Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions... and Unbought Stuffed Dogs

"In return, the heart say France's Jews suddenly stand up and blood flows or falls down to your feet and less returns your heart for few beats. You suddenly have an abrupt increase a lie down and blood slut rushes into the heart."

No, that wasn't a direct quote from an email in my spam folder advertising free \/IAGRA. That was actually supposedly a direct quote from my physiology class.

You see, many professors always try to stay on the cutting edge. I guess some, like my Evolutionary Bio teacher isn't (last time I visited him he was typing away on his typewriter). Some, however, are always switching things up, trying to find the most effective way to teach. The survey is still out on some of these methods, such as in my Physiology class.

It is a pretty good class, and I like attending it. The teacher, however, has tried to harness a little too much of the computer's power. So we've got our normal powerpoint presentation going on on the main screen. Then the teacher brings in a wireless router so we can get wireless in the MARB basement. We also have a TA that has not one, but two laptops. One laptop he uses to get online and answer questions that we can post (if we bring our own laptops) during class on the blackboard discussion groups feature. Then the other laptop is hooked up to a separate projecter which projects on a separate projection screen. This laptop has a couple things open on the screen. The first thing is the polling boxes for our I-Clickers. You see, we get graded on class participation. On every slide we need to click in: A if we get it, B if we are ready to move on, C if we are confused, D if we think the slide is dumb, and E if the teacher made an error. Sometimes these polls are open for a couple slides and so you never really know when they are going to open or close. You always have to be on alert, or just do what I do and randomly click your clicker on a random button so you get the participation points. If you click in on less than 70% of the polls, you don't get your participation points that day. The sad thing is that he only looks at the poll screens about once a week.

But the best part is the rest of the second projector screen. Here is displayed the crowning use of robot power. My professor wears a microphone, but it isn't for amplification. In fact, it isn't amplified. He wears it so that this DragonSpeak box connected to the second TA laptop can receive what he is saying. This little box transcribes what our teacher says on the remaining portion of the second projection screen... or at least it tries to. There is a word document open on this projection screen that is constantly attempting to transcribe the lecture. Maybe this would work if this wasn't a physiology class, but probably not. In fact, I think our teacher spends a lot of time training his little Dragon with all the physiology terms. So the problem really isn't the tough words, its everything in between. In fact, this system works so badly, I believe that you are better off not trying to remember what he just said, than to try to look at the screen and sort it out there.

So yeah, you read pretty funny things on the screen. Anyway, that is my technologically overwhelming class. I need to submit this post before he unplugs the router...


Barney Lund said...

Can you even get any good meat from a dog that is to be stuffed? If not, what a horrible waste.

J. L. A. said...

I totally thought that first quote was something poetic and that your teacher was trying to use historical allusions to illustrate points about physiology.

I thought maybe I just wasn't cut out to understand physiology.

Cindy said...

Oh man, I don't know what I'd do without your blog posts. A little comic relief always brightens one's day!