This learning design focuses on the use of interactive multimedia
animation to facilitate students' construction of knowledge
about the contractile properties and activities of muscle.
Students are provided with their own copy of the interactive
multimedia program: Sarcomotion on a CD-ROM or they
can access it from the WebCT sites for each relevant unit.
The program centres on an animation of the molecular processes
involved in muscle contraction. The animation has minimal
instruction so that the students can watch the process and
form a dynamic model in their minds.
Each of the main "characters" in the program (e.g.
calcium ions, actin molecules) can be selected and more information
can be followed up in a number of ways. Additional resources
concentrate on scale or on questions students ask about where
things come from and what they do. These questions can be
selected to pop up in a random way by a spin of the dial,
or in selected sequences. For example, students may choose
to ask the same question of each of the main characters, or
may choose to ask all the questions of just one of the characters
(or any combination in between.)
The answers to the questions are provided by text or animations
embedded in the program. The idea is that students viewing
the animation will open up a resource on top of the animation
to answer questions that occur to them as they view the animation.
This is what we call the "pile-of-textbooks" analogy
resources can be opened and closed on top of the animation
just as you would open reference books on top of something
you were studying on your desk.