The net generation in the classroom

Tags: Central Michigan, technology, touch screen, Reproduction, video screens, classrooms, Richard Parr, classroom building, college, Renny Tatchell, Central Michigan University, Anthony Dugal, Global Telepresence Facility, Anthony Dugal Parr, Marvis J. Lary, SCOTT CARLSON Anthony Dugal, health professions, lecture notes, computer screen, Chronicle George Bottomley, Physical Therapy Services, psychology departments, Health Tech Richard J. Coluzzi, instructional hardware, communication disorders, clinical psychology programs, exercise physiology, research initiatives, Central Atrium, health professions programs, Community Education Network
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February 27, 2004 Volume L, Number 25
A Lesson in Technology In Central Michigan U.'s new $50-million classroom building, the computer hardware alone cost $5-million.
Marvis J. Lary, dean of health professions, at Central Michigan U.
Next-Generation Classroom Professors and students in the health professions program at Central Michigan University are using state-of-the-art technology in their recently completed building to find new ways of teaching and learning
For web posting only. Reproduction or distribution prohibited. The Next-Generation Classroom By SCOTT CARLSON Anthony Dugal for the Chronicle
central michigan university
central michigan university
Central Michigan University's new health-professions building, which opened for classes in January, was designed by the SmithGroup, an architecture firm in Detroit, Mich. The building, which encompasses 175,000 square feet of total space and cost $50-million, features classrooms, laboratories, and a clinical wing for the departments of psychology and communication disorders. The building was designed around what university officials call the ethic of "body, mind, and spirit." Stairways connecting the two levels are emphasized over elevators. Communal spaces with comfortable couches and armchairs are scattered throughout, offering students places to socialize or study in groups. The grounds feature two "healing gardens" (bottom photograph), where people can gather.
Mount Pleasant, Mich. Richard Parr, a professor of exercise physiology at Central Michigan University, describes himself as an "old school" instructor. Until recently, he didn't know much about technology and avoided it in the classroom. Just give him a stick of chalk and a gaggle of students, he says,
and he could expound on any part of the material he had taught for more than 36 years. His perspective changed when he considered the challenge of teaching in Central Michigan's new $50-million classroom building, one of the most technologically advanced in the country. About $5-million of its budget went to
hardware alone. There is no chalk in this building, the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions. Even whiteboards take a back seat to enormous, superhigh-definition video screens. Faced with the prospect of feeling outdated and out of place among tech-savvy students in this swank new space, Mr.
For web posting only. Reproduction or distribution prohibited. All wires lead to Master Control. From here, technicians can record a lecture in any of the classrooms and burn it onto a disk or stream it onto the Internet. The control room can also transmit a video of events in one room to a video screen in another. And if a professor has trouble with the hardware in a classroom, he or she can push a button that alerts staff members in this control room.
Anthony Dugal
Parr instead became an apostle of change. In a wired classroom on a snowy afternoon, he is giving a talk on obesity, throwing PowerPoint slides, documents, and videos up on the big screens. He's wearing a tiny wireless microphone, clipped to his dress shirt. His lecture is being recorded for a set of DVD's he is putting together. If he wanted to, he could pull in a live video of an expert from miles away, or stream his lecture onto the Web. Like other professors at Central Michigan, Mr. Parr has found that teaching in a wired environment requires more preparation and planning, along with old-fashioned teaching experience at the rare times when the technology breaks down. But the professors here seem to have found new energy in their work. Mr. Parr didn't want to go into retirement without taking advantage of the new technology and teaching methods that are growing more prominent in higher education. "I want my last three years to be the most exciting," he says. "I want to go out on top of my game." Warren Arbogast, president of ideaReserve, a consulting company that helped design the building, says its technology is not a glitzy add-on, but is meant to be integrated into the learning process. Central Michigan officials "wanted a building that could take
advantage of teachable moments," he says. "They are letting the academic goals and the pedagogy drive the technology. Everyone talks about doing that, but few really do it." Health Tech Richard J. Coluzzi, a higher-educationtechnology consultant in Glen Burnie, Md., says that over the past 15 years many colleges have barely used the expensive equipment they have installed in classroom buildings. "People were putting in technology just to say they had technology," he says. But in the past three years, as instructional hardware and software alike have improved, "colleges are really starting to embrace technology in teaching." Central Michigan's building, which opened last month, houses the public university's health-professions program. Here the departments of communication disorders, health sciences, Physical Education, physical therapy, and psychology, among others, hold classes, provide faculty offices, and conduct research. Large video screens in many classrooms can project a computer display, a snippet of video, or other media; cameras can capture lectures for later viewing; and microphones and speakers can foster interaction with guest lecturers far away.
Professors can control much of the technology through a simple touch-screen system on a podium. They can even use a digital pen to enter comments over whatever is being projected on the video screens, just like John Madden outlining a play on Monday Night Football. Other rooms include state-of-the-art laboratories, outfitted with digital cameras, along with observation rooms and holding pens for animal experiments; clinical wings for the communication-disorders and psychology departments; and a nearly completed virtual-reality room, where professors can study body movement and mechanics. All of the rooms feed into the building's technological nerve center, called Master Control. From this room, technicians can record lectures and save them on tape, burn them onto disks, or send them out over the Internet. More Teachable Moments? Marvis J. Lary, dean of the college, plans to use the new building to raise the visibility of her programs. She says professors want to collaborate with colleagues at institutions in Italy and France, sending videos of lectures overseas. She also hopes that the college's technological advances will help it win government grants for homeland-securi-
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ty projects, in which it could send emergency-medical response lessons to hospitals and clinics in the rural areas surrounding Central Michigan University. The building itself can be an object of study as well, she believes, as professors test whether students learn better with the use of technology in the classroom. She has not found any studies confirming that premise, she says: "That's a study we're going to take on here." Mr. Parr, for instance, is tracking how well students do on his exams, which he has left unchanged since his days as a chalkboard lecturer. So far he has found that the technology has neither helped nor hurt the students' learning. He plans to redesign the exams to find out if students are now picking up information that wasn't tested in the past. But his new teaching style has won him better evaluations from students, and he says the technology has helped him better connect with them. "Unanimously, they like what I'm doing," he says. Although the building's hardware and software were designed to be simple enough for even technology-averse professors to use, Central Michigan created a couple of programs to encourage instructors to pick up new skills. First, the college set up a shared server on the campus network, with five gigabytes of space for every professor, enough to hold plenty of lecture slides, PowerPoint presentations, and video clips. Professors can create materials using their office computers, upload the materials to the server, and instantly call them up in the classroom. If a student catches a faculty member in the hall with a question, the professor can
The $500,000 Global Telepresence Facility is the building's centerpiece. Large video screens can display a range of media simultaneously, whether live or recorded video, the image from a computer screen, or papers in front of a document camera. Cameras can transmit a lecture to another part of the building or to remote locations. Each seat has an Internet-connection port and a microphone.
walk into any of the enhanced classrooms, punch a few buttons on the podium's touch screen, and bring up videos, pictures, lecture notes, or other media from the online library to help illustrate an answer. "The goal is that no matter where you are in the space, you should have access to high-quality material, and it should be as easy as picking hot or cold on a faucet," says Mr. Arbogast, the consultant.
To spur more-Creative Approaches to its new technology, the college chose eight instructors as "champions" and encouraged them to create high-tech projects that could be used in the classrooms. It worked. One participant created a digitally animated guide to the inner ear; another helped make a computer game to teach CPR; another created a reverse-lookup dictionary of American Sign Language. For his project, Renny Tatchell, chair-
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man of the communication-disorders department, created a database of 1,000 photographs of dissected human heads, necks, and chests. The photos were input from slides that he had shot in laboratories over the years. In his office or in the classroom, Mr. Tatchell can at a moment's notice bring up pictures to show students the parts of the body that might be affected by, say, lung cancer. "To have ready access to this databank is an extraordinary tool for
teaching and learning," he says. "There is a secure feeling in having all of this stuff at your fingertips. That's not possible in other parts of the university." s
Anthony Dugal for the Chronicle The technology in the building was designed to be easy to use. By pushing a few buttons on this touch screen, an instructor can control the displays on the large video monitors, dim the lights, pan the room's cameras, or operate a DVD player.
For web posting only. Reproduction or distribution prohibited. Photographs by Anthony Dugal for the Chronicle George Bottomley (above, center), director of the physician-assistant program, instructs students as they try to "revive" SimMan, a simulated disaster victim. A camera records the scene and sends the images to the screen behind the students. It's difficult to get more than six people around the SimMan at one time, Dr. Bottomley says, but the camera can stream live video of the goings-on to a classroom full of people, and beyond. "We have thought about having lectures here and having that transmitted to hospitals and clinics in other areas," he says. Renny Tatchell, chairman of the communication-disorders department, digitized 1,000 pictures of the human anatomy and loaded them onto a server. Now, by pressing a few buttons, he can display the pictures in any classroom at any time to add graphic detail to a lecture. Here he stands in one of the building's lesser-equipped classrooms, which feature digital-video projectors instead of high- definition video screens. As in the building's more-advanced classrooms, though, instructors in this room have access to a range of multimedia equipment through a touch screen at the podium.
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Richard Parr, a professor of exercise physiology, went from what he calls an old-fashioned teaching style to lectures that incorporate multimedia. Here he uses a digital pen to highlight details in the video presentation behind him. This classroom also has cameras, and some professors train the devices on students in class, an inconspicuous way to keep an eye on those who have a tendency to goof around or nod off. Professors can also push a "privacy" button, which blocks all video and audio feeds going out of the room. Reprinted with permission from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume L, Number 25, February 27, 2004 by The Reprint Dept., 1-800-259-0470. For subscription information go to or call 1-800-728-2803.
New building features clinical, instructional, and research wings The three major components of CMU's health professions programs ­ clinical, instructional, and research ­ occupy separate rectangular wings located on either side of a single east-west Central Atrium that runs through the Health Professions Building. A pair of enclosed courtyards augments the rehabilitative qualities of the university's health professions programs. Faculty and Administrative Offices Classrooms Laboratories Clinics
First floor Central Atrium
Second floor Central Atrium
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The CMU Health Professions Building
An advanced center for learning, service, and research Central Michigan University's new Health Professions Building brings together CMU's health professions, neuroscience, and clinical psychology programs and many associated research initiatives and outreach services into one technologically advanced environment that promotes learning, patient care, collaboration, and discovery. Patient services and research initiatives in the Health Professions Building touch many lives. · The Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education brings together in one multidisciplinary clinic CMU's Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinics; the Psychological Training and Consultation Center; and Physical Therapy Services. · The Brain Research and Integrative Neuroscience Center researches treatment strategies, pharmacological interventions, gene therapy, and stem cell transplantation techniques for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's. · The Rural Telehealth and Community Education Network (RTCEN) provides health care information and services to targeted underserved rural communities.
Health Professions Building programs Central Michigan University's Health Professions Building houses a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in five broad discipline areas: Communication Disorders Audiology Communication Disorders Speech-Language Pathology Psychology Clinical Psychology Neuroscience Physical Education Athletic Coaching Athletic Training/sports medicine Physical Education Teaching Special Physical Education Teaching Sport Administration Sport Studies Health Sciences Exercise Science Health Administration Health Fitness in Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs Health Promotion and Program Management Personal and Community Health Public Health Education and Health Promotion School Health Education Substance Abuse Education Rehabilitation and Medical Sciences Physical Therapy Physician Assistant
Central Michigan University Central Michigan University enrolls more than 28,000 students and is ranked as the 43rd largest four-year public university in the nation. CMU offers more than 200 programs at the bachelor's, master's, specialist's, and doctoral levels at the university's main campus in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and through the College of Extended Learning, which offers distance-learning programs online and at more than 60 centers throughout Michigan and across North America. As a modern doctoral/research-intensive university, CMU supports significant faculty and student research, scholarship, and creative work. The university's more than 150,000 alumni include leaders in education, the arts, government, the military, and the private sector. For information about CMU's health care programs contact: (989) 774-1850 [email protected]

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