The Instructional Technology Center picks one faculty member (or several members) each semester to be our "focus". Thus we like to call this feature of our website the 'Focus on Faculty''. They are chosen based on their use of technology and how they incorporate that technology into their teaching.
Dr. Somsak Sukittanon
Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering
Dr. Sukittanon holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, and focuses his scholarly work in the areas of multimedia signal processing and embedded systems and control.
We recognize Dr. Sukittanon for his applied use of Apresso streaming classroom lectures and Web 2.0 collaborative applications as a supplement to his classroom instruction.
1. Do you think using technology helps you teach better? If so, how?
Definitely. Not only does technology help me to teach better, it is almost a necessity in today's information technology age. The more resources students have to choose from, the more they can pick a system of learning that is fit for them. If we give students learning tools to choose from, they will tend to find a way to communicate better with me (professors) both inside and outside the classroom. Also, technology constantly changes, it is not about offering the wide variety of hardware and software, but keeping the technologies that produce the most effective results. I remembered that I only used emails and class webpages in the classroom. Today, students have involved more tools to help them learn. One example is an video recording system at UTM that we used last semester called Apreso. The system can capture the lecture video, note on a computer, handwriting on a whiteboard and a projector synchronously. My students used it to review the class contents anytime and anywhere that they want. It significantly helps my students to learn and understand the subject better than the traditional way.
2. Is there anything at UTM in regard to technology that you would like to mention that makes a difference for you as you do your job?
UTM does a good job in offering its Blackboard service. Unfortunately, many professors may not take the time to setup/maintain a Blackboard content or a website to mass communicate with students outside of the classroom. Otherwise, students tend to study alone or in small groups of friends. UTM's system allows students to work together as a classroom whole. I am impressed with the upgrade of hardware and software UTM has put every year.
3. What are some current things that you are doing with your courses and your students that you are particularly proud of and want the campus to know about?
Besides Blackboard and Apreso, we are also using many free services that are available on the internet to improve our research and teaching. Some examples are:
Google Notebooks, Docs, photos. Our seniors students are using them to communicate between other group members. They can share their research found on the web, weekly report, and photos took from experiments. It significantly helps when we do multi year project to keep all documents in one place.
Google Group is used as a form of a online discussion board.
Streaming lecture video. The video content needs a lot of space to put in the server. Sometimes, it is difficult to keep the past year lecture. My student and I experimented a way to put all the class lecture on the free service such as Youtube, Yahoo, AOL video last year. There are many advantages such as 1) students can watch not only on a computer but also a cellphone, 2) unlimited space and we don't need to delete the previous contents, 3) can be searched from a search engine. A demo of this system can be viewed at www.utm.edu/staff/ssukitta/courses/engr361/Atube.html . This system has been used not only by our students, but also by students around the world. We received an email from a student in the UK and China studying the same subject who is using our system as a learning aid.
Weekly online chat meetings open to all students as a form of recitation. It is based on Java script so students do not need to have any account to join the conversation.
Blackboard Course Request
Create a new course, get students enrolled, copy an existing course, or delete old courses. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for explanation of the Blackboard course-naming convention.
Echo360 Classroom is a special setup in certain classrooms on campus that enable professors to record their classroom lectures and automatically upload them into Blackboard. Echo360 also provides Personal Capture (PCAP) software that enables recording from the instructor's laptop anytime, anywhere.
Website Change Request
All requests for departmental website changes should be submitted through the Website Change Request Form.