One of the challenges facing many levels of education is the ability to provide opportunities for student engagement. The processes of information delivery are still evident in many situations, especially in situations with lectures and increasing class sizes.
The basic structure of the backchannel is a behind the scenes discussion of the presentation by attendees and remote participants who are interested in a topic or speaker.
Conference goers have become used to the "backchannel" but in many classrooms teachers may be unaware that a backchannel exists. Students routinely text and message each other, this is often limited to off-topic and social discussion The use of proprietary and web-based backchannel solutions can begin to engage students more productively in the lecture process and to tap into how well the lecture is addressing student’s learning needs.
The Centre for eLearning has recently deployed Hotseat at Curtin. Hotseat, developed by Purdue University, integrates a suite of tools including a web application, Facebook and Twitter that can be accessed via computers, laptops, smart phones and other mobile devices like iPod Touch, iPad, and tablets. Presenters/teachers can set focus questions, assign Twitter #hashtags and control the anonymity of posts in order to draw students more fully into active participation in the lecture.
Participants will have the opportunity to have the approach explained, to trial a microblogging application live in the session and to discuss the approach, Hotseat, and alternative tools.
We hope to make this an active, practically engaged session – to that end we ask that you bring along a wifi or 3G enabled device – smart phone, tablet, iPod Touch, iPad, ultra notebook, or laptop computer if you have one available (we will have ways to include you regardless). Ideally you'll have access to a web browser – you can use Facebook if you wish, and/or Twitter. You'll need to have an account with either Facebook, Google, Gmail, AOL, Yahoo or Yahoo Mail in order to connect to our system. If you also have a Twitter account you'll be able to experience an alternative mode of interaction. It sounds very technical but in reality this is a very simple technology from a user perspective – scaffolding and guidance are included in the design of the session.
1. Introduce the concept of microblogging to improve student engagement in lectures and large classes;
2. Consider the experiences and results of implementing the process across campus;
3. Practically trial the Curtin Hotseat solution;
4. Discuss issues arising from the practical exploration of the process.