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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Academics & Research

UH turns more to technology


Though it may take time getting used to for some, technology has revolutionized college student’s educational experiences by making learning easier, more interactive and sometimes more entertaining.

Some UH professors are embracing the advances in technology to reach out to students in unprecedented ways. 

It is no longer uncommon for professors to tape their lectures and place them on iTunes, so students may upload them on their digital players and listen to them at their leisure. 

English professor Karen Fang has been teaching Text and Politics for five years and has incorporated multimedia into every class.

In her course, students study films and apply them to various texts. Fang has recently begun to use a film projector to show clips in class and allowing students to find movies on e-reserves in the library.

“Using clips in class facilitates the ability to examine cinema,” Fang said. “Students now are a visual-oriented audience, and this gives them a dynamic edge.”

Fang said she believes that using this technology enhances the experience over a traditional classroom simply because it allows the content to be visual. Fang also said she hopes to use more technology in the future, as well as having more time to develop them.

“I’d love to give the students live downloads of clips I use, maybe on YouTube,” Fang said. “I’d also put film clips on actual electronic exams.” 

The M.D. Anderson Memorial Library recently purchased a program that allows students to scan their books and e-mail it to themselves or store them on their USB.

The Bookeye is environmentally friendly and is free to all UH students.

Education senior and library assistant Tariq Malik said he is pleased with UH’s latest technical additions that are helping to do away with bulky books.

“It’s amazing” Tariq said. “I use it every day.”

With hopes of transforming into a paperless campus, many instructors at UH are also digitizing their course material by using Blackboard vista. 

However, not all students are responding positively to the idea of online classes. Political science senior Janae Williams has faced some problems with the online class system.

“I had a big issue the first week of school, because I’m taking a hybrid course, and I’m taking 18 hours. I don’t have time for things not to be ready for me to go. It took them a full week to get my Blackboard going,” Williams said.

“I like to have my syllabus read. I like to know what books I need before school starts, so I can have all of that laid out, so that when I get to school, I can ask whatever questions I need for clarification and get right to work,” Williams said.

While some technology is used to fulfill educational purposes, some are used to make courses more entertaining. Making classes more interactive is the key.

Wellness and fitness senior Patricia Miller said one of the things she has enjoyed the most about technology being incorporated in the classroom is that she gets to use the Wii Fit in one of her classes.

“We now have a PEB (Physical Education Basic) class that incorporates technology with fitness by using the Wii,” Miller said. “In this class, they use Wii Fit and other active games to help them keep track of their fitness goals and help students achieve these goals.”

Political science junior Anne Pace said she is skeptical about the technology changes in the classroom over the past few years.

“Maybe in a couple of years they’ll have it down but not yet. Every class is hooked up to a projector. It never works,” Pace said. “A lot of times, (class) gets started late or the professor doesn’t get to cover some things.  When I first started (at UH), only math classes had things online.  Now every class is on Blackboard (Vista),” she said. 

Additional reporting provided by Michael Berryhill’s Advance Reporting Class

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