On high quality Courseware- Making strategies
Some high quality Courseware-Making strategies are summarized in this paper, and then their teaching efficiency in space geodesy has been compared and analyzed
Courseware, which is centered on a computer, is a kind of modern teaching technology based on digital processing techniques and audio-visual technology. Courseware can store, transmit, process, convert and search teaching materials by integrating a variety of media information such as words, voice and images and so on, according to teachers’ teaching design[1-3]. Courseware is able to improve the effect of teaching because it has many advantages such as vivid, not restricted by spacetime, easy to accept by student and so on, which could activate class atmosphere, motivate students’ thirst for knowledge and improve students’ interest. However, some problems still exist in Courseware- Making. This paper has listed some suggestions to Courseware-Making based on authors’ Courseware-teaching experience, and then we have talked about its usage in Space Geodesy teaching.
The problems in Courseware-Making
The key point is not outstanding
It mainly manifests in the following respects: Firstly, all slides are put together, colors aren’t matched harmonically and layout is arranged unreasonably. Thus, part of contents cannot be seen clearly and the Courseware is short of sense of beauty, thus it can hardly attract students’ interests. Secondly, superficial form flashy is overemphasized, a variety of unnecessary pictures, videos and voice materials are used in Courseware. Thus the form will cover up the contents, and students’ attention will be dispersed. Thirdly, teaching materials without select are all written on Courseware, even some teaching contents that can be better shown by experiments and object-demonstration are demonstrated with slides, so the Courseware is the reprint of the textbook contents. This single-form Courseware doesn’t give play to the advantage of multimedia instruction, and it is easy to tire students in auditory and visual.
Hierarchical structure and navigation lack clarity
Hierarchical structure and navigation in Courseware provide a ‘roadmap’ for learners to search what they want to know. But at present, most of the Courseware employs structures which are showed in Figure 1. Structure 1 starts with a headline and c atalogue, and then with endless content, at last ends up with ‘Thank you’. This kind of structure will not be easily understood by students and then lose focus in class. Structure 2 is also called ‘link type’. This hyperlink is used in the catalogue page to allow users to skip to the content page and it is also employed to skip to the catalogue page when each chapter is completed. Compared with s tructure 1, structure 2 can let students easily master Courseware structure and catch up with the thoughts of teachers. But according to students’ feedback, some teachers are not skilled in using hyperlink in classroom teaching, and incorrect operations often occurred in class. Thus, originally clear structures become chaotic due to wrong navigation.
Lack of materials
Currently, most of the courseware only shows listeners some simple and intuitive experiments in the form of video or animation on the screen. Although it assisted in teaching, its contents are insufficient to reflect the characteristics of large information and the wide range of knowledge that modern teaching methods own. Also, few people formulated the courseware with difficult concepts. Some of the cou rseware only involves 5 or 6 materials, and most of them are the illustrations in the textbook. But in fact, teachers need to provide some other related contents in their actual teaching.
Lack of frontier
As a result of computer multimedia technology, the development cycles of a courseware is shorter than traditional methods. Therefore, it should reflect the fast changes and improvements of teaching contents, especially some of the cutting-edge professional contents. However, a lot of users just move the contents of the book on the courseware, and rarely update it. So, on one hand, it does not embody the advantage of development speed of courseware, and on the other hand it also lacks flexibility.
Lack of interactivity
The fundamental feature of courseware is interactivity, which is conducive to teachers trying to master how students learn, making the teaching plan and adjusting lectures. Courseware design should fully reflect this characteristic. However, many teachers always over look this point. They mainly focus on the presentation of the courseware, occasionally with some explanations, or just list answers of some questions. In this case, students almost have no time to ask or think, and have no space to extend thinking and imagination. So it’s harmful to the students.
Some strategies are summarized based on the author’s teaching experience to solve the above problems.
Optimize the Courseware on the base of students ‘noting’ the visual psychology
Psychological studies have pointed out that the learning process does not start from the beginning of sensory generated from stimuli of the outside world, but from the individual’s learning motivation and the resulting selective attention of the sensory information. Therefore, there is no learning when no irritation occurs. And we can optimize the Courseware from the following features:
Selective: The clearest part in a person’s vision is the central part, so the theme and the most important features should be highlighted when presenting teaching information with multimedia courseware.
Simplicity: Irrelevant and redundant details should be deleted in the courseware background. Novelty: New stimuli is not necessarily used for attracting the attention of learners, as long as there is obvious contrast and differentiation before and after stimulation, such as certain flashing or underlined text, drawing arrows, adding borders and so on. However, when applying novel means, students’ attention should not be led to the novel means itself, but attempts should be made to try and led to the contents.
Optimize the Courseware with learners’ ‘concept formation’ rule in cognitive psychology
To help learners grasp basic concepts is one of the most important teaching missions. When learning the concepts, the students should not only remember all relevant names and definitions, but also acknowledge the common attributions between different items by using a series of examples so that they can extract and form concepts from the examples. In order to assist the learner to form concepts efficiently, here are some suggestions for the teachers: First, use examples rather than definitions. Teachers should follow the steps from examples to attributions to definitions in teaching in which the multimedia courseware is used. In that way, the learner can achieve the leap from perception to rationality. Second, positive examples should be used as well as negative examples. The learner often can’t understand all the attributions of the concepts deeply. Only by comparing the positive aspects with the negative, can the learner grasp a concept completely and correctly. Thirdly, it is more practical to list an attribute table than use words to define the concepts. The attribute table is clear for the learner so it can be impressed upon deeply. Moreover, the attribute table which helps the learner grasp the main attribute of concepts immediately so that the learner can form the concepts effectively, is more simple and obvious than sentences, which is boring causing the learner to forget it soon.
Schedule reasonable hi erarchical structure
A whole Courseware can be divided into front page, overview page, catalogue page and conclusion page on the basis of different functions. The basic design style of these pages should be consistent, but small differences which are helpful for learners to distinguish different parts is also necessary. Good page layout will make Courseware coherent and clear. The application of catalogue page is very important to hierarchical structure. Catalogue page plays a role of reminding students that it will move onto the next part. According to previous experiences, we recommend a simple but effective method: Make a catalogue page first, and then show the listener the catalogue page in which what would be taught next by will stand out by using bold words when entering into the next part. In addition, different colors and significant pictures can be employed to differentiate catalogue pages, and with the change of colors and images the next part of content will come up.
Establish personal Courseware material library
It is necessary for every teacher to set up a personal Courseware material library. Teachers should always accumulate materials in relation to their teaching content, and it will also be helpful for Courseware Making in future.
Compare and analysis of Space Geodesy teaching results
The author progressively applies the above Courseware-Making strategies in the teaching of Space Geodesy in recent years. In order to verify the practicality and validity of these strategies, some aspects like students’ average score of Space Geodesy, patents and published papers in relation to Space Geodesy have been compared and analyzed in this paper by using the recent statistical data of 6 years (2008~2013) associated with Space Geodesy, which comes from School of Geodesy and Geomatics, Wuhan University.
Figure 2 shows the statistics of students’ average score of Space Geodesy fro m 2008 to 2013, and from it we know that students’ average score presents an increasing trend, except in 2010. Figure 3 lists the patent quantity in relation to Space Geodesy from 2008 to 2013. Tab.1 displays recent 6 years’ published SCI and EI papers associated with Space Geodesy. Figure 3 and Tab.1 both have indicated that research and innovation ability have improved. From the above comparison and analysis, we know that the teaching level of Space Geodesy has been improving with the step-by-step application of high quality Courseware-Making strategies. This fully proved the efficiency of these strategies.
Multimedia teaching can make up for the deficiencies of traditional teaching, which make it rigid, dull and bald. Some innovative projects have been summarized to solve the problems in Courseware- Making in the base of author’s teaching experience, and then its validity has been proven by comparing Space Geodesy teaching results. Courseware Making is a systematic work; and the author will master better strategies in future teaching on the basis of students’ feedback and self-summary.
This research was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41374012) and the 2012 undergraduate comprehensive reform and teaching research project of School of Geodesy and Geomatics, Wuhan university (201220).
 Lin Liu. Introduction of some principles and skills to Courseware Making [J]. Journal Of Guangxi Financial College,2004,17(2 Suppl):83-84.
 Qili Wang. Existing Problems and Solutions to Multimedia Courseware Manufactory [J]. Journal of Xi’an Aerotechnical College,2005,23(1):51-53.
 Kekang He, Yongbai Zheng, Youru XIE.Instructional System Design [M]. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press,2002.