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Activating Computer Architecture with Classroom Presenter

Beth SimonRichard Anderson* Steven Wolfman*

Math & Computer Science, U. of San Diego

*Computer Science & Engineering, U. of Washington

San Diego, CA 92110 bsimon@sandiego.edu

Seattle, WA 98195-2350 {anderson,wolf}@cs.washington.edu

Abstract In this paper we discuss our experiences using a Tablet PC- based presentation system in an undergraduate computer

architecture PowerPoint

class. slides

The system allowed us with high quality pen-based

to integrate writing and

term, Presenter aims to enhance learning and teaching

through new technologies and software for the classroom. The key components of the current system are the use of an instructor Tablet PC (with high-quality inking support), wireless network connectivity, and a data projector.

to separate the students’ view. development of

instructor's view of the materials from the This allowed a more natural and interactive class concepts and content.

The was

system that we used was Classroom Presenter which developed at University of Washington and Microsoft

Research. University

The system has received substantial use of Washington, being used in approximately

at 15

large courses

since Autumn




deployment at

the University

of San


in a small

undergraduate course is interesting since the developers of the system viewed Classroom Presenter as most appropriate

In this paper we focus on the presentation issues found in an undergraduate Patterson and Hennessey-style architecture course. We show how the interactive nature of inking on empty (or intentionally incomplete) slides allows students to participate in the microarchitecture design process, rather than having it presented to them “fait accompli”. Specifically, we investigate Presenter’s ability to support the in-class development and modification of datapath diagrams and active student participation in problem solving. Additionally, we preview future Presenter support for sharing tablet-based in-class group work.

for large lectures and for distance courses.

The deployment

at the University of usage of the system.

San Diego explored new ground in In this work we present an overview

of the system and discuss particular uses and advantages the system in an undergraduate architecture class setting.


1. Introduction Presentation technology of lectures. Different

impacts the structure and delivery technologies support different

instruction styles and provide various mechanisms for engaging an audience. In university classrooms predominant presentation technologies include blackboards,

whiteboards, overhead projectors, and

computers with data

projectors. Each of these technologies may make them more or less suitable to

has properties that specific instructors

or course material. based lecture has

In particular, delivering a computer- both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages include the ability to structure advance, prepare high-quality examples and

material in illustrations,

and to share come at the

and re-use material[3]. expense of flexibility

But, these advantages during presentation –

Figure 1. A screenshot of the instructor’s Tablet PC while using Presenter. The slide is minimized to provide extra writing space. The filmstrip is along the left of the figure allowing preview of and navigation among slides. (CSE582, Univ. of Washington, Autumn 2002)








we’d like students to experience for tradeoffs inherent in the microarchitecture

themselves the design process.

Classroom Presenter (hereafter, Presenter) is a system developed and deployed by the University of Washington as part of the Conference XP conferencing experience project. The immediate goal of Presenter is to provide an improvement to the computer-based lecturing environment

  • offering, at a minimum, the benefits of prepared slides

and extemporaneous writing and diagramming. In the long

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In Section 2 we describe the Presenter system and note three key features that arose in its design process. In Section 3 we describe an initial offering of an undergraduate computer architecture class utilizing Presenter for class lecturing in a small classroom setting (10-15 students). In Section 4 we describe upcoming Presenter features that empower additional classroom interaction and group activities in both

the small and large classroom environments. describes related work and Section 6 concludes.



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