Date of Award

10-2008

Degree Name

MS in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science

Advisor

Dr. Franz Kurfess

Abstract

Learning in the classroom can occur as a combination of students' personal effort to study class material, the instructor's attempt to present class material, and the interaction that takes place between instructor and students. In a more traditional setting, instructors can lecture by writing notes on a chalkboard or a whiteboard. If instructors want to display prepared lecture slides, they can use the overhead projector and write additional notes on top of these overhead transparencies. With many technological advances, various researchers are advocating towards integration between technology and learning. With the advent of tablet PCs, researchers recognize the potential usefulness of its functions within the classroom. Not only can electronic materials be presented via the computer, tablet PCs allow instructors to handwrite notes on top of the slides, mimicking manual devices such as the overhead.

Even though the use of tablet PCs can be advantageous to instructors and students, no research found so far has focused on the issue of how well tablet PC features address varying learning styles of students (e.g. visually oriented vs. text-based learning). According to Felder, "understanding learning style differences is thus an important step in designing balanced instruction that is effective for all students” [22]. Hence, this research explores the correlation between tablet-based presentation systems and learning styles by taking two approaches: performing a pilot study and distributing a survey. The results from these approaches are evaluated to yield statistically significant conclusions on how well tablet-based presentation systems encompass the different learning needs of student.

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