Reaching students in large classes with a tablet PC

Connel Fullenkamp,  Associate Professor of the Practice,  Economics

Connel teaches ECON 51D, Economic Principles, a very large class held in Griffith Theater in the Bryan Center.  Connel uses a tablet PC so that he can sketch and create notes while he is lecturing.  By creating lecture notes dynamically, he is able to quickly respond to student concerns and be interactive. After his lecture, students can download the notes as PDF documents from the Blackboard course site. The image below shows a portion of these notes.  In addition, both the notes and his lecture are saved using DukeCapture, which produces both streaming and downloadable files with audio and video for his students to review.  Students can select the media that best suits their needs.

Connel wondered whether posting these recordings & annotated slides would impact attendance in the class; attendance has not decreased and he is no longer concerned about this issue.  Students have responded very favorably; some have said that they watch after lecture even if they attend because they’re so busy taking notes they miss side comments which end up being important. Others have said that they find being in lectures distracting and are better able to focus on the content outside of the large lecture setting.  DukeCapture reports that lectures have 100 hits each.

Connel enjoys using a tablet PC in his teaching.  He prefers the slate-type, without a keyboard, because it is light and easy to set up. He likes using Windows Journal, because he can use a range of ink colors (and create his own for best projection), and the graph paper background assists him in drawing legible graphs during class. He uses Windows Journal on the tablet PC to produce grading rubrics for his TAs, and to quickly create sample solutions for TAs to grade student work.

see a short video from Connel’s class

Connel began by borrowing a tablet PC from the Duke Digital Initiative, and now his infectious enthusiasm has encouraged other instructors in Economics to teach with tablet PCs.

Watch a demonstration of Windows Journal on YouTube