Teaching Methods

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by amilton542, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. amilton542

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Nov 13, 2010
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    Today's norm' by way of teaching is predominantly achieved through Microsoft Power Point. Do you agree with this? I'm sorry but this is poor and it needs to change. I agree with the time efficiency aspects of it all, year in and year out, but it is weak.
     
  2. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    How can you blame the power point as the downfall? The mastermind in the teaching is the teacher, not the tools they use.

    I've used opaque projectors when I was on instructor duty. Content is king, whether we are talking about teaching or internet websites.

    I can honestly say the power point, as a methodology of providing the student with the salient notes is good. It allows the students to "pay attention" instead of spending their class time with their head looking down at their desk in a futile attempt to write down all the notes, and some will write every word out of the instructors mouth, only to be more confused by their notes when reading them later. Even if you "recorded" the class, another technique I've advocated, so you can "revisit" the portion of the lecture your notes didn't cover or you incorrectly summarized.

    Look at the power point for what it is ... an aid. If you think it's poor, you need to address the teacher.

    I based my opinion on the empirical data of wondering why the vast majority of the students failed a class. The two people instructing that class hashed out all their observations they could recall during the periods they taught the class. I realized I saw too many heads NOT looking up and paying attention to what was going on as they were too busy taking notes in the fast paced course. We solved that problem by providing the notes, which the student was free to make additional comments. This was in 1980.

    The tools have changed since I last used a drafting board and opaque projectors. The principles have not changed.
     
  3. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
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    I've seen professors do absolutely wonderful teaching jobs with a PowerPoint, or equivalent, medium, as I've seen them do aweful attempts at conveying complex topics without enough information for a viewer to understand the material.

    I remember a class or two taught largely using transparencies on an overhead projector and I learned a lot. The professor was clear, consise, and gave plenty of dialogue with the students to ensure the ideas were grasped.

    I have to agree with Joe, it is simply a tool the instructor uses, it cannot be categorically labeled as bad based on how some use it.
     
  4. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    I build smart broadcast rooms for a Local University; I also handle operations. Powerpoint can be a powerful tool when it can be access by the student on a database anytime they feel the need. The instructor will cover the content over the semester even though the student has access. In my Information Technology class many students would read ahead and study material long before the professor covered it; including taking practice quizzes.

    Like "Joe" said it's all about delivery. Many times I have attended lectures without some visual aid and it was lacking; hard to stay focused on the material without going asleep. Still some professors speak mono-toned; and it's impossible to sit through the hole the class following a regurgitation; I think those professors should just stop Teaching because they've lost the passion or just never had it in the first place.

    Because you have "Dr" in front of your name doesn't mean you can "Teach"

    kv
     
  5. Sinus23

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    Sep 7, 2013
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    In 4 semesters only once was power point used to present material in my classes. And the only reason it was used was because the teacher had already made it to use at a lecture for senior citizens teaching them about binary,hex,gray code and K-maps. It was well structured and pretty straightforward so I can't really see any downside to the method of using power point to present material if it is done right.

    My teachers have used everything from a cluttered whiteboard or a photocopy of an old book to youtube videos depending on what they were teaching. So to quote Killivolt quoting Joe:p. It's all about the delivery and making sure that the student are understanding the material.

    Edit: Oh and I had a teacher which disliked simulators so all his simulations were done by Excel...
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  6. Papabravo

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    Feb 24, 2006
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    Would you prefer the professor who wrote with his right hand on the blackboard and erased what had been written with his left hand?
     
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  7. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    I had that guy as a professor once. Calc II.

    Anyhow, my favorite was my economics prof who had hand written a whole role of overheat projector notes, the only guy I've ever known to use the spindle on the side of projectors. He was about 75 years old and his secretary and wife would come in and turn the crank on the projector as he spoke I to a microphone in a dark lecture hall of 2500 freshmen. I just thought, every day, "just give us the damn xerox copies." (or "dittos", for those who remember those - and the smell...).
     
  8. Papabravo

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  9. jpanhalt

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    My favorite was Bob Parr. He started with an equation in quantum chemistry and wrote continuously throughout the hour. At the end of the class, he just wrote down his last equation. The next class began with that equation. Professor Parr was good, but the very best I have experienced with chalk and blackboard was Professor Robert Woodward (organic chemistry).

    John
     
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  10. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    Papabravo,

    Did he write and erase while moving across board leaving you with about two feet of material to grasp while he was "talking" to the board?
     
  11. JoeJester

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    I was about to describe this scene from the movie, but thanks to youtube, you can see it yourself.

     
  12. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    There was one prof in the Physics Department when I was an undergrad who literally did that. Claimed it was for efficiency since he could go immediately from the right end of the board back to the left without wasting time to erase stuff. Fortunately I only had him for one class.
     
  13. Papabravo

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    Feb 24, 2006
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    He would write a line to the end of a board section, return the the left, start a new line, and erase the one above it.
     
  14. Papabravo

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    Feb 24, 2006
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    It is an apocryphal story.
     
  15. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    I don't know about most degree fields, but I don't think that is the "norm" in EE or CS, at least not yet.

    PowerPoint is just a tool and it can be used well or not. I prefer not to use it and to present information on a chalk board or white board. I believe that doing so allows students to see how I'm arriving at things more easily and to focus on the details that I am presenting at that moment. I think it also forces me to go at a pace that is a more natural fit to the pace at which students can take the material in. But that's not to say that you can't achieve the same things with PowerPoint, though I would argue that few instructors put in the time and effort to do so.

    The bigger problem with PowerPoint (and it isn't intrinsic to PowerPoint, but rather the underlying mechanism) is that increasingly teachers are being given "Instructor Resource Material", often in the form of PowerPoint slides, that lull them into just grabbing the slides and walking through them, sometimes without even having reviewed them before class. That's still a failing of the instructor, not the resources made available, but the availability of the resources make it easier for a teacher to succumb to the temptation.
     
  16. WBahn

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    To be fair, his writing was well organized and clear and he had developed a style that kept his body out of the way of seeing what the present vertical panel of writing was. One thing that it did was force you to keep up and ask any questions you had promptly -- and he was willing to pause and answer questions as much as needed. But I much preferred the styles that many of my profs had in which they tried to keep material up on the board for the entire class, if possible.
     
  17. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    Therein lies the problem. Shortcuts are everywhere and until one invests the "sweat equity" in the venture; the complaint in post one remains valid to some.

    I attended some training a long time ago where the "instructor" read the printed material. After a few minutes of this activity I asked for a break. The instructor granted the break, I picked up my book, went to my hotel room, changed clothes, then proceeded to the pool where I could read outdoors and enjoy some adult beverages. I stayed poolside till the test later that week. I figured I could read as well as the instructor. Oh yeah, I passed the course of instruction.
     
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  18. tracecom

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    I had a chemistry professor who wrote equations with both hands simultaneously and ended by making the = mark in the center, and then sliding another panel over the equation so that it was immediately out of view.

    In the interest of full disclosure, he stopped doing that after the first few meetings. It was his way of reducing the number of students he had to teach.

    And to the original question, I have found PP to be a powerful instructional tool. I have used it extensively and effectively. However, I have been the victim of presenters who put far too many words on each slide and then read them to me. Ugh!
     
  19. tracecom

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    I accomplished the same thing by using the animation features of PP to introduce ideas, pose questions, and reveal answers in a timely manner. Although I will confess that once my presentations were developed, my prep time decreased dramatically, which allowed me to focus on improving my content. In addition, PP slides kept me on topic and on schedule without the need for separate notes. Of course, I was teaching English and Creative Writing, so maybe PP wouldn't have worked so well for technical subjects.
     
  20. JoeJester

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    I believe animation would work in technical subject, but, it would take time to develop the slides. Those that invest that kind of time are not likely to share the slides, but, they would be likely to share a whole recorded lecture using those slides.

    WBahn said it best when he said "few instructors put in the time and effort to do so."
     
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