Instructor: Roger Sloboda, Biology
Overview: This application is being submitted on behalf of a group of four faculty members in two departments (Amy Gladfelter, Elizabeth Smith, and Roger Sloboda in Biological Sciences and Jon Kull in Chemistry). Our group is requesting funds to equip several Dartmouth classes per term with personal response devises to be used in a number of courses throughout the academic year. These devices enhance interaction between instructor and students, especially in large classes, allowing students to engage in problem solving individually and as a group, and provide immediate feedback about the learning process to both instructor and students. The power of such devices is that they allow both instructor and students to obtain an immediate assessment of the students’ grasp of a topic just presented or discussed in class. The interaction provides openings for the instructor to engage the class in active learning. Students feel more involved in the learning process, their participation in the course is rewarded by the immediate feedback, and this translates directly into enhanced learning and retention of information for much longer a period of time after the course ends. We propose to use this technology in eight sciences courses in the next academic year.
Instructor: Carl Renshaw, Earth Sciences
Overview: We seek to address the growing disconnect between the technologically-rich learning environment Dartmouth students enjoy in the classroom and the relatively “primitive” environment we provide them during field training. This disconnect exists despite the ever-increasing technical sophistication of the instruments that we use in the field and that students later use in their post-Dartmouth careers. The fundamental pedagogic issues, however, go beyond the desire for our students to be technologically proficient. Currently, the instruments we bring to the field largely work in isolation and thus hinder the sharing of data between students and limit their learning. The promise of mobile technology in the field is to connect and share data and ideas in near real-time in a manner that fosters, rather than impedes, learning.
We are requesting Venture funding to purchase field portable computers and software to be used on our off campus studies program. Our proposal immediately involves all six faculty who co-teach the off campus program and, ultimately, other faculty in the department who teach field-based labs as part of their regular courses. The specific Dartmouth courses directly benefiting from this proposal include EARS 45, 46, and 47, all offered each fall term as the Earth Sciences Off Campus Field Studies Program (the Stretch). When not being used during the Stretch, the equipment and software will be available to all faculty in our department for use in field labs that are part of a number of our regular Dartmouth-based courses, including EARS 26 (Hydrology and Water Resources), EARS 28 (Environmental Geology), EARS 33 (Earth Surface Processes and Landforms), EARS 44 (Structural Geology), EARS 64 (Introductory Geophysics), and EARS 66 (Hydrogeology).
Instructor: Sally R. Hair, Chemistry Department
Overview: This project supports the development of multimedia additions for the General Chemistry Laboratory web site at Dartmouth. The web site, Chemlab, will be used three terms each academic year by approximately 660 students enrolled in Chemistry 3, 5, and 6. The Chemlab additions will provide still photos, audio, and interactive web-based applications for student use before and after lab. These additions will enable students to prepare for experiments more thoroughly and with greater understanding than the current, text-only lab manual.
Instructor: Shunhui Zhu, Mathematics Department
Overview: This project will develop a World Wide Web site to deliver mathematical topics to students according to their individual backgrounds and interests. The site will contain of two parts, the first will consist of mathematical topics for specific application areas such as physics, biology, chemistry, etc. This will give students in a mathematics class access to a detailed discussion of the application of that course’s content to their field of interest. This will increase student motivation and aid understanding through the use of concrete examples.
The second part of the site will focus on a detailed description of the mathematical requirements for various majors in order to help students plan their academic careers and give them a more complete picture of the mathematical aspects of their field of study.
The initial development of the site will concentrate on a module for geometry, with other mathematical areas to follow. One of the main features of the site will be its interactive nature, utilizing Java applets to present examples and simulate processes.
Instructor: Fillia Makedon, Computer Science Department
Overview: This project will design an introductory course to teach undergraduates how to develop multimedia applications on the World Wide Web using Java and other tools. In addition to the software engineering aspect of the course, the students will learn about general multimedia issues and limitations, how to process and prepare different media, how to evaluate existing websites for effective interface design and use of multimedia, and how to combine media in interactive presentations.