Aug 14 2008

Access Point/Contributors


Technology used in conjunction with lectures in undergraduate courses can bump up grades by more than 10 percent compared with lectures alone, according to a study by the University of Houston’s Department of Health and Human Performance.

The study, conducted by Assistant Professor Brian McFarlin, compared the final grades of 658 undergraduate students in the school’s “Physiology of Human Performance” course over seven semesters.

Studious Response

A group of 346 students were taught a hybrid version of the course that used a variety of classroom technologies — including a clicker response system, PowerPoint presentations and collaborative online programs — to supplement lectures. A group of 312 students were taught using a traditional classroom lecture format.

The lecture group met twice a week for 90 minutes in a classroom, while the hybrid group met once a week in a classroom and spent an additional 90 minutes per week online with electronic presentations, lectures and self-tests that presented basic information.

In the actual classroom, students used a clicker system to answer questions from previous lectures and heard an additional lecture. Students were quizzed at the end of the classroom lecture using the response system.

McFarlin says final grades for students in the hybrid class averaged 9.9 percent higher than for those who received the traditional lectures. Exams during one semester averaged almost 20 percent higher for the hybrid group, according to McFarlin.


Guy Dickinson is a network security analyst at New York University where he works on incident detection and response and application security. A 2008 graduate of the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, he has been on the university’s IT security staff since 2004.

Brian Smith-Sweeney is a senior network security analyst at New York University. His responsibilities include security architecture, incident response, vulnerability assessment, and security policy planning and development. He is also currently a member of the Internet2 SALSA-CSI2 working group and chair of the REN-ISAC Microsoft Analysis team.