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HyperCourseware and Interactive Learning

To facilitate the application of hypermedia and electronic collaboration in the classroom, a model of instructional interaction has been developed based on mental models of classroom activities. Objects such as the course syllabus, lecture notes, the class roll, etc. are instantiated in graphic form on the computer network. The concept of hypermedia is used to link the objects together and allow students to navigate from the syllabus to the lecture to the textbook and so on. Thus, HyperCourseware is a system of interlocking programs and files that serve as an electronic infrastructure for classroom and distal learning to create electronically what had previously been in notebooks, on the blackboard, and in textbooks. HyperCourseware is currently prototyped on the World Wide Web. At present, materials have been developed and used in a variety of different courses. The materials are located on the cognitron server.

Currently we are investigating the effects of passive versus active interaction on learning and attention. Instructor control of displaying materials and showing simulations is being compared with student control allowing the positive benefits of exploration and hypothesis testing but requiring additional cognitive demands on part of the students.

Kent Norman, Department of Psychology
Diane Alonso, Graduate Research Assistant

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