Ohio State instructors, are you looking for ways to seize your students’ attention in class? Would you like immediate feedback about whether your students understand some core content you just covered—or gauge their ability to apply their newfound knowledge in different contexts? Look no further: LectureTools helps you achieve each of these aims and more.
Geography professor Morton O’Kelly only recently learned about LectureTools, a web-based presentation platform—but elected to incorporate it into his new semester-based course plans, after learning about the technology’s capacity to get students to interact with course material. His interest in LectureTools was sparked when he found it would offer him the ability to ask questions of his students, get their immediate feedback, gauge their responses, and manage the flow of his class, all at the same time.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit one of Dr. O’Kelly’s Geography of Transportation class lectures, to observe how he and course GTA Caleb Gallemore have collaborated to wield some of LectureTools’ numerous features. From my “catbird seat” at the rear of the classroom, I could see virtually all the students’ computer monitors.
I was impressed that throughout the entirety of the 80-minute class, every student was using LectureTools to follow along with the course lectures and respond to polls that Dr. O’Kelly implemented throughout the class period. Many students submitted questions (which Caleb answered in real time), and used a window on the right-hand side of their computer screens to take notes on the course content.
Dr. O’Kelly commented that in the past, especially on lecture-heavy days, typically only a few students would participate. He now has multiple students participating from day to day—something he can also view via LectureTools, which indicates how many student responses he receives to his polling questions.
Caleb spoke highly about his LectureTools experiences too: by using LectureTools to answer questions while classes are in session, he said, he feels much more involved in teaching the course–and thinks other TAs would find this beneficial as well. He and Dr. O’Kelly reported that while occasionally the technology has posed some challenges, on the whole it’s been easy for them and their students to learn. Further, the LectureTools staff have been quick to respond to a few flaws encountered during the first several days of class, and have welcomed feedback and suggestions, such as ideas about other features that could be developed to enhance teaching and learning.
After class I spoke with senior John Corvo, a geography spatial analysis major. He described his LectureTools experience enthusiastically: through LectureTools, he and his classmates have much more interaction with both Dr. O’Kelly and GTA Caleb Gallemore. John said students like LectureTools features that enable them to post questions without interrupting class, see questions posted by their classmates, and have their questions answered by Caleb while the class is still in session. Students also appreciate a note-taking feature they can use to take notes while the course is in session, and access the notes later. All in all, John summarized, “It’s a more efficient way to conduct the class.”