Lecturer speaks for more than 80% of the time, five students out of 40 dominate any classroom discussion.
Participation serves to
- let teacher better assess level of knowledge, attention etc of students, and adapt teaching
- utilize useful prior knowledge/insights of students (examples, cases, additional information etc)
- let students engage in constructivist learning
Students need to be actively engaged in their learning [1, 21].
Skewed by students' social pressures and few speaking opportunities
- students try to present a positive image of themselves to their peers
- avoid volunteering info due to 
- evaluation anxiety
- fear of being judged by others for making a mistake
- or being the focus of attention
- those who speak generally self-confident or understand the material
- Face-to-face: yeah, uh, head nods, facial expressions, clapping, booing
Often based on multiple choice or true/false. Often used when lecturer asks explicit MC questions [10, 19].
Challenge for lecturer to anticipate key moments to query the audience, structure the lecture to accomodate this format.
If not implemented properly, can become automated “attendance taking and quiz” interface - resented by students.
- ease of interpretation (need for attention)
- this often leaves the speaker out of the loop during the event
- danger of going off-topic
- explain concepts to confused classmates, make help available, promote deeper learning
- can be tied with video recording for archival and retrieval 
- allow people access to initial thoughts of the audience in an asynchronous manner
- instant messaging
- Facebook [9, 16, 18]
- Classroom Presenter , enable students to mark directly on current slide with stylus
- Enables broad sampling of student understanding, active understanding
- Backchan.nl 
- audience organize collective questions for speaker in conference/after talk, includes role of moderator to filter
- Conversation Votes 
- participants annotated an abstract visualization of conversation with positive and negative votes to highlight agreement during conversation
- in small groups, this anonymous feedback increased the level of participation from those less satisfied with previous conversations
Quickly communicate the “mood” of the audience (using custom balls) 
Distinct categories of low and high expressivity emerge
- low expressivity limit what a student can communicate, but ensure feedback can be quickly interpreted
- high expressivity allow students vast communication capabilities, but require more focused attention for lecturer and students
Always on vs controlled by the presenter
a realtime depiction of interaction meant to augment natural face-to-face environment
Captures ephemeral moments in conversation and brings them into the public view through visualization. In our previous work, social mirrors displayed abstract visualizations to depict participation in conversation.
The resulting display of conversational dominance, non-participation, and turn taking encouraged more balanced conversation .
In these social mirrors, one shared visualization of conversation was projected centrally for all participants to see.
Based on idea of social mirrors, but differences:
- many more participants
- architecture of space different from layout of small group interacting around a small table
- natural asymmetry lecturer-audience
- use of individual interfaces for each participant
- shortened time component, as opposed to full history present
Observing active, engaged classroom of 100+ students to see what students say. Lecturers were rated as among the best in the department. Noted all student responses to understand what students want to say during class.
- questions (on topic)
- information (adding)
- agreement/disagreement (answering lecturer's q)
- slow down/redo (procedural)
- cannot hear/repeat (procedural)
Used categories from above to group similar responses, highlight important categories of questions.
- Three researchers independently drew graphics they felt captured messages
- 5-15 images per message
- survey of 54 CS undergrads to test icon designs
- eliminated slow down/speak up, ended up with four categories
Initial prototypes borrowed design components from Conversation Clock and Conversation Votes [5, 6], incorporated feedback into a timeline that structured the activity. Good for archival, required much attention to understand during lecture.
- Java applet accessed from computer/mobile device
- Large public display in front
Input used to capture only one comment, history of feedback on public display, limited to history of most recent comments (based on needs of lecturer).
Information, Question, Yes/Agree, No/Disagree. Info and Q can be augmented by 40 character message, yes/no allow them to answer questions quickly.
Messages on public display grouped by icon, icon group with most messages on top with larger icon.
Can only send one signal every 10 seconds to not flood.
Messages fade from black to grey, before disappearing. Message count next to icon.
- Don't want lecturers overwhelmed
- If question goes unanswered and disappears, encourage students to ask again, or raise hand (see that others want to know the same thing)
- Required second year course with 180 students, instructor not affiliated with research team
- Six course sessions: three without augmentation, three with FSM.
- Average of 100 students in attendance.
- Pre-survey and post-survey on participation
- Observe student participation.
Students not comfortable asking questions or clarification during class, more comfortable in smaller recitations.
Post-survey students felt it was easier to participate in the classroom. Recognized difficulty of maintaining order, maybe make semi-anonymous.
With FSM, classrom dialog was more involved, lecturer felt she was talking to rather than at people, students took more proactive role in directing conversation to points that were not clear.
Initial sessions very little participation.
Proactive using FSM, asking questions 11 times:
- ask questions
- keep professor from moving too quickly
- answer questions posed by professor
- most on-topic messages began with or contained a question for the professor interesting axis, question from professor to students, or from students to professor... or students->students?
In backchan.nl, some users voted up questions for humor .
In FSM, there were many off-topic messages.
- distracting off-topic messages
- relevant messages that bring in new information/topics - can cause planned material to not be covered
Does FSM encourage students who are already engaged to further surpass their peers, or genuinely help students who need a small boost to get involved? (Ie. who uses it?)
Plugin Backlinks: Nothing was found.
Information: Students add their own connection to outside subjects.
Agreement/Disagreement: Answering a Lecturer’s question.
Slow Down/Redo: Students did not understand the lecturer.
Cannot Hear/Repeat: Students did not hear the lecturer. p. 4
Our list was very similar to feedback available in other work to mark up a presentation slide . We began to investigate this set of six messages for our prototypes. These six messages would serve as categories with the ability for students to include a short text message for explanation. The message categories serve as a means to p. 4
identify and group similar responses and highlight important categories like questions. In parallel with our interface design, we investigated imagery for each of these six categories of messages (described in the next section). Due to this process, “Slow Down/Redo” and “Cannot Hear/Repeat” were eliminated. Suitable icons could not be found and they easily be replaced by an “Information” message with appropriate text. p. 5
Many of our initial interface prototypes borrowed design components from the Conversation Clock and Conversation Votes [5, 6], they incorporated the feedback into a timeline that structured the activity throughout the session. In some cases, we included indications of speaker. Much like a standard instant messenger, the full history of messages could be read through at any time. These interfaces showed potential for the review of archival classroom data, but did not serve our purpose of encouraging classroom interaction. These prototypes, tested amongst our own group, required too much attention to adequately understand. p. 5
After refining the initial prototypes, we settled on a simple interface students could use without pulling their attention too far from the lecturer. Thus the input of the FSM was used only for capturing one comment. The history of feedback was only seen on the public display and limited that history to the most recent comments. Additionally, the needs of the lecturer necessitated this type of design. The lecturer needed to be able to read feedback from the hundreds in the audience while still being able to teach effectively. In past studies, a social mirror was primarily viewed by the listeners (and not the speaker) in conversation because they had more free attention . In this design, the captured feedback of conversation is significantly pared down, so that the lecturer can receive the benefits from the social mirror with minimal attention. Therefore, current comments/questions are displayed so as not to overwhelm the viewers with a long history. p. 5
The FSM interface passes information through icons. These graphics serve to simplify the message so that the lecturer might easily understand the classroom without reading too much content. Based on informal observation of classroom sessions and prior work , we designed icons based on the messages earlier: “I have a question,” “I have information/an answer,” “Yes/agree,” “No/disagree,” “Speak Up,” “Slow Down.” Three researchers independently drew any graphic that they felt reasonably captured these messages. We combined them into sets for each category, with a total of 5–15 images for each message. p. 5
We conducted a survey of Computer Science undergraduates to test our icon designs. A total of 54 Computer Science undergraduates completed our survey. Their feedback identified 17 icons that convey the intended message. Figure 1 shows all 17 icons. None of the icons for “Slow Down” conveyed an adequate message to the student. We eliminated this message, as well as the “Speak Up” messages in favor of a simpler 4-icon interface. Students can use the Information and Question messages with additional text to signal “Slow Down” and “Speak Up.” p. 5
There are two FSM interfaces — the student’s client interface for a computer or handheld device (Figure 2) and a larger public screen for the lecturer and audience (Figure 3). The public display is situated in the front of the room, though the lecturer sees the public display on a personal screen. The four different preselected icons categorize student responses in the student interface. The icons represent: Information, Questions, yes/agree, no/disagree. Of the four categories or signals, the Information and Question signals can be augmented by a 40-character message. The short messages allow students to clarify their questions or possible answers when there is no opportunity to speak while the yes/no buttons allows students to answer simple questions quickly. p. 7
All messages on the public display are grouped by their associated icon to increase legibility for the speaker. The speaker can look up and see many questions that need to be addressed or they can glance over answers that p. 7
students provided via the display. p. 8
The icon group with the most messages moves to the top of the screen with a larger icon. The most recent message of this icon appears at the top of that icon in white text set against the black background. As a message ages, it fades to grey before finally disappearing after a pre-configured time. For icons with multiple messages, a count is displayed to the left of the icon. p. 8
Messages on the public display are limited to recent messages. Only the most recent minute of activity is visible; each message fades in brightness over the minute before disappearing from view. The rationale for this design was two fold: (1) we did not want the lecturers to be confused or overwhelmed by reading old questions from a prior part of the lecture and (2) if a question goes unanswered and disappears, this removal may encourage a student to verbalize the question in class or to repost it. One of our main goals is to encourage more class interaction. If a student can “see” that they are not alone in their confusion, they may be less apprehensive to speak out and ask a question. p. 8
Once a student sends a signal via posting an icon, they are blocked from sending additional signals for a brief period (10 seconds in our pilot) to discourage excessive social chatter and monopolization of the channel. While there is some room for abuse as with the backchan.nl system, where some users voted up questions for humor , the public availability of the channel is ultimately at the discretion of the lecturer. p. 8
We conducted a pilot study to investigate the FSM in the classroom. We began by observing the participation levels before the introduction of the FSM and again with the FSM in place. For this, we observed a required second year course with roughly 180 registered students at the beginning of the semester. The instructor was not affiliated with our research team. We observed a total of six course sessions: three initially without any augmentation, and three with the addition of the FSM. During observation, an average of 100.0 students were in attendance, though there were p. 8
Prior to testing the FSM in class, we sent a pre-survey and described the use of the FSM. The survey inquired about the student's comfort level while participating in class versus their smaller discussion sections. Feedback from the survey confirmed that students are not comfortable asking questions or asking for clarification during class, though they are more comfortable asking in their smaller recitation sections. Similarly, they recognize that they do not participate or ask questions during class (Figure 5). p. 10
Our initial observations showed little interaction between audience and lecturer over the course of three 50-minute sessions. The only activity from the audience was in response to questions posed by the lecturer. For example, students were asked “n is divisible by what?” and “What is the cardinality of set Q?” in reference to a proof. The class averaged about four responses per class. The students initiated zero interactions themselves, five of the twelve responses were general indefinite murmurs from the class, and two responses involved raising hands. Various sets of 1–3 unidentified students spoke up to answer the remaining six questions. p. 10
We tested the FSM in three class sessions and found the students were proactive in using the system. In the classroom, the lecturer used a central projection screen to work through problems by hand while a smaller screen displayed the public display to the right of the larger screen (Figure 6). At the lecture podium, the lecturer also had a copy of the public display available during the class activity. p. 10
With the system in place, Students initiated dialog with the lecturer by asking questions 11 times, compared to zero without the system. When on topic, students used the Fragmented Social Mirror to ask questions of the professor, keep the professor from moving on too quickly, and to answer any questions the professor posed. Figure 7 summarizes the participation in each of the 6 classes. Most of the on-topic dialogs either began with or contained a question for the instructor. They lead to discussions with the instructor and information to enrich the class. However, there p. 10
were also many off-topic messages. These messages were irrelevant to the class topic and were used to draw the attention of other classmates away from the lecture material for their own entertainment. p. 11
Example FSM Dialogs p. 11
In this first example, students requested information that the professor was not trying to teach but established an interesting aside on history related to the lesson: p. 11
Possibility of getting off topic - stuff that is interesting but wasn't planned to be covering. Problem if lecture is planned very tight - going off topic means planned topics must "fall out" p. 11
However, with the addition of initiating comments, there was also an increase in comments solely intended to draw attention away from lecture. These messages often had nothing to do with the lecture or a question tended to come in bursts in order to overwhelm the public display for a short time. As an example of such a burst: p. 12
The lecturer was inclined to read them, see that they were not relevant and either laugh, if it were funny, or state “I don’t know what this means.” However, the increase of messages also meant that the lecturer was more likely to miss relevant exchanges where a student was asking for help: p. 13
We had only planned to gather initial observations to refine the system in these first sessions; however, the instructor was excited to see the students participating and invited us to return with the system for further studies. After the lectures, she indicated that it's always been hard to get this many students to say anything, even with encouragement. The simplicity of the display was also deemed useful, as she could read the questions with a glance. Additionally, the asynchronous nature allowed students to ask their questions while she was still explaining — thus allowing her to work the question into that explanation or come back to it later. Student feedback indicated the device was useful as they “didn't have to try to get the professors attention” by raising a hand from the back of the lecture. p. 13
Students also saw the benefit of the interface, and felt it was easier to participate in the classroom (Figure 8). However, they recognized the difficulty of maintaining order in the anonymous display and provided suggestions to keep the interface on topic. One such suggestion was to make the display semi-anonymous; implement a publicly anonymous interface that retains the identity on the lecturer's display. In this way the instructor could call out any abuse of the display, while protecting the identity of any others who were uncomfortable commenting in front of the class. A similar suggestion would simply log the identities for review after class. p. 13
In the sessions with the FSM, the classroom dialog was more involved. The lecturer felt like she was talking to people rather than at people while the students took a more proactive role in directing conversation to points that were not understandable. With 100 students, evaluation anxiety limits the individuals willing to speak - however we have shown that anonymous feedback can break the barrier and include more students. p. 14
The Fragmented Social Mirror indicates that the use of text based anonymous feedback has potential for promoting engagement in the classroom. A long term study could investigate the effects on learning outcomes: does the FSM encourage students who are already engaged in class to further surpass their peers, or does it genuinely help students who just need a small boost to get involved? p. 16
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