by Joe King
Class time has become much more productive, says Marketing Professor Mark Rosenbaum, ever since he ditched old-fashioned lectures.
Actually, Rosenbaum still does plenty of lecturing. However, his students now often access that material online, leaving him free to devote much more class time to discussion of current events and video clips that help illustrate the lesson of the day.
“It has made the class much more engaging,” says Rosenbaum, explaining that by eliminating the constraints that forced him to divide time between lecture, video and discussions all aspects of the class have been enriched.
Helping Rosenbaum offset the cost of the equipment needed to facilitate that change in teaching style is the David W. Raymond Grant.
Created by (and named after) one of the first members of the NIU Board of Trustees, the grant is intended to encourage the incorporation of new technologies in the classroom.
While the software that Rosenbaum employs (Lecture 1-2-3) is free for use by professors, he needed a tablet computer (to write on a virtual chalkboard during lectures) and a video camera (to tape lectures, interviews and more) to make optimal use of the tool. The grant covered the cost of those items, and also could have been used to purchase software, to pay for graduate assistantship time or to cover other costs associated with new technology.
For Rosenbaum, the grant was less about technology and more about finding ways to connect with all sorts of learners.
“The combination of lecture and the videos I incorporate is important because it allows me to present material in ways that are accessible to both visual and auditory learners,” he says. “If you offer a concept and emphasize it with a video, it helps visual learners who are often lost in a standard lecture format. Some people need to see it as well as hear it.”
International students also have benefited from the new approach, telling Rosenbaum that they appreciate the ability to listen to lectures online in a format that allows them to stop as needed so that they can take better notes. Students also can download lectures to their iPods.
The lectures, which Rosenbaum often records days in advance, play online, synchronized with his PowerPoint slides for the day. As students view the lecture, they can stop it at any point and e-mail questions, which arrive with a note letting Rosenbaum know precisely what part of the lecture they were viewing at the time. The questions and answers are then made available for all students to view should they have similar questions.
Currently, Rosenbaum does not post entire classes (lecture, slide, video, etc.) online, but he envisions times when that might be useful.
“If there should ever be a snow day, or a guest speaker pre-empts a regular class, I could certainly post everything online,” he says. Doing so, he says, requires just a few mouse clicks.
While he is just beginning to incorporate Lecture 1-2-3 into the UBIS-310 section that he teaches, Rosenbaum said the early response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I think it’s an incredible program,” he says. “It creates a tremendous amount of flexibility that I would never have without it.”
Proposals for the Raymond Grant should be sent to Grant Review Committee, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, 319 Adams Hall. The deadline is in March.