New Initatives in Teaching and Learning at the University of Otago
Quality Forum - 23 March 2004
Convenor: Professor Chris Heath
- Dr Richard Walter (Anthropology) on Archaeozoology on-line learning
- Dr Henry Johnson (Music) on Interactive resource for teaching world music
Two recipients of Innovation in Teaching grants from the Committee for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT) spoke at the March Quality Forum about their projects, completed in 2003. Approximately 30 people attended the Forum.
Dr Henry Johnson introduced his CALT-funded project, an interactive resource for teaching world music. Underlying the project were two broad educational objectives:
- To create an environment to complement and extend lecture room teaching and to inspire students to learn;
- To create a resource that followed Otago University's four dimensions of quality learning.
Dr Johnson demonstrated the webpage where students can learn about an instrument, the different techniques used to play the instrument, and the culture the instrument comes from. Dr Johnson considered the most important feature of the project to be the interactive component, a 3-D image of a drum. Students can move the image around and examine the different dimensions. There are interactive screens, cultural information, structured activities and students can actually play the instrument themselves.
Dr Johnson uses this material to supplement and compliment lectures. A student evaluation of the project found it to be very successful. Students liked the textual information and the images, but the most popular aspect was the interactive feature. The only negative comment from students Dr Johnson said, was that they wished there were more learning resources similar to this one!
Dr Richard Walter spoke about Archaeozoology online learning. Archaeozoology is the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. Anthropology 321 is a laboratory-based course teaching practical methods for the identification of faunal material from archaeological sites. A problem with the course is that it requires hands on use of valuable reference collections, and as the numbers of students taking the course increases, the damage to the collections also increases. Along with Professor Ian Smith, Dr Walker wanted to develop a virtual alternative.
The aims of this CALT project were:
- To teach faunal analysis using a virtual reference collection
- To provide a vehicle for distributing visual and textual data relating to archaeological fauna
- To run in-class tests and exercises in faunal identification
- To develop a comprehensive research tool.
HEDC was approached with a vague set of concepts and ideas and the HEDC staff took the ideas and developed them into a draft proposal which over a number of months eventually developed into an online resource which is now used as a supplement to teaching. Students can examine pieces from the collection from different angles and zoom in to view fine details. The online collection is continually being updated with material from the Anthropology department and has grown into a significant resource database.