Unique Solutions Using Learning Objects
Mohammed Tafti, Professor of Information Technology and Quantitative Methods in the School of Business had a unique problem in terms of teaching a concept in his class. According to him, the undergraduate students in his classes always have a hard time understanding the difference between “absolute” and “relative” values in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
Adeel and Dr. Tafti met and after a little bit of brain storming they came up with an idea of developing an animated video and explain the concept by using the idea of a hotel to represent the an Excel spreadsheet and rooms in the hotel to represent cells. The animation had to be very simple and interesting so that undergraduate students can grasp the concept quickly and don’t lose interest while watching.
Adeel developed a Flash learning object and incorporated two characters, one playing basketball in the hotel and one who was lost, and trying to find his friend in a particular hotel room. An epic journey ensues as our lost soul follows relative directions (or values) only to realize he and the basketball player were staring from different points. He follows the instructions again and again, meeting harrowing pitfalls along the way! Finally, a kind helper appears and gives him absolute directions and you’ll have to visit http://hofstrateach.org/test/anim_1.html to see how the story ends.
Learning objects are a unique solution to communicating information in small pieces and what Adeel and Professor Tafti have created can be used year after year to explain to new cohorts of undergraduates just why “relative” and “absolute” are important concepts to keep straight.
Faculty Computing Services is here to help. Come to 215 McEwen Hall and talk to one of our staff members about creating a learning object to teach your unique concept. We may be able to help you find an existing learning object at an archive like http://www.merlot.org or we may be able to help you build one.