First year engineering students at Dalhousie University received something extra when they started last year – a BlackBerry PlayBook. Professors took advantage of the new teaching opportunities created when every student is connected.
“Given its ultra portability and power, the PlayBook has given the students the ability to interact with professors at an unprecedented level,” explains Dalhousie Professor George Jarjoura.
Having every student using a PlayBook opened up new ways to teach. Students could follow along with course presentations on their PlayBooks, annotating slides with their own notes. Equally as important, given the size of first-year lectures, was the ability to ask questions and take quizzes electronically, in real time.
“For some first year students, participation during the question period is very intimidating, especially in large classes with hundreds of students,” says Professor Jarjoura. “With the PlayBooks, students could ask questions, submit answers and interact with me in real time, as I lecture.”
The initial pilot year was considered a success and Dalhousie is planning to continue experimenting with instruction using PlayBooks.
“Students told me that they quite liked having e-books and notes together – and that they could attend and participate in my lectures from wherever they were,” says Professor Jarjoura. “The success and popularity of the program means we’re eager to continue.”
For further information, see the article on page 10 of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Engineering Winter 2013 newsletter.