Center for Academic Technology

Panos Linos

Panos Linos is a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering. He joined the faculty of Butler about ten years ago and helped create a new software engineering major within the computer science program.

Linos chose a unique technology to use in a core curriculum class he instructed. Many non-science students took the course because it fulfilled their quantitative and formal reasoning requirement and because it integrated personal robots, called Scribblers. The main object of the class was to teach students how to write computer programs, which Linos explained as "a tedious and sometimes non-intuitive material." Through the incorporation of robots, he was able to make the class more fun and interactive.

The students used a programming language called Python and wrote programs to instruct the Scribblers to do simple tasks, such as talking, drawing pictures, and dancing. The robot utilizes the computer chip as its brain and light sensors, proximity sensors, and a speaker to execute the student's program. Linos was glad that "It becomes a very interesting and fun way to introduce programming to freshmen and non-science students."

Programming the robot to do a specific task was what many of the assignments encompassed. But asking each student to present their program in class would have consumed a large amount of time. Faculty at the Center for Academic Technology introduced Linos to software called Panopto that provided a solution to his problem. Panopto allows students to record video, sound, PowerPoint, and screen capture into one presentation that can be uploaded to a class folder for submission. Linos utilized this software by requiring students to record the behavior of the robot and then submit the video as part of the programming assignment.

Linos feels that the integration of technology into his classrooms has not only improved his teaching, but has also saved him a lot of time. It has also aided students, because instead of worrying about demonstrating their assignments inside the classroom, they were allowed to concentrate on the logistical issues and fine tune as they prepared the assignment.