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Classroom 2000 2nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NEW LEARNING TECHNOLOGY An impact case study of the employment of multimedia technology within an Italian University Diploma Course L. Baldini, G. Federici, G. Lenzi, E. Palmisano The BT-Teleform project Objective

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Classroom 2000

2nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NEW LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

An impact case study of the employment of multimedia technology within an Italian University Diploma Course

L. Baldini, G. Federici, G. Lenzi, E. Palmisano


The bt teleform project l.jpg
The BT-Teleform project

Objective

  • testing of didactic experiences by means of multimedia and tele-learning techniques within University diplomas

    3 short modules

    • Environmental lexicon

    • Applied Meteorology

    • The water factory

      each consisting of :

    • 5 hours as self-learning activity with multimedia products specifically made by different project teams

    • 5 hours as tele-learning activity between two University sites


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Operational context of the BT-Teleform project

Universitydiplomas

  • Environment and Resources Engineering, University of Florence (site of Prato)

  • Environment and Resources Engineering, University of Basilicata (site of Matera)

    Courses involved

  • Management of water resources

  • Remote sensing systems

  • Infrastructures and management of water resources


Tele learning equipment l.jpg

Prato (60 seats)

3 ISDN lines with multi-channel concentrator

video and audio signal conversion, compression and decompression

communication matrix

video mixer

audio-video distributor

room monitor

room motorised camera

teacher motorised camera

video visualizer

light system for video pickup

audio diffusion system

local direction system

teacher’s workstation

teacher’s monitor

microphones

Matera (80 seats)

3 ISDN lines with a multi-channel concentrator

video and audio signal conversion, compression and decompression

multichannel video mixer

3 monitors for direction and transmission-reception control

2 motorised cameras

video projector

video visualizer

audio mixer and amplifier

mobile and table microphones

VGA-PAL conversion for PC data transmission

Tele-learning equipment


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IssuesEnvironmental Applied The water

lexicon meteorology factory

Lectures - X X

discussion X X X

exercises X X -

specialistic seminars X - X

case studies - X -

visits - - X

tutoring - - -

individual studying X X X

exams - - -

Components of an University Diploma course


Module 1 environmental lexicon l.jpg
Module 1: Environmental lexicon

Tele-Lessons:

Local site: Prato, remote site: Matera

Three specialised seminars and discussions

CR ROM:

Realised by the University of Florence with “Accademia della Crusca” and external technical support

  • Reference for the analysis of words and terms in the Italian environmental regulations

  • Contents including a set of regulations in a hypertext format

  • Useful as a support for training experiences and for experts in the field (jurists, technicians)


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Module 2: Applied meteorology

Tele-Lessons

Local site: Prato, remote site: Matera

A lecture held by a meteorologist

CD-ROM:

multimedia materials produced by the University of Florence in co-operation with technical experts and a meteorologist

  • Reference for learning the basis of applied meteorology

  • Contents including 10 chapters, case-study analysis and exercises

  • Useful for the comprehension of meteorological phenomena and weather forecasting principles


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Module 3: The water factory

Tele-Lessons

Local site: Matera, remote site: Prato

Demonstration about the functioning of the plant described in the CD ROM

CD ROM

produced by the University of Basilicata in co-operation with a local small enterprise

  • Reference for the description of the water system of Basento-Camastra in Basilicata

  • Contents: dam, water treatment system, water supply

  • Useful for the analysis of an integrated water system and the comprehension of related problems


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The impact on users

Considered aspects:

  • acceptance by students

  • acceptance by teachers


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Teacher’s viewpoint

  • in the traditional course the teacher

    • is conscius of the didactic methodology

    • is able to write didactic material

    • is supported by an assistant (tutor) within direct contact

  • In BT-Teleform the teacher

    • is not conscious of didactic methodology

    • is not able to write by him(her)self didactic material

    • should be supported by

      • multimedia production staff

      • tutor


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The student’s viewpoint

  • In BT-Teleform the student

    • looks at a display

    • should follow a less direct protocol

    • studies also through a multimedia support

  • in the traditional course the student

    • follows the lecture

    • stops the teacher to ask questions

    • studies on notes, books or other material


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The impact on students

  • Technical

    • Technical evaluation of CD-ROM, evaluation of technical aspects of remote lesson

  • Contents

    • Evaluation of contents of CD-ROM, evaluation of contents of remote lecture

  • Didactics

    • Evaluation of learning through CD, fruition of the remote lesson:

      How ? Questionnaire


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The impact on teachers

  • Technical

    • Technical evaluation of the video-conferencing apparatus

  • Didactics

    • Interaction in the classroom and the remote classroom

    • Designing the lecture

    • Directing the realisation of the multimedia support

      How? Structured report


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Prato (local site, 10 respondents)

Technical evaluation:

100% sufficient-good

Contents:

50% less effective with respect to traditional lesson

Interaction and participation:

55% little lost with respect to traditional lessons

45% enough lost

70% fall of attention during the lessons

40% difficulties in asking questions

71% effective methodologies for involving a great number of students from different sites

Matera (remote site, 13 respondents)

Technical evaluation:

46% problems with video

61% scarce quality of didactic material

61% positive judgement on direction

Contents:

85% no difference with ususal teaching

Interaction and participation:

31% uneasiness with the teacher

61% several advantages perceived (easy connection among several sites, etc ..)

46% fall of attention during the lessons

Environmental lexicon: tele-lesson


Applied meteorology tele lesson l.jpg

Prato (local site, 14 respondents)

Technical evaluation:

95% sufficient-good

Contents:

reduced effectiveness due to “cold” environment

Interaction and participation:

50% little lost with respect to traditional lessons

43% enough lost respect to traditional lessons

main problems: fall of attention during the lessons

followed by difficulties in asking questions

and interaction with remote site

Matera (remote site, 14 respondents)

Technical evaluation:

some problems with video

good on the whole

Contents:

no special problems due to previous acquisition by CD-Rom

Interaction and participation:

64% enough lost with respect to traditional teaching

86% fall of attention during the lesson

36% difficulty in concentrating

50% advantages perceived in the use of this technology

Applied meteorology: tele-lesson


The water factory tele lesson l.jpg

Prato (remote site,12 respondents)

Technical evaluation:

generally positive with some problems in reception

different perception of technical problems

58% personal direction preferred

Contents:

73% nothing lost with respect to traditional lesson

27% difficulty in getting immediate explanation by the teacher

Interaction and participation:

42% enough lost respect to traditional lessons

25% much lost respect to traditional lessons

main problems: fall of attention, difficult interaction with local site, difficulty in asking questions

33% advantages perceived in the use of this technology

Matera (local site, 14 respondents)

Technical evaluation:

no special problems

good on the whole

Contents:

effective and adequate

lesson perceived rather like a traditional one

Interaction and participation:

no special notes

The water factory: tele-lesson


Environmental lexicon cd rom l.jpg

Prato (6 respondents)

Layout and functionality:

good on the whole

Contents:

effective and well structured

Didactic effectiveness:

67% good comprehension of the topic

83% CD-Rom more adequate than paper materials

67% reduced effort in learning

Matera (5 respondents)

Layout and functionality:

good on the whole

Contents:

effective and well structured

Didactic effectiveness:

80% positive comprehension of the topic

100% CD-Rom preferred to paper materials

Environmental lexicon: CD-Rom


Applied meteorology cd rom l.jpg

Prato (14 respondents)

Layout and functionality:

good on the whole

Contents:

effective and well structured

well balanced in text and graphics

audio comments greatly appreciated

Didactic effectiveness:

93% sufficient-good comprehension of the topic

71% CD-Rom more adequate than paper materials

50% reduced effort in learning

Matera (15 respondents)

Layout and functionality:

good on the whole

Contents:

good and adequate

45% not well balanced in text and graphics

36% some problems in the acquisition

Didactic effectiveness:

73% good comprehension of the topic

54% paper materials preferred

45% greater effort in learning

Applied Meteorology: CD-Rom


The water factory cd rom l.jpg

Prato (10 respondents)

Layout and functionality:

good on the whole

Contents:

effective and well structured

80% adequate to students’ background

Didactic effectiveness:

positive comprehension of the topic

80% CD-Rom preferred to paper materials

50% reduced effort in learning

Matera (10 respondents)

Layout and functionality:

good on the whole

Contents:

80% effective and well structured

40% not much balance between text and graphics

Didactic effectiveness:

70% positive comprehension of the topic

60% CD-Rom preferred to paper materials

50% less effort in learning

The water factory: CD-Rom


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Comments from teachers

  • Tele-lessons should have been shorter (not more than 2 hours) with prolonged breaks to reduce the risk of attention fall

  • Tele-teaching should have been mixed with local teaching, in order to encourage students’ participation and discussion

  • Preparation of tele-lessons should be particularly accurate and specific didactic materials should be prepared in order to keep students’ attention alive (particularly at the remote site)

  • Teachers should acquire a good management capability of the tele-learning environment, in order to understant technical limits

  • Direction is very important and specifically skilled personnel is required for this purpose

  • Students should have been supplied with a sufficient number of microphones to make questions easier to ask

  • Specially trained tutors should be present in remote sites as a reference for students, to help discussion and to manage possible technical interruptions


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Conclusions

  • The BT-Teleform project has proved that videoconferencing and multimedia supports can be an interesting way of managing educational activities in University diploma courses

  • The development of such activities can also improve the co-operation among different Universities and with other training institutions

  • Best results could probably be obtained through a well balanced integration of different learning approaches

  • This type of didactic interventions require specific design skills and teachers should be trained in order to properly interact with such skills