to develop a suite of web-based multimedia tools for the purpose of instruction in this course in Fall term 1998; and to create both a pedagogical model and scalable courseware templates applicable to other courses in the sciences and elsewhere.
Some of that looks a little grandiose now.
Some of my intentions have worked out reasonably well: the slide management tool really IS useful (though not without its problems), the course itself certainly has proved to be interesting to me, I have a better idea of what students actually do (and don't do), and the mechanics of being an adjunct have been pretty smooth --in that I've managed the web site and the course folder reasonably efficiently (posting stuff when Larry wanted it posted, adding my own extensions and commentary). It's certainly been useful to go through the exercise of trying to integrate Novell network stuff, Netscape's web page editing capabilities, interlinked Microsoft applications, PhotoShop, and home-brewed cgi-bin stuff.
But my overall sense is really ?so what? --in terms of the intention to change the way students interact with the course and ancillary materials. They'll look at them if they need to, but they don't check the page to see what cool things there might be (and it's silly to think that they would), so it's not a marvelous new dimension. They do what they're told. IS there any way to change that? Seems to me the only possibility is a much more elaborate integration of web-into-course, of the sort I'm scheming for the technology course.
The Java applet idea (interactive models promoting understanding of dynamic concepts) is cool, but relies too heavily on outside expertise (since I don't do Java, and Larry doesn't do Java...) and there's still the question of how to get people to make use of and generate benefit from --which means back to some sort of carrot/stick paradigm.
Can we arrive at any overall sense of what this says about "New Technologies for Teaching Science", or Teaching period?
How much of teaching is an information problem, for teacher and student? And what can electronic information technologies actually do to support and extend traditional methods and procedures?