March 21, 2011

Most students would not ordinarily listen to a class lecture more than once. But, for chemical engineering students enrolled in Professor Krishnaswamy Nandakumar’s ChE 2176 class, recorded lectures and annotated notes are accessible as many times as they need.

As multimedia players, including the Nook and iPad, become more common among students, these technologies will play a more influential role in learning. Repeated listening can help students grasp concepts they may have missed or not understood clearly during class time.

Nandakumar incorporates technology into class lectures to excite as many students as possible. “Research shows that students are the most attentive in the first 10 to 15 minutes of class time,” said Nandakumar. “Some students are self-motivated, while others need additional methods to capture their attention.”

Nandakumar personally invested in a tablet PC and the screen capture software, Camtasia, so that he can record lectures and provide notes with handwritten annotations that he adds during class. His personal interests in technology fuels his dedication to providing these resources to his students.

Nandakumar encourages students to participate in conversation and ask questions rather than worry about taking notes. Together, the class works through problems, and the lecture is guided by the students’ questions. 

“If you miss something in the lecture, you can go back and listen to the recording,” said Drew Scheinuk, sophomore, chemical engineering. Scheinuk uses his iPhone frequently to access the resources that Nandakumar has posted for the students.

Surprisingly, attendance has not decreased in Nandakumar’s class since providing recordings of class lectures and notes. When asked if they appreciated Nandakumar’s efforts, students unanimously agreed that these tools are essential to their success in the class.

“Dr. Kumar also posts supplemental resources and notes if there is something we don’t understand,” said Roshan Pandey, sophomore, chemical engineering.

This semester marks Nandakumar’s third time providing these resources to students at LSU. Before and after each class period, he takes five minutes to set up the equipment and 30 minutes to upload the video to his YouTube channel.

“My students have told me that they appreciate the extra effort,” said Nandakumar.

“It’s simple to provide these types of resources to students. Especially in teaching engineering, I can demonstrate software in class and integrate it into the lecture.”

The benefits of the recorded class lectures and annotated notes are far reaching. Since creating a YouTube channel, Nandakumar has received e-mails from students around the country and the world explaining that they found his lectures useful.

“It’s rewarding for me as a teacher when I create as many moments of ‘ah ha, I get it’ for the students” said Nandakumar. “I can really see when the students get it.”

To visit Dr. Nandakumar’s YouTube channel, click here.

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Cassie Arceneaux, carcen6@lsu.edu



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