Fall 2013 was my first attempt at a digital research presentation format for my students, and I was both excited and anxious about how this whole process would go. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my students were able to take the task in stride and work through the technical, creative, and content based challenges of a project like this. The two classes that I taught in fall 2013 for this project were Kent State University (Trumbull Campus) Biological Diversity and Life on Planet Earth, and the results of both of these classes research projects can be seen on their respective pages, also categorized according to class on the right. Some things that I learned from this endeavor were:
1) Always schedule a class work day in the computer lab that is just for technical difficulties and trouble shooting.
2) I need to revise the project guidelines and process sheet to be more user-friendly, including step-by-step walk-throughs of how the presentation creation and submission should go.
3) Students will never fail to surprise me, so try not to impose expectations on what they’re going to do.
4) While there are definitely a number of students who would prefer not getting in front of an audience to present their research, there’s possibly an equal proportion of students who are even more concerned about the technical side of doing an online presentation. Both public speaking and computer literacy present real challenges for students, sometimes both are found in the same student. Try to empathize with their concerns.
5) Research and education are just two points on a continuum- education adds new-to-you information to our personal knowledge base, while research adds new information to our social knowledge base. Both are important, and undergraduate students can make large contributions in both areas.
All in all, I’m looking forward to Round Two of this project in the spring, where I’ll have the same classes but with new students, and I might add my Eastern Gateway Community College Anatomy and Physiology II class, as well.
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