June 12, 2007
Innovator Profile: Prof. Norman T. Deutsch
Darlene Carillo at Albany Law School passed along the following:
For the past several years Albany Law School Professor Norman T. Deutsch has been experimenting with use of laptop computers as an integral part of classroom teaching in his Contracts and Constitutional law classes. The IT department at the law school set up a system whereby students with laptop computers can respond to Professor Deutsch's questions and hypos during class. Two web pages have been posted, one for the professor and one for the students. Students fill out a form and submit their responses. The responses, along with the students' names, appear on page that only the professor can view. He can then select one or more of these responses to be projected (anonymously) on a large screen for discussion and critique. This system permits more students to actively participate, gives the professor the opportunity to provide feedback to more students, and requires students to respond in writing. Professor Deutsch is able to acknowledge good answers, and pursue, through questioning, responses that demonstrate a misunderstanding of the assigned material or a lack of analytical skill. This often results in a number of different points being discussed at once, but it does increase the number of students actively involved in the class and hopefully, as a result, help students reach the professor's course goals of thinking analytically about the legal materials they have read and expressing these analyses and conclusions in coherent sentences and paragraphs. In fact, one student responded on survey: "The online form system has been a good way to answer questions in an efficient manner. This, coupled with the projector, has been a great learning tool, not only for answering questions, but also for working out good, "exam-style" answers."
If you know of an innovator, send me an email at Mark_W_Osler@Baylor.edu.
-- Mark Osler