Steven Wolfman, University of British Columbia

Profile Photo of Steven Wolfman

Computer Science Lecturer Vancouver, British Columbia wolf@cs.ubc.ca Office: (604) 822-0407

Bio/Research

I'm currently investigating educational technology. My interest is in creating technologies for education that support a collaborative, student-directed learning environment, targetting the most challenging educational venues: e.g., large or distributed classes.

Technology has long held ...


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Bio/Research

I'm currently investigating educational technology. My interest is in creating technologies for education that support a collaborative, student-directed learning environment, targetting the most challenging educational venues: e.g., large or distributed classes.

Technology has long held the promise of distributing the learning process allowing centralized instructional resources (teachers, curricular materials, hardware, labs, etc.) to reach out to a broad student base under resource constraints due to geography, time commitments, or financial resources. Unfortunately, the "clasroom" environments that develop in current distance-learning scenarios often reflect (even more severely) the problems inherent in large, service courses: impersonal instruction, lack of direct student control over material, and slow or low-quality feedback.

An excellent lecturer is supposed to be able to gauge her students' understanding as the lecture progresses and adapt her presentation to suit their needs. Realistically, however, it is extremely difficult to gauge the comprehension of a large class as a whole during a lecture, even using active learning techniques such as Cross and Angelo's Classroom Assessment Tools (CATs) [Cross, 1993]. Students feel pressured not to speak by the size of the class and their previous experiences in large classes often reinforces this hesitation.

My research project is to develop and study systems to address these problems. We have developed Classroom Presenter, a presentation system that enhances instructors' flexibility in giving presentations by allowing writing, easy navigation through a presentation, and untethered movement about the classroom. Classroom Presenter forms the basis for two more systems: the Classroom Feedback System, in which each student uses a laptop or tablet PC to annotate lecture slides with feedback for the instructor, and the Structured Interaction Presentation system, in which an instructor can build interactive exercises into a presentation in much the same way that she would normally design passive PowerPoint content.



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