PULLMAN, Wash. — Teal colored bacteria multiply exponentially until they cover even the instructions on the computer screen.
A few clicks of the computer mouse and there’s a black spidery virus slipping through a cell wall to take over the DNA.
The Upper Respiratory Infection learning module, created by a former pharmacy computer technician, is one of a few interactive computer modules being used in teaching at Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy.
A newly organized seven-member computer group hopes to develop several others. Module development in the college has until now been focused on meeting the needs of a particular class or faculty member. But the group is refocusing efforts to create units that can be used by more than one teacher.
One assistant professor in the new computer group, Mohsen Hedaya, has already designed and is using an interactive module that explains pharmacokinetics — the process by which drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized and eliminated by the body.
Hedaya’s work was recognized earlier this year by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Council of Faculties, which awarded Hedaya one of its three 1998 Innovations in Teaching awards.
Interactive modules can teach students about some concepts in far less time than it takes to explain it to them in a class lecture. “It’s intended to engage them more than just reading,” said Shelley L. Chambers, assistant professor.
The computer teaching technology has been particularly useful in pharmacy, where the faculty and students are split between the Pullman and Spokane campuses. There are also a few students and faculty in Yakima and the Tri-Cities.
Some members of the new computer group also recently helped Compaq Computer Corp. of Houston, Texas, and Asymetrix Learning Systems Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., test a new online learning management software product the two companies are calling Compaq Virtual Classroom.
For more information, contact: Chris Jenson, 509/335-2898, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mohsen Hedaya, 509/335-5622, email@example.com.