Why did you decide to incorporate OneNote in your teaching?
I participated in a research study at Baruch College, where I was teaching last year, in which we used Tablet PC’s in teaching a PreCalculus course. We received faculty development training from another instructor who already had experience using OneNote (or Windows Journal, a similar software) in the classroom. After seeing his examples & demonstration, I was excited to try implementing it myself.
How has OneNote changed the way you deliver learning content to your students?
There are three main benefits I’ve found with OneNote so far: incorporation of pdf or other text, incorporation of calculator screen shots, and having a saved record of the class notes. When working on word problems or a large data set (anything that would take a long time to write out on the board), it has been a real advantage to be able to have it pretyped in OneNote before class (or pasted in from an existing document). This saves time in class, and I particularly enjoy the ability to handwrite over pdf text/images in order to underline/color code/highlight/etc various parts of a word problem as we practice translating the sentences into mathematical expressions. Using a calculator emulator software allows me to project an image of the full body of a TI-83 or TI-89 calculator (so students can follow along through the various menu options & buttons to press in setting up a problem) and then a screen shot can be taken of the final result (such as a graphed function) and that screen shot pasted into OneNote, and again written on top of in order to highlight various key features of the graph. The final benefit of all of these features put together is the ability to save each day’s work as a pdf file, which I then post on blackboard for students’ access throughout the semester.
How do you employ OneNote in conjunction with Blackboard?
Each day’s class notes are posted on Blackboard immediately after class, and serve as a resource for students when working on homework, reviewing for exam, or in case of an unavoidable absence. Although I don’t use it this way right now, OneNote could also be used to write up answer keys for quizzes, tests, or homework problems (in math, it is often much easier to hand write than type).
How have you measured the success of OneNote in your teaching? What feedback have you received from students?
As part of the research project at Baruch, we surveyed students for their opinion on the use of the Tablet PC’s in class and to get a sense of how much they were using the resources from Blackboard outside of class. Overall the feedback was quite positive. Students commented that they liked that by using the screens instead of whiteboards instructors no longer had their backs to students as much, no longer stood blocking parts of the board while writing, and that with OneNote any prior text was still saved rather than being erased when the board was full. I do think that student reactions depend on a few variables, though, not least of which is the physical set up of the classroom (e.g. in a very large room if the screen is front and center it is easier to see than if it is off in a corner). One other thing I am interested in evaluating is how student responses compare when the course also uses an online homework system (as I did at Baruch, and likely will in upcoming semesters at SHU, but am not currently doing).
Would you recommend using OneNote to your colleagues? Why or why not?
Yes! Particularly in math courses where the ability to hand write expressions and symbols saves a great deal of time and effort, but also for other disciplines.