At a recent meetup, three professors using technology for teaching shared innovative examples of how technology is used in university classrooms.
First, Prof. Li Ying (FSS) described several innovative ways a WeChat messaging system can be used to support teaching activities. For instance, private WeChat groups were used to enhance communication between students in classes of approximately 30 students. WeChat groups were an effective messaging system for sending timely reminders to students about assignments. This online messaging system was also used during class to distribute links to documents and enable students to provide immediate peer feedback on presentations and group projects.
Innovative and educational use of mobile phones was a common theme in all three talks. An emerging mobile phone app, according to Prof. Li Ying, is the Rain Classroom app, which appears to have potential to provide professors and students with timely feedback. The Rain Classroom app looks like it will immediately send images, videos and quizzes in an instructor’s PowerPoint slide to a group in the WeChat app.
Dr. Jung Woo Park (FHS) shared his experience using UMMoodle for very large classes of more than 150 students. Students in very large classes appeared to be more engaged in large lecture theaters when an instructor conducted activities that required students respond to surveys, polls and quizzes on their mobile phones. An effective activity used to take attendance was one that required students to answer a question about a homework assignment or a topic that was discussed in class.
Questions that were more effective at engaging students in class discussion tended to be ones that required students to provide an opinion on a topic. After students responded to survey questions, the results were discussed in class by the instructor and students. Dr. Park found that discussions based on surveys also provided him with constructive feedback on students’ learning and his teaching practices.
Miguel Costa (FST) also found that in class survey questions provided instant feedback to students and enhanced communication between himself and students. The online polls, conducted with the software Poll Everywhere, encouraged a greater proportion of students in the classroom to become more actively involved in classroom activities. After class, after completing survey questions, he recommended creating reports from survey results. The reports could be analyzed to provide insight on student learning.
Finally, it was mentioned that professors and students from the Faculty of Science and Technology have created a student response system, MACAS, which can be used for attendance, in-class quizzes and short-answer questions.