83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 2:15 PM
Assessing the value of multimedia to learning in survey-level atmospheric science courses
Perry Samson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Figure 1. Example of multimedia activity used to aid exploration of relationship between temperature, dew point, relative humidity, vapor pressure and saturation vapor pressure.
One of the challenges for faculty in deciding whether to invest their time and energy in multimedia supplements has been the lack of evidence that these products significantly aid learning. To explore the value of supplements in a survey-level course students in AOSS 202 (http://www.engin.umich.edu/class/aoss202/) have been asked to complete a questionnaire after each assignment utilizing multimedia applications. These assessments, compiled over a three year period, suggest that 1) such supplements can play a significant and useful role in aiding student understanding and 2) the value of the supplement can be enhanced through some simple rules. Students' self-assessment indicates improvement in their confidence in understanding relatively complex issues through manipulable multimedia tools. Moreover, their confidence is especially enhanced when the multimedia is first demonstrated in class prior to their out-of-class assignment. Surprisingly, presentation of the supporting concepts prior to the assignment was less influential in student understanding than was a clear introduction of how to use the tool, suggesting that learning through discovery was at least as important as formal presentation.

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