Panelist Profile: Abigail Tan

Bio/Degree:

Computer Science

Concentration or Specialization:

Gamification

Innovative Course(s) Name, Number of Students, and Short Description of the Course

CPSC353: Data Communications/Computer Networks (~25 students) – Principles and techniques of data communication across networks and distributed systems

CPSC350: Data Structures and Algorithms (~25 students) – Focused on core data structures and algorithms

MATH210: Multivariable Calculus (~40 students) – Calculus with functions of several variables

CPSC355: Human Computer Interaction (~20 students) – Foundations of human interaction with emphasis on user-centered design methodologies

Type of Technology/Innovation Used in the Classroom

  • Blackboard
  • Slack
  • Github
  • LinkedIn
  • PollEverywhere
  • MyMathLab
  • Kahoot

Opportunities/Challenges Faced with the Technology/Innovation

Blackboard – gets the job done and allows students to do what most learning managements systems offer. However, problems occur with how inefficient the site is. It takes too many clicks to find what one needs and is too complicated for those who aren’t willing to put in the time to figure out the general foundation of the site. Problems occur more when professors and faculty will not use blackboard because of how complicated and slow it can be to use.

Slack – is a messaging app where professors can make chats for their class to allow instant communication between one another.

Github – provides an environment for students to share their code and collaborate with their peers. It’s extremely beneficial when used for group projects, and knowing how to use Github is a skill most employers want to see.

MyMathLab – allows students to do tests, quizzes, and homework outside of the classroom. It’s quick and easy, but most problems occur when one can take the same test more than 5 times. By the 4th or 5th time, students input answers that they memorized from previous takes or  guess what the answer is.

LinkedIn – helps build a student’s professional network. It’s most beneficial when professors take 10-15 minutes to enforce students to connect with other classmates on the site and to endorse each other’s skills. It’s a great way to make students befriend and network with other students in their classes.

PollEverywhere – empowers students to participate and  answer questions. It’s a great way for students to see what they need to study and for professors to see how much the class actually comprehends. Also, the fact that it’s anonymous is helpful because more students will participate knowing their identity won’t be revealed.

Kahoot – is very similar to PollEverywhere, but it’s more of a competitive game. It’s not technically anonymous, but students can be anonymous if they input something like an emoji instead. I’ve seen this benefit when used for review sessions. Super interactive and students get really excited and engaged.  

 

Response as a Student and Recommendations for Instructors

Technology is a powerful tool, and when it’s used in the right way, it can create the best learning environment for students. I look forward in seeing how technology and innovation within the classroom will evolve. I hope professors will begin to style their class to be more engaging and interactive since students will be more attentive and interested in those environments versus a strictly lecture based course.