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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

CALS offers Dean's Lectures

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 09 - October 19, 1995

Virginia Tech's College of Arts and Sciences will offer a look at new approaches in educational technology in its annual Dean's Lecture Series Wednesday, Oct. 25.

For the first time since the series began in 1989, more than one faculty member will speak. Ken Hannsgen and Terri Bourdon of mathematics, James Sochinski of music, Mary Beth Oliver of communication studies, and Margaret Downs-Gamble of English will provide a brief look at the way they use multimedia technology in the classroom and its effects on student learning and professor work load. The panelists then will answer questions from the public.

The Dean's Lecture Series was initiated in 1989 as part of the college's 25th anniversary. Each year, an outstanding member or outstanding members of the college faculty are selected by a committee and the dean to present a public lecture on a topic of general interest.

In music, Sochinski will demonstrate the way he has used HyperCard to present a music score flowing across a projection screen in front of the class exactly at the time the music pours forth from a large console.

Analytical graphics and progressive disclosure techniques emphasize points of instruction, and he can stop the audio and visuals at any point and pick up at another stanza with a touch of the computer keys. He can play the closing theme, then skip back to the place it was first introduced, with the score keeping pace on the screen.

In mathematics, Hannsgen will show what can be accomplished using the computer program Mathematica. A combination of computer algebra and graphics helps students make the connections between theory and the physical world in a classical problem about volumes and a modern problem on water pollution.

Bourdon uses new technology to produce illustrated graphics and animation to teach calculus. She will show the lecture audience an example in which the motion of a particle can be discussed graphically and then presented physically.

In English, Downs-Gamble is testing a course in the Local Area Network Daedalus classroom that will eventually allow her students to do an entire research paper online. The students will carry on conversations with each other and the teacher by computer, share the progress of their work, comment on each other's works, interview experts in their area of research, and revise by computer. During the lecture talk, she will demonstrate the Daedalus integrated writing environment used in the class and will also talk about learning literature on the Internet, thereby removing "the walls of the university." She will emphasize what's happening in research and writing.

Oliver, who teaches in communication studies, teaches a course "on-line" to selected students who accessed material using the World Wide Web/Home Page format, participated in WebChat sessions in which they could have real-time discussions with each other and the professor, and viewed multimedia lecture packages. They also met as a class periodically. Oliver will talk about the results of a class in which students meet more often electronically than physically.

The Dean's Lecture Series is open to the public at no charge. For more information, call the Dean's Office at 1-5421.