Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Teaching Sociology 27 (1999), pp. 92-109. Copyright 1999 American Sociological Association.


Students, graduate instructors and the classroom professor responded in journals, on objective tests, in focus groups and on survey questionnaires to the effects of computer media in four large lecture classes. Graduate instructors and students responded in focus groups to multimedia technology with consistent themes, including enhancement of cognitive strategies (note taking and organization of ideas) and motivation. However, students also expressed distancing from the instructor. Student achievement outcomes using pre- and post-test scores showed no differences across two experimental applications of multimedia presentations: static and dynamic. Discussion of findings emphasizes the need to balance considerations of resource scarcity and the lack of demonstrable effects across multimedia types. Instructors endorse the positive effects of using multimedia preparation to rework and rethink their course curricula and materials.