John C. Matthews
University of Mississippi
Prep Time:3 hours per classroom session
Classroom Time:50 minutes
The following is excerpted from my paper with the title below that will appear in the Winter 1998 issue of "The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education"--"Intermeshing passive and active learning strategies in teaching biochemistry".
Case studies and student presentations to the class were intermeshed with lectures and demonstrations into a three semester hour, required biochemistry course in the first professional year of the entry level Pharm. D. curriculum. The resulting course structure, made possible in part through the use of computer-assisted lecture presentations and lecture handouts, combined the high efficiency of information transfer of the lecture format with the high effectiveness of more active learning formats. This approach increased the motivation of the students to learn the material by helping them to see the relevance of biochemistry to the practice of pharmacy. Simultaneously, it made assimilation of the mass of information embodied in the course more manageable. In 1996, using Persuasion® software (Aldus Corp., South Seattle, WA), computer-assisted lecture materials were developed for the entire course. Preparation of these materials required approximately three hours for each 50 minute lecture. The computer presentations had illustrations and animations interspersed with text. The text portions served as a detailed outline of the lecture material. The ability to animate is the single most important advantage that computer-assisted presentations brought to the lecture format. By illustrating many of the more difficult concepts of biochemistry with animation it was possible to make these concepts more easy for the students to grasp and retain. One advantage of computer animation is that the instructor can develop course specific animations for the many concepts for which no commercial products are available, and for which there is little expectation that anything will become available in the foreseeable future. Certainly, no other medium allows generation of lecture-related animations in a typically equipped faculty office. Persuasion® software is a presentation package that permits the user to develop and display text slides and graphics. Other presentation software packages, e.g. Powerpoint® (Microsoft Corp., Redmond , WA), have similar capabilities. Several slide backgrounds are provided, and the user can develop customized backgrounds. A 256-color drawing pallet is incorporated, and photographs, graphics, short video clips, music, or narratives, in addition to text can be added to the presentation. The author has found that the rather limited animation capabilities of Persuasion® software can be greatly extended by creative use of the layering feature.
Link to an animated sequence created by Dr. Matthews for his Biochemistry course
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