Today’s post is taken from a short interview with several OU students concerning technology in and out of the classroom. The student panel consists of Guy, a graduate student in the Master’s of Health Admin program, Ariel, a University College freshman, Rebekah, a senior Interior Design major, and Jawanza Bassue, a senior in the College of Engineering.

What’s the best way to communicate with you outside of the classroom?

Jawanza – I still believe a properly formatted email is the best way to communicate outside of class. I see email as being a more “official” means of communication and I tend to pay attention when a University organization contacts me in that way.

Rebekah – Either on my cell phone or via email. I always have my phone with me so I can easily check both at the same time.

Guy – Phone or email works fine.

Ariel – Email has to be one of the best ways we can communicate with our professors.

What’s one technology a professor has used in class that has enhanced your learning experience?

Guy – As I am currently enrolled in a completely online master’s program with OU, I was initially worried about the level of education I would receive.  While many professors use the discussion boards, one of my professors is actually very involved with it and will regularly go a respond to the students post on questions asking further questions. While this can be tedious for students, it does motivate and push students to think critically and to really reflect on the course material.

Ariel – I have noticed a direct correlation between my grades and how much I interact with the professor. It is also important to interact with the students in my classes. It is easy to make study friends in smaller classrooms, but it tends to be more difficult in the 300-500 student lectures. Thankfully, there is a solution. Dr. Damphouse, my sociology professor, has assigned us to small groups. Every week we have to submit a post on the D2L discussion board and reply to another students post. This makes our 300 student class seem more like a 30 student class.

Jawanza – The use of “clickers” greatly enhanced the experience in a few of my classes. TopHat (www.tophat.com) is a product used in one of my classes that helped to engage the students while providing the professor instant feedback. I have heard of other large classes using the “iClicker” system – a physical keypad to interact in classes.

Rebekah – Using iPads in class are really effective. It’s less technology to carry around, it weighs less, and professors actually know how to use them. When the classroom is set up for iPads, it’s easy to go between student and teacher technology use within the classroom because a lot of students use them as well.

Have you taken an online class? Did you enjoy it more or less than a standard format class? Was it easier/harder?

Guy – Yes I am currently enrolled in 9 hours online at the graduate level. I consider it much harder as the student is solely responsible for keeping up with course material, requirements, and course work. Also, I have found not interacting with other students effects my personal motivation in completing work. Currently I have been performing well but in an online class you frequently feel alone and you do not have other student’s to go to for study groups or for reflecting on each others struggles in a particular class.

Jawanza – I have taken online classes – they were helpful and I was able to work at my own pace but they lacked any form of interaction. We typically submitted our homework through D2L, and had a forum discussion about the course material every other day but there was still no energy or engagement in those discussions. Also, the professor couldn’t provide individual feedback because of the bulkiness of the system and large enrollment numbers. I would probably not opt to do another online class of that form.

Rebekah – I have taken online classes in the past and I am currently enrolled in one now. I do not like them as much because I learn better in a classroom but they are convenient with my work and school schedule. Being able to work on the class on my own time is so much more convenient.

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What questions would you like to pose to our next student panel? Leave them in the comments!