Backstage – Designing a Backchannel for Large Lectures
Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Students and lecturers use computers in lectures. But, the standard tools give a rather insufficient structure and support for better learning results. Backstage is an adjustable backchannel environment where students can communicate by microblogs, which they can link to the presenter slides. The lecturer can get feedback by Backstage and place quizzes with an Audience Response System. Backstage is designed to facilitate specific sequences of learning activities and to enhance student
... with different functions, like asking questions anonymously via microblogs or to rate other students' questions. Both lecturers and students frequently use computers in large lectures today. Whereas there is some understanding how lecturers use computers for presentations  , little is known about how students can actively and productively use mobile devices, such as notebooks, tablets or smart phones in large lectures to better engage in learning activities and cognitively process what is being taught. Here, we present a learning environment called Backstage that allows learners to represent slides on their personal mobile devices, to take notes on those slides, and to post and answer questions to and from their peers and lecturers. We included also a feedback function as well as the possibility that students answer lecturer questions. Computer-supported learning activities in large classrooms There are a couple of ways students in large lectures use computer technology : displaying slides, taking notes, browsing the internet, using Facebook or sending IMs and emails   . The most frequent lecture-related way students use computers is to display the slides of the lecture on one's personal screen  . Lecturers often provide their slides in pdf for download before the lecture. To a lesser degree, students use computers for taking notes, especially since formats like pdf do not generally allow adding notes  . Taking notes has shown to be a good strategy for encoding and storing knowledge, especially when there are some additional strategies trained in how to take notes   . Also additional learning material could be either provided for download by the lecturer or searched for online by students themselves, which may foster learners' understanding  .