Instructors: Professors Allan Francis Bower, Jennifer Franck, and Kyung-Suk Kim
Course: ENGN 0040 Dynamics and Vibrations
Description: [ENGN 0040] has three main goals (1) to help students learn some basic physics; (2) to help students learn how to use math and science to solve technical design problems and (3) to help students learn how to communicate technical information. IT helps us to (1) to communicate physics in new ways; (2) show how technology is used in design and (3) help students become familiar with some of the emerging approaches to technical communication.
What students said about the course:
Professor Bower makes a great use of technology in a very big class, which makes it easier for all the students and TAs to communicate. Moreover, the use of tablet to take notes later to be published online, helps students who maybe have miswritten something in their notes to correct it and understand the material better. The web-site he has made for the course contains extensive notes, explanations and problems which the students can always go back to and refer to in order better to learn the material. The use of videos showing real life phenomena and examples of engineering structures studied in this class, help students visualize what their job in the future might look like and teach them on various ways of simplifications of real-life systems to components taught. Professor Bower should definitely win this award, because this is the most extensive and comprehensive use of technology I have seen at Brown so far.
Prof. Bower’s comments:
Technology allows us to present information from class in a number of different ways, which helps make the class material accessible to students with a broader range of learning styles and preparation. Since this is a large class (160-190 students, co-taught by 2 or 3 faculty, with of order 20 TAs and tutors) technology also helps the team see what students see; and also makes available tutorials; class notes; worked examples; archives of exams, etc, which TAs and faculty can use in tutorials, office hours, or recitations.
Canvas, lecture capture, and the web help us to communicate with students; we are able to provide archives of problem sets and exams (with solutions), for example. The ability to capture blackboard notes is particularly helpful in freshman classes where many students are still learning how to take class notes. Canvas resources have also helped with assessment – speedgrader and canvas help TAs and faculty grade consistently. Since we also end up writing recommendation letters for internships for at least half the students in the class, it is also helpful to have a permanent record of student work available.