Saturday, July 16, 2011

Screen Monitors and Online Learning

Recently, I had the opportunity to view a learner's computer screen using the screen sharing features of a popular virtual video-conferencing service. What happened was that I received a telephone call form a learner regarding a spreadsheet assignment. Several moments into the call (and the learner's verbal description of their work thus far), I suggested that we open a video-conference so that I could see the learner's computer screen as we discussed the homework in more detail.

However, once the learner's computer screen became visible, I was surprised to see a relatively small window (probably a laptop screen) that the learner was relying upon to "see" the spreadsheet problem at hand. In fact, the learner was struggling to pan through the spreadsheet, which required significantly more columns and rows than the learner could possibly display.

The point of my story is to highlight the need to "see" what you are doing while writing or working with complex data, and to suggest that all online learners consider investing in a high-resolution monitor at least as large as that shown below:

Samsung SyncMaster T240HD (24" LCD; 1920 x 1200 pixels)

The above is a photograph of the high-resolution monitor here on my desk. Notice that the monitor displays two full pages of text (top to bottom and left to right). Also, spreadsheets are much more assessible (and understandable) in the larger screen display. I cannot imagine reading ebooks, documents, or complex spreadsheets (for hours) on anything smaller than that above.

So, if you are one of the millions of learners pursuing online education and you are relying upon a relatively small laptop monitor, then consider investing in a high-resolution computer monitor. Your eyes will thank you and your learning experience (and grades) will no doubt prove more rewarding.

PS: The above advice applies as well to online instructors struggling to read learner assignments on their laptop displays -- if I am describing your situation, consider ordering a high-resolution monitor now...

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