15th Symposium on Education


Tablet PC: an educational aid for lecture-based survey meteorology courses

Donna J. Charlevoix, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and S. K. Jackman and T. E. Twine

Many undergraduate survey courses in meteorology or atmospheric science have large enrollments and are taught in a lecture-based format out of necessity. At the University of Illinois, we have introduced the use of a Tablet PC to present lecture material to the Introduction to Meteorology and Severe and Hazardous Weather classes. A Tablet PC is a small PC that allows writing or drawing directly on the screen with a stylus. Tablet PCs allow the professor to annotate imagery and figures and type or write notes in an electronic file, such as PowerPoint. The electronic file can be made available either before class as a template to assist students with taking notes, or after class for review as a fully annotated file with all notes from lecture. The motivation for the Tablet PC was two-fold: to encourage more note-taking during lecture with the use of PowerPoint slides and to provide a mechanism for students to view annotated figures from class when they were reviewing material for homework and exams.

A pilot study was conducted during summer 2005 with a small class offering (18 students) of Severe and Hazardous Weather. Results from the pilot study indicated that students had a positive opinion of the incorporation of Tablet PCs in to the lecture. Students viewed the use of this technology as being beneficial to their comprehending material. They found it an asset when reviewing notes for homework and exams, and also noted that they more actively took notes and were more likely to ask questions that with a traditional PowerPoint lecture.

Fall 2005 will incorporate the use of Tablet PCs into two classes each of the Introduction to Meteorology and Severe and Hazardous Weather courses. The classes will be taught by three different professors, one with extensive experience and two for whom this is the first semester teaching the course. Findings from the large-scale study will be presented at the meeting.

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Session 3, University and Professional Education
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 8:30 AM-12:15 PM, A402

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