Increasing Instructor-Student Classroom Interaction
and Student Learning in Large Classes
The goal of this project, called Classroom Learning
Partner (CLP), is to increase instructor-student interaction and student
learning by developing software to support the use of in-class exercises.
This teaching methodology is similar to that employed by wireless polling
systems, but CLP does not limit instructors to using only close-ended questions
such as multiple-choice, matching, or true-false, which only assess recognition
rather than engaging students in higher-order tasks.
CLP extends the existing Tablet-PC-based wireless
presentation system, Classroom Presenter, to support the submission and aggregation
of student solutions to in-class exercises. Lecturing with the system, instructors
annotate their slides with digital ink displayed simultaneously on a large
screen and on student Tablet PCs. When slides containing exercises are presented,
students work through them and anonymously submit their work wirelessly.
The system software then uses artificial intelligence techniques to automatically
interpret and aggregate the student responses, enabling instructors to view
a summary of in-class student work in real time. With such information,
instructors can address student misunderstandings and adjust their lessons
In addition to developing interpretation and
aggregation software, this project has completed four studies in MIT's introductory
computer science course, 6.001. Each study has evaluated the hypothesis that
the use of Tablet-PC-based classroom systems such as Classroom Presenter
and Classroom Learning Partner increases student learning by:
Results indicate that this hypothesis holds true, and that use of
such systems and the Tablet PC may be directly responsible for an increase
in performance of students taking the MIT introductory computer science.
Particularly striking is the increase in performance of those students who
might otherwise have done poorly.
- Increasing student focus and attentiveness in class,
- Providing immediate feedback to both students and instructor
about student misunderstandings,
- Enabling the instructor to adjust course material in real time
based upon student answers to in-class exercises, and
- Increasing student satisfaction.
Current work on the project continues with the
addition of new in-class exercise types, including sketched answers, and associated
interpretation and aggregation routines. We will be conducting another learning
study in MIT's introductory chemistry course, 5.111, Spring 2008 term.