as I have used in the past.

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