Switching from a Traditional to a Computer-Based Format for Introductory Geoscience Lectures

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Journal of Geoscience Education






A common technique used in introductory geoscience courses is to display one's lecture notes with an overhead projector, interspersed with color transparencies of textbook figures. The problem with this format is that publishers provide transparencies for only a fraction of the textbook figures. Furthermore, each time lecture notes are updated, a new set of transparencies must be made of the lecture outline. By switching to a computer-based format, instructors can insert any textbook figure into the outline, and these materials can easily be updated. The equipment needed for this method is a computer, a scanner, and a liquid-crystal display (LCD) projector.

Depending upon their style, instructors can choose either presentation or word-processing software to embed scanned textbook figures within the lecture outline. Because many instructors are familiar with word-processing software, the selection of such software simplifies the process of switching to a computer-based format. Although the scanning of figures is relatively simple, one should experiment to determine the optimum file format and scanning resolution for a particular system. Student feedback indicates that they find it helpful to have a greater number of visual examples interspersed within the lecture outline. For an instructor, the computer-based lecture makes it easy to update and reorganize one's lecture material.


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