Published: May 22, 2013

Dr. Robert Buchwald of the Biology department sees in technology the opportunity to reach his students. “Different people learn different ways and it’s very complex material,” he says.  Whenever Buchwald introduces a new process or concept, he gives a verbal description, reviews it with an image pulled from the textbook or Google, and then shows a video or animation from YouTube.

This repetition of material allows all students to grasp the difficult biological concepts that Buchwald teaches.  “It came from a realization during teaching that some ways I was presenting material clicked for some people and didn’t click for others,” Buchwald explains. Buchwald uses the reiteration to cover his bases.

Dr. Robert BuchwaldBuchwald also designs his own website which he uploads to D2L and uses to share lecture slides, videos, relevant pictures, and news. “Then when it comes time for finals, students can go back to the other weeks and pull the slides or watch the movies and use them to study,” Buchwald says.

Utilizing the forum section of D2L, Buchwald has also encouraged dialogue outside the classroom by posting videos or relevant articles for his class to see. “It was a good opportunity to talk about things that were on the periphery of what the main syllabus [was] supposed to be covering but [were] really cool or really interesting.”

Technology has played an important role in how Buchwald teaches his courses. “It’s paramount. I think I couldn’t teach the class without technology because it’s 2013. By not taking advantage of technology, you’re missing out on an important way that people think today, especially students.”  Technology also grants access to materials that were harder to find in the past. “The proliferation of technology has gotten to the point where there is just so many resource out there, and most of them are free, why not take advantage of that?” Buchwald posits.

When new professors are trying out technology, Buchwald says it’s important to know that technology isn’t necessarily difficult, but it can be intimidating. Buchwald points out, however, that one not need learn everything there is to know about technology. “All you need to figure out is your way… How you’re going to use technology.”

While Buchwald reiterated that technology was critical to view certain microscopic processes, videos and slides can’t always replace the experience of being in a lab. “There is still something to be said for touching the real thing,” he says. “It’s just a whole other level of wow.”