Multimedia at work

By Melanie Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

As the 21st century approaches, the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering has discarded the traditional term paper in favor of incorporating new media technologies.

Mary Poulton, an assistant professor in mining and geological engineering, and John Kemeny, an associate professor in MGE, are using the Multimedia and Visualization Lab at the UA's Center for Computing and Information Technology to teach their students how to create multimedia research project presentations.

"This is the first time we have done this type of project, though we've wanted to try this for the past five years," said Poulton, who co-teaches MGE 120 with Kemeny.

The multimedia term paper replaces the traditional written one by incorporating video, animation, visuals, sound effects and videotaped interviews, Poulton said. The research is gathered, scanned into a computer and produced into the research project.

The students researched one of four topics covering recycling, ground subsidence, copper mining and portland cement.

Aerospace engineering sophomore Robert Briggs said, "I learned more because this project was hands-on and it involved more creativity than writing a term paper."

The presentations will be used as tutorials in upcoming MGE classes, Poulton said.

"The presentations will help supplement the material covered in class," she said. "The visual presentations will give students a new angle at learning. It will allow them an opportunity to interact with the material."

Engineering freshman Devan Sress said, "This project was very interesting to participate in. Learning how to use the multimedia systems is something that I will be able to use in the future for other projects as well."

Chase White, geological engineering junior, said students learned about their topic of research and became familiar with the media lab over the course of the project.

"Every time I went into the lab, I learned something new about the computer's capabilities," he said.

Poulton said future goals consist of using the presentations within the university and throughout the school system to aid in education.

"The great thing about the presentations is that they are interactive," said Jake Macholtz, mining and engineering sophomore. "It's more likely people will watch the presentations rather than read a term paper."

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