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September 1999, Week 3


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Thu, 16 Sep 1999 13:26:03 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (53 lines)
Working back through my email backlog, I'm prompted to reply to another
point raised by Jeremy:

> I need a textbook that students can bring to a computer-less classroom with
> them.  I want to be able to say, "Turn to page 237.  Who can explain what
> Bordwell and Thompson mean by 'mise-en-scene'?  Can anyone apply that to
> the film we just saw?"
> Beyond the question of whether students can stand to read dozens of pages
> of on-screen text in preparation for class, text on a monitor just does not
> work for me in-class.  I've taught in computer labs for the past four years
> and trying to lead a discussion while students stare at computer monitors
> is a disaster.

I agree that trying to lead an actual verbal discussion in the computer
lab is a trying task, at best.  I think, though, that CD-ROMs or
web-based formats have more classroom-based potential in at least 2

1) using a projected computer image in a more traditional class setting
(eg., lecture hall) where CD-ROM pages and images can be displayed on a
large screen while you lecture or lead discusion.  My student are
reluctant to schlep textbooks around with them (except on test days!)
and are increasingly unable or reluctant to take notes while also
paying attention to lecture or discussion.  Multi-media formats and
backups for the classroom seem to help.

2) using web or e-mail based class discussion groups for commentary on
textbook material (not unlike having an e-mail discussion list like
SCREEN-L!).  I have had mixed results with that kind of thing, but it's
more my fault than the technology's and I expect to continue to develop
such formats.  Students ought to be able to multi-task by reading
CD-ROMS, websites, or whatever, and then commenting via e-mail.  That
kind of "discussion" could be framed by class requirements for
participation and free actual class time for other uses.  It too could
easily be applied to distance learning.

Others with far more expertise than my own feeble experiments can (I
hope) comment on how far-fetched my thinking is!

Don Larsson

Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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