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William Beachley
Jun Chen
Huda Khan
Sarah Kim-Warren
Scott Zweig

1. Statement of problem-

1.1. What is your project all about? Be specific. You should operationalize your terms in
order to clarify the problem you are trying to address as well as the approach you will
pursue. If appropriate: use literature citations and references to other systems to
support your arguments and descriptions.

Traditional education within undergraduate college level courses is usually centered around lecture-based teaching methods, where information is presented by the teacher to the students, and collaboration between the teacher and students or between students during class-time is fairly restricted.

For our Semester project, we will focus on employing tools and techniques within the classroom that can allow for more collaboration between teacher and student during class so students can be more actively engaged within furthering their own learning process during class-time. Inspired by the use of “clickers” in various C.U. classes (reference to clicker term/documents), we propose a framework where students can provide feedback to the teacher during class-time as the lecture progresses where they can provide ratings or comments on their interest in the topic, whether the teacher is moving too fast or too slow for their learning style, and other related characteristics of the class or course material. The teacher will be able to view feedback from the students as a group, enabling them to integrate this feedback into their teaching style and helping the students modify the instructor’s in-class teaching to better suit their learning needs. Additionally, we will analyze the power of collaboration between students and how techniques, such as the “think-pair-share” method, can be employed within class to help provide scaffolding to students as they learn new concepts (Scott’s Homework Cartel Paper Reference). Finally, our project will consider how our tool can be extended to allow collaboration between students during class or outside of class (and link that back to the teacher’s teaching style in class?).

2. Rationale -

2.1. State the reasons why you want to explore what you are doing. Why is this a good idea for
a project? What do you believe you will learn by doing it? Derive the implications from
your project to design, learning, and collaboration.

Our Independent Research (Part I) project explored the levels of collaboration that existed outside of class between students and how collaboration helped students in their learning (Theory and application? How our reading helped us discern the factors that made collaboration successful in helping students learn, and how our surveys revealed concrete examples about successful learning through collaboration). For our Semester Project, we wished to examine tools and techniques that could provide more room for collaboration within traditional undergraduate classrooms, allowing students to become more active learners. By engaging in the analysis and implementation of our prototype tool, we will better understand the kinds of feedback that would be useful to the teacher in modifying their teaching strategy during class. Additionally, we will have to provide affordances in our design for the teachers and students to employ the interface without being distracted from the in-class activities of teaching and listening and observing. By examining collaborative learning techniques such as think-pair-share, we will better understand how these techniques can provide the necessary social support in helping individuals discover collaboration as a useful learning resource.

4. For implementation projects:

4.1. Outline and justification of technical approach — how will your program work? What
tools do you intend to use? Why do you think your approach is reasonable? What other
potential approaches seem to be feasible?

Each student will be given access to a web interface, probably through providing them access to a wireless laptop, where they will be able to input their ratings, comments, or feedback related to different sections of the course being taught. A central server will record the feedback from the students and the links between students’ comments and the sections of the course or topic being covered during class. The teacher will also be provided access to an interface that will allow them to view statistics on the collective feedback from the students.

The teacher will provide information regarding the lesson plan for a particular course and how they intend on dividing the class into different topics. The system will store this information and link student feedback to the particular topics covered during class. The feedback received by the teacher will thus be more fine-grained than simple statistics for the entire class period.

(Bill, fill in the blanks regarding Tomcat servers and implementation language? Possible implementation language).

Our approach does not overwhelm the teacher with instantaneous feedback while they are teaching the course but saves student feedback, allowing the teacher to view feedback at times of their choice during the class period. Saving the student feedback also allows the teacher to analyze students’ feedback from several past classes and chart how students’ comments have changed or progressed regarding different topics during the class sessions held so far. (So, this approach is comparatively better than clickers).

4.2. Implementation Plan — proceed in a way that you consider early implementation
efforts as prototypes to give you a deeper understanding of the problem.

After constructing this prototype, our tool can be modified by allowing collaboration among students, focusing specifically on the “think-pair-share” concept. Here, two students will be paired up and help each other with understanding concepts and homework problems. These students can be provided webspace where they can link questions and comments after class related to various topics covered during class, providing opportunities for collaboration among pairs and students as well as more feedback collected for the teacher.

5. References — List the key references, other systems, previous projects on which your work
will be based.

Already provided in Sarah’s E-mail. Also, any additional references to “Clickers” and Scott’s “Think-Pair-Share” paper.

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