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The original goal was to create and present a 10-to-20-minute module about each topic. The mathematics or other challenging material should be kept to a minimum (or left out entirely). The module would be followed by simply-phrased questions to discover what application students might see for the presented material.

After spending several weeks studying the generation of Flash content, the use of Respondus and Studymate, and other mechanisms that could be used to create content, it was decided that simple tablet or whiteboard recordings would be most accessible, lowest cost, and fastest to produce for any educator. By using a common platform across institutions, material could be more easily shared while maintaining a consistency in format.

Through much trial and error when producing these recorded materials, two things become rather evident: 10 or 20 minutes is a bit long for students to concentrate on a single, unbroken learning module and the content of the module was not typically necessary for the prompting of a Diversity Harnessing question. In response to these observations, the learning modules were reduced to less than 5 minutes in duration. The 5 minute duration often includes an edited 15-minute lecture-like capture that removes much of the dead time that occurs during writing, sketching or manipulation of the computer software. Although this dead time is, arguably, essential to the process of learning in the traditional lecture setting, it can also be argued that this time is better allocated to post-module group exercises that explore the module more completely.


I used Camtasia Studio to record reproductions of small, informative portions of my lectures, often recorded later the same day as the lecture was presented in class. The reproductions as well as the lectures were accomplished using an ASUS 121 EP tablet computer. The recordings are, admittedly, quite amateurish but were appreciated by the students and considered a great aid to learning. They are available at screencast in the ECE101 folder.


The University of Illinois and Coursera made an agreement in July of 2012 to provide content for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and some of the content of ECE101 is scheduled to in the first offering (Fall 2012). This will provide an opportunity to learn more about professional production of lecture materials as well as another avenue of disseminating the materials used for the course. It is to appear here when it is ready.


Rather than require that the module be watched prior to lecture, the shortened nature of the module allows the instructor to have the option of viewing at the beginning of lecture. This method ensures that all students begin the lecture on the same footing and allows for the instructor to address uncertain points prior to group exercises.

At this point, the applications presented by the student body in the previous week's Diversity Harnessing Question(s) can be commented upon ("Several people mentioned [this and that]...") and then one specific application can be selected. Present the mathematical formulation of the problem (that is, map it into an exercise format) and have the students work through a mid-level exercise in groups of two to four students each. Walk around and assist groups in solving the exercise as needed. After some amount of time, have a group present their solution to the class.

Additional time may then be taken to either present more detail on the topic, work out other exercises based on the applications provided by the students, or another group exercise. You are encouraged to have a demo (hardware, software, interactive, etc.) prepared to keep the lecture period engaging.

Lecture should conclude with 5 minutes remaining for summary and transition to the next topic (although, I have found that this often biases student responses to the upcoming DHQ). Use a "minute paper" to assess student understanding and collect these as the students exit the lecture room. This can also serve as an opportunity to take attendance, for students to rate their team members on that day's performance, or even to ask the Diversity Harnessing Question for applications to be used in the upcoming week.

Office hours

I have adopted an Elluminate-based (Blackboard Collaborate) office hour period (twice per week) to augment my regular face-to-face office hours. I found attendance of the online office hours to be superior to those of my face-to-face meetings provided prior to 5pm and comparable or even better than the attendance received by the Teaching Assistant at the 6-8pm session.


The assignments are to consist of three layers.

The lowest layer is comprised of "catch up" materials, typically geared towards prerequisite knowledge or the most basic application of the problem-solving techniques expected of the students.

The middle layer is comprised of assignments that define the course's required performance (core materials). These are mostly the homework problems of the past. Mastery of this material should map to a good grade in the course.

The highest layer challenges the student to go beyond the standard course material and encourages students to apply, analyze, evaluate and create (higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy). Student-generated questions (from Diversity Harnessing questions) should appear in this layer. These problems should require less time to complete than Layer 1 problems or be given more credit for problems well-done.

Layer 1 and layer 2 problems are due on Friday just before midnight (online submission). Layer 3 problems are due on Tuesday at lecture (many are anticipated to be handwritten and this provides them a convenient time to turn them in).

Online assignment examples

A listing of many of the online Lon Capa homework problems may be found at this link . Level 1 problems are labeled "A", level 2 are labeled "B" and level 3 are labeled "C". Some problems shift level as a result of some restructuring of the course over time. The problems labeled "D" are like level 1 problems, but taken directly from the course notes.


Supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DUE-0942331. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Illinois or the National Science Foundation.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Diversity harnessing: content personalization for engaging non-stem students in stem topics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 21, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11439/1.8
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