Asee peer logo

Use Of Computer Technology In The Classroom

Download Paper |


1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.462.1 - 2.462.11

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

. Session 1630

Use of Computer Technology in the Classroom Hugh Jack Grand Valley State University

1.0 - Introduction

We really don’t NEED computers to teach well. But, when used effectively, computers can be an excellent learning, communication and presentation tool.

I had taught Statics to engineering students at Ryerson Polytechnic University for three years using blackboard methods. In this time a complete set of notes was developed and refined. After moving to Grand Valley State University, I found myself teaching Statics again. To make the course more interesting, I decided to explore some creative teaching methods. Some exploration of departmental resources made it clear that computers would be a good avenue to pursue. Upon examination of the available equipment, it became obvious that it would be possible to make extensive use of computers in teaching. Not only were faculty well equipped, but the student to computer ratio was 5: 1. In the end the course was developed to include extensive computer use in and out of class.

It is my intention to describe my experiences, and make suggestions to other faculty thinking of using computer tools to support their classroom activities.

1.1 - Computer Use In Teaching

It is worth beginning with a quick outline of some computer applications for teaching. I used a majority of these when preparing the computer supported course.

1.1.1 Presentation

At worst you may think of a computer as a replacement for overhead transparencies. Basically we can turn out the lights, turn on the computer and projector, and lecture off the notes on the screen. But, like overheads, this approach requires caution. The dark room encourages drowsiness and the presenter can be tempted to ‘rush’ through the material. Color and motion can be added to stimu- late the audience. We can also present a copy of the materials to the students, and free them from the chore of transcribing the overheads. When well done the effects can be stunning, including ad- hoc experiments in class with simulations, movies, sounds and pictures. The method also allows presentations that are consistent between sections, and relatively error free.

1.1.2 Simulation/experimentation

Concepts and experience can be obtained by software set up to model experiments or situations. One example is simulation software for conceptualization of a manufacturing layout. We can cre- ate a miniature model of a factory with machines, products and sequenced routes. Each machine is given a random distribution of breakdowns and cycle times. The students can see products flow through the factory, change values, reroute work, etc. After some time ‘playing’ they have a grasp

Jack, H. (1997, June), Use Of Computer Technology In The Classroom Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1997 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015