Can Universities Use Data to Fix What Ails the Lecture?

August 12, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 11th, 2014

ohn R. Barker paces the front of the lecture hall, gesturing at slides with a laser pointer and explaining to a room full of undergraduates how scientists use data to make predictions about global climate change.

At the moment Mr. Barker, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Michigan, is facing a climate crisis of his own: The atmosphere in this lecture hall is dead.

The students are supposed to be following along with the slides on their computers while taking notes using a program called LectureTools. It was designed to collect data on how students are reacting to lectures—in theory, giving professors a window into what is going on in the heads of their students.

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