Published: June 10, 2013

Antonio PapuzzaMy students don’t have a good presentation for their group projects. The software they use (powerpoint) does not allow them to do 3 things that I want. My idea is to try a new specialised software that creates charts and graphs.

Description of the challenge:

My students don’t have a good presentation for their group projects. The software they use (powerpoint) does not allow them to do 3 things that I want:

  • to create their own chart and graphs in a way that makes them follow the research steps that I have set up for them
  • to create an engaging presentation for me and the audience
  • to create a standardized format of presentation that I can easily grade (same format, comparable data, objective evaluation).

The idea I had:

  • is to use a specialised software that creates charts and graphs.

Description of how it has changed over time:

  • I had another idea in mind for another project but I changed my mind because the course itself has changed.

Description of factors that make it compelling now:

  • I need a group project that matches the content and requirements of the new course. Now the course is meant to provide an introduction to the topics of international business instead of being more specific on international management. I have decided to create a project that helps students to practice some fundamentals of the disciplines instead of focusing on more complex issues.

Implications for not solving or addressing it

  • It is not easy to solve all of the three things that I have described above (description of the problem) at the same time.

Logistics of your technology intervention:

  • First, I plan to master the basic functions of Infogram (the software I want to use).
  • Second, I need to review directions and notes for the project from last semester and change them according to the introduction of the new software.
  • Third, I create a sample of presentation to see if it works.

Course details:

  • The course is INBU 3300 (introduction to International Business & Management).

Number of students:

  • Two sections of 40 students each.

Duration of use:

  • Final project students have to turn in and present at the end of the course. it is worth around 20%

Description of use:

  • In groups of 4, students have to do a research about a topic that is associated with an international ranking

Frequency of use:

  • Every semester

Scope of use:

  • It provides students with a standard, engaging, visual, material that I can easily grade (standard format, comparable data, objective evaluation).

How will you know if your students have achieved the intended outcome?

1. their “ based” presentations will have to be all comparable in terms of:

    • type and number of slides used
    • type of information per chart (ex. country that scores first, last, neighbours, strange/interesting data
    • time of presentation

2. When they use (combined with my directions) students will be “forced” to go thorugh the steps of the research project (as opposed of doing a   copy/paste from an existing chart on internet). Students will need to:

    • decide the topic (there must be an international index associated with that)
    • declare the direction, within the selected topic, that they want to take for the project
    • collect information (internet, papers, books, etc.)
    • make a choice about the data (relevant vs. not helpful)
    • input their data into the software to create the ranking
    • explain what every position (of the country) means
    • show evidence for their thoughts
    • explain how the data have been measured by the index
    • present results
    • declare whether or not they agree
    • emphasize relevance to international business and helpfulness for international managers

How will you know if the changes you made in your teaching made a difference?

1. Mandatory check-ins with all the groups

    • no doubts from the students about what to do and confidence in the process

2. Actual presentations

    • Students' thought process must be rigorous and sequential
    • Use of same steps and same reasoning, but not same results/arguments

How will you identify/ measure growth in your students or in your teaching?

1. Besides the presentation, students must turn in a 4 page-research project report that meets all the requirements.

2. This will show six different levels of learning (Bloom’s taxonomy)

    • knowledge
    • understanding
    • application
    • analysis
    • synthesis
    • evaluation

What worked well?

  • Of course, as I had already said, I could not use the project I worked on during this Teaching with Technology experience, because the semester had already started. However, these are a few considerations:
    • Everything worked well in terms of time dedicated to the science behind the use of technology depending on the aspect of the course to work on. I feel much more solid in regards to the interfaces between pedagogy, the disciplines I teach, and the technology I use. I have a clearer perspective on what I do, why I do it, and for what type of students/courses. I feel stronger in defending my technology choices with students, colleagues, and the school.
    • The time spent on the development of the idea was also very good. I had a chance to discuss it with other participants of Teaching with Technology and with the technology consultants. Discussing my choices and challenges with my colleagues was critical to understand better what I was doing. I appreciated the feedback and the exchange of ideas. Discussing my idea with the technology consultants was important to make sure that the technology choice was right for what I wanted to do it and why.
    • The idea to change a relatively old project for my international business course by using seems a good one so far. I don’t expect to have any big problems (see indexes of success). However, as I said, I will know it for sure only after I do it in my next course.

What would you do differently in the future?

  • Overall, if I should repeat this experience of Teaching with Technology, then I would spread out the whole experience through two semesters. During the first one, I would do what we did and I would finish it with the plan to implement. Then, during the second one, I would put it into practice for an actual course. It would be great if the consultants could supervise the results along the way and to debrief them all together (consultants and the participants). It would be particularly appreciated to see how each project has worked out after all the preparation.
  • As far as my own project goes, I will focus better on two different things:
    • First, what I want to accomplish. The reason is that, working through this experience made me realize how much I want to redefine my approach to technology and teaching in general. This experience made me revise practices and choices that I make in class and that go actually beyond technology.
    • Second, I feel that I am a little bit more tolerant towards my mistakes and I will be more open in making experiments. The timeline is critical. I thought about it and planned my own now. According to this, I will make “experiments” in summer school, when I have a smaller number of students and then, depending on the results, I will implement my choice in fall. If it really works, then I will improve it in spring.

What feedback did students give?

  • Well, as I said, I did not have an opportunity to use it yet. However, I feel that this is a tricky part. In my experience, students tend to appreciate, at least in my courses, two things:
    • When technology gives them an opportunity to express their thoughts and their personality, besides my choices in terms of pedagogy. I feel that, sometimes, a success with them is not necessarily a success overall.
    • If technology helps them to study in a more efficient (not effective) way, then they appreciate it. I think that my efforts as an instructor should go further than this in terms of goals with my students.
  • Taking into consideration these reflections, I now believe that the ideal approach and results should allow everybody to win: me and the students. I can feel I am a good instructor if my pedagogy works first, then also when my students enjoy my choices. I would think this happens when the project works overall on both sides.

Description of sample experiences or student use.

  • What I expect from my students is mainly an increase in critical thinking skills and in the ability of learning while working on a research project that forces them to analyze, demonstrate, and solve the international business problem or the aspect they are investigating. Having understood, reflected, and partially worked on this new project through Teaching with Technology made me more helpful with my students’ reactions and more ready to observe the big picture of what they are doing during the project.