Tablet PC Faculty Fellowship: Bob Malkin

Bob Malkin, Professor of the Practice, Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Malkin participated in a year-long faculty fellowship organized by Dr. Lisa Huettel to experiment with using tablet PCs in teaching. He taught his BME 154 (Biomedical Electronic Measurements) course using PowerPoint with blank slides that he wrote on using a tablet PC during his lectures. He then provided complete copies of the notes to download after the lecture. He found that most of the students continued to take notes as they always have done, and the use of the tablet PC improved both student learning and his teaching. In surveys, students preferred that he use the tablet PC to present his materials.

Dr. Malkin also experimented with using slates that plugged into the student laptops so that he could see student responses to problems during class. The students sketched their responses on the slate and then submitted them using an online photo program such as Snapfish or Shutterfly (image of student submissions is below). Dr. Malkin then discussed their submissions in class. He valued the ability to see how the students were doing during the class so he could adjust his materials, but the students did not find it useful. Additionally, there were logistic problems with providing power to each of the laptop/ slate combinations.

He concluded:

I am convinced that the advantages of using the tablet laptop to deliver lectures outweighs the disadvantages. I will only be delivering lecture-based classes using the tablets.

I am also convinced that giving students the ability to submit work from their tablets is also valuable. However, for the moment, this will not impact my teaching because the mechanics of doing so are too cumbersome.

Dr. Malkin is director of Duke-Engineering World Health, and has served on the executive board of the World Health Organization