Engineers must be problem solvers. The next generation of engineering leaders will need to be not only technically proficient, but also able to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. To bridge the gap between traditional classroom lectures and applied problem solving in laboratories, my colleagues and I have explored new approaches for instruction that allow students to solve problems and interact collaboratively in the classroom.
The Duke Libraries’ Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) supported an Instructional Technology Fellows program that brought together faculty from throughout the Pratt School of Engineering – as well as the Department of Computer Science – to explore the use of interactive technologies like Tablet PCs. CIT supported our group in many ways: planning discussions, assessment expertise, and funding for a workshop with the creator of a cutting-edge program for in-class collaboration.
With the CIT support, along with hardware grants from industry partners, we incorporated new technologies into a number of courses. One example will illustrate how technology can shape in-class instruction. Students in signal processing courses can solve problems in class, not just by writing on the chalkboard but by drawing on the Tablet PC at their desk. Similarly, the instructor can use an interactive program on their own Tablet PC to monitor progress, project one or more solutions to the entire class, and annotate the students’ work. Technology, if used effectively, can change how students learn.
Associate Professor of the Practice
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
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