University of Wisconsin–Madison

February 2018 U-CLASS: Hi-Tech Treasure or Digital Disaster? 

The February 26, 2018 U-CLaSS chat topic was Hi-Tech Treasure or Digital Disaster?  Student Perspectives on Teaching & Learning with Technology. Students spoke appreciatively of the simple format of Canvas and the move to a single Learning Management System. Several mentioned that working with their peers on solving difficult problems in Piazza was a great way to learn and to prepare for tests. Many agreed on the benefit of using apps such as Quizlet to create flashcards for themselves and fellow students. Social Learning was also highlighted through collaborative note-taking in Google Docs. TopHat got mixed reviews with some praising it for increasing engagement in classes, and others upset at its cost, the distraction of having a phone on, and the need to have a charged device to participate.

What makes for a great classroom experience!

  • Opportunities to participate
  • Classroom is inclusive
  • Content is relevant and applicable
  • Regular feedback
  • Getting course feedback from students during the semester
  • Course and course work is presented efficiently (organized)
  • Opportunities for hands-on experience with the content
  • Content includes real-world examples

Traits of instructors in the great classroom:

  • Energetic
  • Open-minded
  • Respectful
  • Creative
  • Thought provoking
  • Casual
  • Caring
  • They realize that students aren’t experts

Things that do not make for a great classroom experience:

  • Overpriced textbooks
  • Pacing, (too slow or too fast)
  • Hard to read pdf’s and other scanned material
  • Power points that are not updated
  • Exams that are not appropriate for course content
  • Oversharing of personal information

Instructor traits:

  • Judgmental
  • Boring
  • Outdated
  • Disinterested
  • Stale

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