Despite the growing demand for digital pedagogy and the creation of a massive amount of online courses over the web, most universities still prefer the traditional in-class style of teaching. Nonetheless, as I explain in this short essay, adding the digital flavor to the traditional teaching style can still highly boost the efficiency of learning from the students. I have written this essay mostly based on my experience of teaching the Optoelectronics lab course in the ECE department at Virginia Tech.
First, by recording a video of the lecture given in the class, the students can watch it over and over again if they need to. In the traditional style, students attend the class, write some notes while the teacher is delivering the material, and then they have to rely on the book and possibly the textbooks to learn the materials. However, this method is not efficient at all. It might happen that a student cannot attend a class due to, e.g., an illness situation. Also, it might be hard for the students to have full attention for over one hour continuously. So even the students that attend the class might not have the chance to absorb all the delivered materials. Accordingly, it is necessary to give the students a second chance to learn the materials delivered by the teacher, a task that becomes possible with the aid of camera-recording the class and making it available online.
Second, teaching abstract concepts by writing only on a white or blackboard could be boring and cause many students to lose their focus and attention in the early stages of the class. In this regard, it would be nice to combine the traditional style with Powerpoint presentations to make the class more attractive. Computer-based presentations also offer a plethora of opportunities. For example, one can visualize some content by delivering them as engaging animations. This could be especially helpful when we want to deliver abstract concepts, such as how a laser works. Yet, one should be cautious that just having slides is not enough and when having a repetitive and soulless theme, slides can even be more boring than the traditional white/blackboard style. Accordingly, special care must be given to design the slides in an interactive manner. Also, based on my experience, it will be even better if slides are used simultaneously with a white/blackboard style. This way, the teacher has more chances to satisfy the different flavors of learning.
Third, with the help of modern technology, it is now much easier and economically and environmentally more beneficial to deliver the homework; They can be uploaded online which could eliminate the need for billions of paper pieces and thus thousands of trees each year. Also, all of them can be almost permanently recorded without taking up any physical space or erode due to long-time storage. Furthermore, they can be delivered even if the students cannot come to the class. At a more advanced level, computer-based homework can even be designed such that doing them not only is not a burden for the student but also is a lot of fun. For example, it could be in the form of simple games or interactive tasks.
In conclusion, the use of modern technology can highly increase the quality of teaching even in the setting of the traditional style. With the current technology, a lot of new opportunities still exist that are waiting to be realized. Moreover, with the emergence of new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, tons of even more creative and fascinating opportunities will be available in the near future.