NYU's Information Technology department works with faculty to provide supplemental course materials in the form of instructional videos and animations that help students learn difficult subjects, online tools and games that make learning more interactive, and exercises that facilitate instructional assessment.
Media tools such as videos and animations can help instructors illustrate difficult topics.
NYU faculty member John Di Bartolo worked with instructional technologists to create a series of animations illustrating topics in Newtonian mechanics for an undergraduate physics course. His goal was to explain complex physics concepts with animated illustrations. These animations were integrated into slideshow presentations used in class, and then followed by collective problem solving and peer-to-peer teaching in the classroom.
Google Chrome users click twice to play video.
Two resources for statistics study highlight some of our recent work on scaled resources. The R project is an online learning tool that teaches students statistical concepts while analyzing, comparing, and visualizing their own data. It combines textbook and statistical analysis using a statistical tool called R. The Wagner Statistics Online Resource is a “pre-fresher” that uses courses, videos, and visualizations to help students review important material.
In a step-by-step sequence, students learn statistics and the world's most widely used open-source statistical software, R. As they begin to master concepts and become proficient in R, students transition from the more simple graphical interface to the more widely deployed R interfaces. This online learning tool combines static and live statistical analysis into one platform.
View the R Project site
Wagner Statistics Online allows students to review the basic concepts of Statistics I through interactive lessons, videos, a media library, and a robust list of additional resources. Students refresh their knowledge of concepts as a preparation for the next higher level course or to decide whether they should waiver Wagner’s Statistics I requirement.
Visit Wagner Statistics Online (requires login)
Building assessment exercises into a course from the beginning can help faculty evaluate student comprehension as a course progresses.
NYU College of Dentistry professor Dr. Marci Levine worked with instructional technologists to help redefine course goals, learning objectives, and outcome measures for students of her 300-person introductory course. In past iterations of the course, students never had an opportunity to practice; they just sat, watched, and listened to each two-hour lecture. The course’s assessment redesign created opportunities for interaction, and collected data on student performance to measure learning gains, as well as aim for future course improvements.
Read more about assessment techniques used in this course
Instructional technologists worked with instructors to develop an online platform called the Multimedia Interactive Case Study (MICS). MICS was designed using NYU’s Web Publishing tool, and allows professors to combine in-person instruction with digital modules that encourage interaction.
Some subjects defy easy explanation. For “Quarks to Cosmos,” the challenge involved was complex, even if the point faculty needed to illustrate was simple. In this case, the topic was the parallax effect, and how it can be used to measure distance on a cosmic scale. This visual effect cannot easily be described with words, and because of the vast distances involved, it cannot be easily demonstrated in the classroom.
To highlight the concept, TLT created a short interactive module that not only allows students to see the effect in action, but also allows them to modify the distances and properties of the celestial bodies involved. They can then walk through the process themselves instead of merely observing it.
View online example.
The tool delivers video interviews with the project's stakeholders, data analysis, and visualization tools, along with external resources such as research manuscripts, news articles, and historical images. This combination of multimedia resources, skill-building tools, and real-life context helps students understand clearly the analysis and decision making necessary in a myriad of politically-charged contexts.
Read more about interactive learning resources