Friday, April 13, 2007

Virtual Mathematics - Online JHU Summer Courses

Last year, the Mathematics Department designed and implemented an online version of our first semester freshman Calculus course (110.108 Calculus I). This was a collaborative effort of a group of us in the department, and funded in part by a mini-grant from the Center for Educational Resources here on campus. Administered by two of our graduate students, Siddique Khan and Brian MacDonald, the course ran for 8 weeks to 10 students.

The philosophy of the course offering centered around two fundamental principles:
  1. The course shall sacrifice nothing, both in content and in implementation, from the standard in-class, lecture-based version of the course (which ran concurrently).

  2. The course will feature live, online lecturing, as well as live recitation sessions, as a core part of the instruction.

The implementation of such an endeavor was facilitated by a software package called Elluminate Live! (ELive!), a virtual classroom environment that features (screen shot at right):

  • an online virtual whiteboard which acts like a chalkboard.

  • streamin audio,

  • powerpoint-style slides that can be superimposed on the shiteboard and written over,

  • Classroom attendence moderation,

  • full student interaction including notification of a "raised hand", side chatroom (fully monitored by the instructor, voice and/or whiteboard enabling for each students or students,

  • full recording of live sessions for post lecture viewing/reviewing, with time stamps for accompanying notes.

The results were excellent, and this summer we are offering four of our courses in this format (as well as accompanying in-class versions). I can provide tons more information is anyone is interested.

Thought I would throw this out there. Cheers....


Anonymous said...

are any classes currently being offered? I'm think online might be best, but only at the moment. Can you transfer credits?

Richard Brown said...

Yes, currently, we offer 4 courses. You can view the schedule here.

We will offer these course next year also, at around the same time.

And these credits do transfer well, as the online versions of the courses are designed to be exactly what is taught in the in-class version.

Hope this helps.