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Effective Tips for Blackboard Usage Dr. Omar A. Al-Swailem EE Department swailem@kfupm.edu.

sa The blackboard is one of the main tools used by almost all instructors. Using such tool effectively helps in enhancing the students’ understanding and focusing their attention. Many instructors believe that they are using the board effectively, however, from the students’ perspective this may not be true. In this article, some helpful tips are outlined which may bridge this gap: 1- Prepare organized lecture notes: Try to prepare your notes in a way that can be understood by someone else. Logically order the concepts, drawings, derivations, etc., and make them reasonable for the students. Most of the time you are going to replicate your notes on the board. 2- Organize the board: As you are selling the material you put on the board, try to arrange it for your customers in an organized, ordered, and attractive fashion. One way to do that is to divide the board into two or three blocks that are to be filled then erased in order. The use of highlights such as underlines, borders, frames, etc. is also very useful. 3- Do not block the view: Make sure that you are not blocking the view of the students. Some experts suggest that righthanded instructors may fill the board from right to left (and vise versa for left-handed), so that the students will have a longer viewing time. Another obstruction is objects such as projectors, briefcases, etc., staying in the students’ view. They tend to annoy students, thus, try to put them aside. Sometimes, poor lighting can contribute to law visibility of the material on the board. 4- Avoid writing in the “dead” area: For students sitting in the last raw in a class, the bottom of the board is obstructed by the students in the front. That is why it may be considered as “dead” for them. Thus, avoiding this area is very appropriate. You may set in the back raw while the class is going on to estimate this region. In some situations, it may vary from ten to thirty centimeters. Obviously, this is not the case in an auditorium. 5- Write legibly and clearly: This will help students read, write, and follow what you have put on the board. Small and obscured handwriting is very frustrating to students, reduces their willingness to take notes, and hence, their retention. In general, try to make large clear writings that are not condensed in the space. This works even for instructors whose handwritings are not nice. 6- Avoid modifications: Modifying some parts of your work, e.g., text, derivations, figures, etc., irritates the students. Simply, students do not have the erasure privilege that you have on the board. They have to redraw or rewrite the whole thing again. Using colored chalk or dotted lines, for example, may be an alternative for modifications. Note that erasing mistakes is accepted as long as they are identified, clarified, then erased.

Students can also play a role in that if you ask them frequently to inform you about your blackboard usage and how do they perceive it. These tips.slideshare. a good rule of thumb to test effectiveness in using the board is to pretend that you are the student and then try to evaluate yourself from that perspective. http://www. Remember that if you are explaining or discussing while they are writing the majority will not pay attention to you.slideshare. In general. videotape yourself and watch your performance later. however.teachingenglish. Many students lag behind in copying the notes from the board or summarizing your verbal discussions. to presenting your lecture using slides or transparencies.net/kimsovann/effective-board-use http://www.7.org.Allow enough time: Many instructors ignore this point though it is very important for the students to follow and comprehend the material delivered. You may do that by asking a colleague to attend your class and provide you with his observations. can be considered as fundamentals that are useful to everyone. the screen may be considered as the blackboard. using the blackboard is an art that vary from one to another. Thus.net/kimsovann/how-to-deal-with-your-class http://www. They may also be applicable. You may also.uk/articles/using-board . it is a good habit to leave enough time for them to catch-up with you.Evaluate yourself : It is a good idea to check if you are using the blackboard effectively or not. 8. In such situations. Finally. with some modifications. or you may borrow the notes of some of them to check if they are reasonable and readable.