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Vol 39  No 4
Oct. 12, 2006



In Brief

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Multimedia courses
grabbing students’ attention

by Kristine Hamlyn

Dr. Brent Snook’s multimedia course material includes a simulation of his own arrest.

Dr. Brent Snook, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, is making the world of forensic psychology available to a wider spectrum of inquisitive minds this fall, adding a distance section to his ever popular Psychology 2150 course. Currently, Dr. Snook has over 200 students enrolled in the course’s on-campus section and has attracted an additional 80 via the new web-based version.

Dedicated to inspiring his students to learn, Dr. Snook believes in presenting material in an educational yet engaging way. He relied on Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) to help him achieve this goal. DELT’s Albert Johnson, instructional designer, and Brian Cahill, producer, were two key players in the process.

“Traditionally, video, audio and animations have been used to convey content through video lectures, demonstrations, or instructive animations,” said Mr. Cahill. “The video in this course is unique in that it has been used to provide authentic settings where students are asked to make decisions about the situations that they are witnessing.”

Dr. Snook has incorporated at least 12 multimedia components into the web-based course, each of them created specifically for Psychology 2150. Students participate in jury selection exercises, eyewitness recall and recognition, detecting deception and more. Dr. Snook even appears as himself in many of the multimedia components and goes so far as to simulate being arrested in the course introduction where the students’ first impressions of him are formed by shady surroundings, a ski mask and a dark hooded sweatshirt.

“I want students to get involved in the course by taking on the roles of participants such as police officers, jury members and judges. This way they get to experience what it’s like to make many of the decisions that must be made in the legal system,” he said.

Dr. Snook said the learning objectives for the distance section are identical to those of the on-campus course. As a result, many of the multimedia elements created for the web version will also be used in the classroom-based lectures.

“DELT pays a great deal of attention to the requirements and standards established by the on-campus version and goes to great lengths to ensure that the goals, academic integrity and rigour of the distance version meet, or even exceed, the standards set by the on-campus version,” said Mr. Johnson. “If our work helps an outstanding teacher like Brent provide an even better experience for his/her students, then we’ve had a good day.”

Through DELT, Memorial offers about 300 undergraduate and graduate degree-credit courses from 10 faculties and schools. Other new courses offered via distance this fall include Engineering 2420, German 1000 and Psychology 2810.


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