03 October 2016
Teach with gadgets
When I made my lecture interactive I didn't stop there. I knew some of my colleagues sometimes make instruction videos; I figured that would be a good idea. I thought I'd make one in which I do the practical part of my assignment. If students then forget small things such as putting input files for MATLAB in the right folder, or specifying file extensions, or stuff like that, they can just look at me doing the assignment successfully and maybe notice what they did wrong. If you're a bit uncertain about a program it can really help seeing someone else do it! My computer, however, does not have a microphone. So when one of our teaching fellows mailed she had plug-in microphones we could borrow I did so almost immediately. I needed a few attempts; first I had to get the sound level right, then I had to make sure no unwanted windows would pop up (you can't have an excel sheet with student marking open when you do things like this, for instance), and during the first potentially successful attempt my officemate walked in and accidentally disturbed the recording. I got there in the end though! I am quite confident now. The students will still have to think anout the crux of the assignment, but I have faith they won't be held up by practicalities along the way. Bring on technology! If it can help rather than impede teaching it's most welcome!