The Colgate Scene
November 1998
Table of contents
A tale of two classes and the Web
by Jun Yoshino
Associate Professor of Psychology

[IMAGE]
In Case Library, Librarian Peter Tagtmeyer (seated) and Professor Jun Yoshino (standing) introduce students to the electronic resources that will support their research in Yoshino's general education courses on AIDS and tobacco use.
The lights dim in the Picker Classroom on the last day of the semester, and after weeks of research the students are ready to present their final projects to each other for Core 116, Critical Analysis of Health Issues: AIDS. The final projects are Web Pages created for three assignments that form the core of this project-driven class.

     Students are asked to evaluate whether AIDS is a problem in their hometowns based upon media coverage and compare this impression with statistics obtained from their public health departments. The second assignment requires the students to identify demographic factors that co-vary with the incidence of AIDS in their communities. Lastly, once the students identify the population(s) at risk for infection in their cities, the students examine the resources available and what should (or could) be done in either prevention and/or treatment of AIDS.

     Peter Tagtmeyer, assistant science librarian, and I have been working together on this class since the summer of 1995 when software like Netscape 1.01 and RealAudio, which made the World Wide Web more accessible and useful, were being developed. Today, the media assignments are accomplished on the Web through LEXIS/NEXIS and with newspapers that are available online. For the second assignment, the students download material from the US Census Website and save in a format that can be opened in Excel for the correlational analysis. The significant relationships are then presented as maps of their communities using a spatial analysis program, ArcView.

     The major impact that technology has had on their projects is the level of sophistication of both their scholarship and presentation. The library has become an information laboratory, where the students conduct research, analyze and plot data, and assemble the final project. Term papers are usually read only by the professor, but the Web has enabled the public health officials who were contacted for data and intrigued by the class assignment to examine what the students had assembled by accessing the class web site.

     The students also learn by collaborating and cooperating: teaching each other how to use the software, sharing interesting Web sites, and often working together when their hometowns are near one another. The collaboration builds camaraderie and excitement among the students as they buzz about the computers outside Peter's office in the Science Library.

     This fall, with Peter and two other librarians from Case Library, David Hughes and Carl Peterson, I am launching a new class that examines nicotine, advertising and addiction. The course focuses on two questions: Have cigarette companies targeted children either through ads or promotional items from 1880 through today? Second, when did scientists within the tobacco companies become aware of the health hazards and addictive properties of nicotine?

     The recent publication of "confidential" industry documents on the Web will provide students with one resource to examine these questions. In addition, the Web has provided a number of interesting leads suggesting that Joe Camel was not the first cartoon character to sell cigarettes. The Flintstones advertised Winston cigarettes in the early '60s and another car-toon character, Willie the Penguin, sold Kool cigarettes in the '50s in the Sunday comics. The Web not only alerted us to the existence of these stories but also helped us locate collectibles that made the lectures more tangible.


Computing in the classroom
More perspective than I know what to do with
by Charles H. Holbrow, Charles A. Dana Professor of Physics

Joint learning across the ocean
by Dierk Hoffmann, Professor of German
A tale of two classes and the Web
by Jun Yoshino, Associate Professor of Psychology
Computers and classical archaeology
by Rebecca Miller Ammerman, Associate Professor of the Classics
Ecrire La Fontaine: technology for teaching literature
by John Gallucci, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Enhancing student presentations
by Michael Haines, Professor of Economics


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