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Project Proposal: A Classroom Collaboration System

Team Description

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

Other works: design, documentation, others?

Statement of Problem

In this project, we will design and implement a classroom collaboration system for enhancing the collaboration in college classes, especially big classes. The system will be used during a class. Generally speaking, students can send instant feedback (e.g. a general feedback like clicking button ¡°this is hard¡± or a specific feedback like a question) to teachers, who will then take respective actions either immediately or in future lectures to create better learning experience for students. Furthermore, by linking a student¡¯s feedback with the context where the feedback is made, we can create a detailed profile for each student. With these profiles, we can promote the collaboration among students out-of-class, e.g. a group study session for students who have same difficulty.

The goal of this system is to support more active and rich communication between students and teachers within a class, promote collaboration among students out-of-class, and finally create better learning experience for students. Our hypothesis is that better collaboration leads to better learning. We are assuming that our system is going to be more sophisticated and powerful than existing systems.


Under good collaboration, students are more active, more engaged and more creative, therefore achieving better learning. However, collaboration in big classes, where lecture is the main teaching style, is often very limited. We want to design technology to enhance and promote collaboration in big classes.

Through this project, we will learn how to design a system for a specific domain; we will learn how collaboration can be enhanced and promoted in college classes and how technology can help; we will learn how to collaboratively get the project well done.

Outline and Justification of Technical Approach

We will implement the system as a web service. We will ask a user to login in order to use the system, therefore we can show specific user interface according to whether this user is a teacher or a student. The reason we choose web service is that it is easy to access. There is no requirement on the user device.

Implementation Plan

We will first implement a prototype with simple functions. For example, for students, we only provide a couple of buttons; and instead of creating nice statistical visualization, we only show teachers the number of clicks on each button. The goal of this first try is to make sure that the implementation is doable. After that, we will add new functions into the system gradually. Our final goal is to support a PDA interface for students. But in this project, we probably won¡¯t be able to do that. Another goal, which is also beyond this project, is to link this in-class system with other collaboration systems that will support student-to-student collaboration out-of-class.


  • ClassTalk,
  • Collaborative learning literature
  • Classroom collaboration literature
  • Classroom interactive system literature
  • Implementation technology related reference
  • Clickers,

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