The Interactive Course Map
When forecasting the learning situation of the future, we often envision students working with a wide array of on-line tools - ranging from standard office productivity tools, to various kinds of communication software, to specialised learning environments tailored to particular curricular needs. In this scenario, learners are not only trying to master the subject or domain content, they must also cope with: (1) mastering a potentially complex assortment of software tools, and (2) developing new study habits to make effective use of these tools. A challenge for learners in such a situation is effectively 'managing the media mix' to achieve their educational objectives. Recent empirical studies indicate that many learners, particularly those who are inexperienced with computer technologies, feel overwhelmed when faced with this new way of learning.
We are investigating how interactive course maps and study guides can help beginning students successfully manage potentially complex mixes of new technologies to enhance their learning process. In effect, we are trying to create meta-learning environments; i.e., environments to help beginning scholars 'learn how to learn' with new media. We are currently conducting this research in the context of a new first-level course on object-oriented computing. Here, we describe the Interactive Course Map we have created for this course and discuss some of the rationale behind its design.
Submitted to: ED-MEDIA 98, Freiberg, Germany, June 20-25, 1998.