Bringing Engineering Material to Latin America
Ricardo von Borries is using Connexions to bring digital signal processing content to engineering students in Latin America. Ricardo, an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), is leading a team that is translating two digital signal processing (DSP) Connexions courses from English to Spanish.
Ricardo and his team used the Derived Copy feature of Connexions to make new courses and modules from the course Signals and Systems, by Richard Baraniuk and from the course Digital Signal Processing Laboratory, by Douglas L. Jones. Ricardo said, "I plan to use Connexions to disseminate DSP materials in Latin America in both Spanish and Portuguese." He is taking the first step by translating DSP courses from English to Spanish. Once that is complete, Ricardo and the team will translate the same material into Portuguese. "My objective is to promote Connexions in Latin America," Ricardo said, "And at the same time, bring more visibility to UTEP and to enhance the communication skills of my engineering students so that they may interact more effectively with their counterparts in emerging international markets."
The primary advantage for having content in Connexions, according to Ricardo, is that it is free for both learners and authors. He said that having content in Connexions increases its outreach. Connexions, he said, "provides easy tools for editing the materials and it enables global collaboration and constant refinement of the contents. It is multimedia: the materials can be presented over the internet, incorporating audio, video, and mathematical language, without eliminating the conventional textbook form." Ricardo also added that Connexions uses MathML, so you can copy an equation from a module on the Web and paste it into a mathematical software application for testing, experimenting, and playing with the mathematical concepts. Additionally he sees Connexions being used as an assessment tool, which is very important for engineering accreditation.
"Connexions is the most powerful tool for global dissemination of high quality educational material," Ricardo replied when asked why he chose Connexions as a method of publishing his material. "It is free, it is based on the most advanced technologies for content presentation, like XML and MathML." He also believes the idea of creating the material in a modular form makes the authoring process much easier. Ricardo added that his colleagues see that Connexions gives an easier pathway for publishing educational material. Ricardo first learned of Connexions when he was working for his PhD at Rice University with Sidney Burrus, the Maxfield & Oshman Professor Emeritus of Engineering, where Connexions was first started by Richard Baraniuk, the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
As for the future, Ricardo said, "I think we will see more and more the use of technology to allow experimentation, simulation, and interactivity between educators and learners. It will be important to convey information using a language that the new generations of learners are more familiar with, such as internet, video, audio. It will be not like replacing the textbook or the educator, but offering additional ways of connecting, of linking, and creating collaborations. In this way, both educators and learners will be the true knots of a Connexions network."See also: