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Blackboard becoming thing of past at LDS schools

Continued from page 10Then, the Welding Engineering Technology Department, using a computer controlled cutting tool, cut out the parts and, with the help of students in the Manufacturing Department, welded them together and painted the finished backhoe. The project was displayed at a recent President's Club open house.

  • Students from throughout the United States have a "wonderful way to distance learn" by registering for and taking classes through the Internet, explained Mary Lou Welch of the English Department. Sister Welch teaches online English 111 (Composition) and students access class materials on the Internet, and send assignments and receive responses via e-mail.

"I opened a chat room

communication via InternetT for the class to give the additional feeling of community for class members who felt isolated," Sister Welch added. "All these students were tremendously excited to be taking the same course as someone . . . who also planned to attend Ricks in the fall. Many of them made plans to meet their web pal as soon as they arrived on campus."

BYU-HAWAII

  • Katsujiro Kajiyama, a Japanese language instructor at BYU-Hawaii, is using a program called "Sound Edit" to record two- or three-minute messages, which include questions to his students. His students then respond to the questions. They listen at a work station on campus and record verbal answers, in Japanese, on a floppy or Zip disks - which the instructor then reviews and grades at his office computer. "This has proven interesting and challenging to students who like the challenge of improving their comprehension and pronunciation skills," said Ed Harvey, chair of World Languages at BYU-Hawaii.
  • Gary Frederick, chairman of the Chemistry Department at BYU-Hawaii is currently using technology in his classroom. Rather than marking a blackboard, he shows color images projected from a computer.

Occasionally, to illustrate a point, he uses computer technology to give his students a better idea of what is happening on a molecular level. "We will take a picture of a molecule, then turn it slightly and take another picture," he explained. The computer program then runs the pictures in rapid progression showing rotation.

The students in Brother Frederick's class also have a copy of the exact program he uses during class discussions, so they can take it home or to a computer lab and study it, he said.

Calling technology one of many teaching tools, Brother Frederick said the computer-aided lectures have helped to make some concepts more understandable to students.

"The chemical world is also a dynamic 3-D world," he explained. "A combination of computer graphics, molecular modeling software programs, and animation capabilities make it possible to more effectively show this dynamic, 3-D world. We find that our students simply enjoy the process of learning with these presentations."

  • Edward A. Jensen is the director of the "Academic Center for Excellence" at BYU-Hawaii. His role is to help faculty at the university understand new technology.

"Part of the focus of the Academic Center for Excellence is to provide assistance to those faculty who would like to effectively utilize technology in their classes," he said. "This utilization could range from using computers to support their lectures with presentation software; to designing and producing interactive CD-ROM materials that could be used in the classroom or individually by students; to developing courses for the Internet, making it possible for students from anywhere to have access to their materials at any time."

Brother Jensen explained that educational literature and observation indicates that teachers who don't have an understanding of technology will be at a disadvantage. "Today's teachers must be skilled technologists and have a sound understanding of effective applications of technology if they are going to prepare their students for the future.

LDS BUSINESS COLLEGE

  • College officials are "pushing heavily" for more student work over the Internet, said Ken Larson, program director for Computer Information Technology. Thus, Brother Larson said, instructors can send grades to and communicate directly with each student via a computer and the Internet, creating a nearly 50 percent paperless environment. To ensure each student has easy access to a computer, 300 of the school's 400 computers are for students - one computer for every 2.5 students. Students working from computers at home can do homework via e-mail.
  • In addition, LDS Business College has equipped every classroom with a computerized instructor's station, complete with a small video camera attached to a rotating base. The station is linked to a computerized overhead projector via the camera. Thus, the instructor can display multi-media presentations - using the CD-ROM and a video machine - directly from his/her computer station. And instead of making overhead transparencies - used with old overhead projectors - the instructor simply directs the video camera to the computer screen, the textbook or other classroom materials, and the images are projected on the wall screen.