Taking their cue from social media, educators at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a social networking application called Classroom Salon that engages students in online learning communities that effectively tap the collective intelligence of groups.
Thousands of high school and university students used Classroom Salon (CLS), http://www.classroomsalon.org/, this past academic year to share their ideas about texts, news articles and other reading materials or their critiques of each others' writings. With the support of the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CLS will be used in an innovative experiment at the University of Baltimore to see if it can help students who are in danger of failing introductory courses or otherwise dropping out of college.
"Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have captured the attention of young people in a way that blogs and online discussion forums have not," said Ananda Gunawardena, associate teaching professor in the Computer Science Department, who developed CLS with David S. Kaufer, professor of English. "With Classroom Salon, we've tried to capture the sense of connectedness that makes social media sites so appealing, but within a framework that that allows groups to explore texts deeply. So it's not just social networking for the sake of socializing but enhancing the student experience as readers and writers."
In CLS, class members can read assigned texts and then annotate them with online editing tools. These observations can then be shared with the group using CLS's novel interactive tools, which can highlight "hot spots" that spark discussion within a document, cluster similar comments and identify which comments are most influential.
"Studies show that people working in teams are able to arrive at better and more creative solutions than people working alone, and this is particularly true in reading and writing tasks. However, that collective effort is difficult to achieve in formal education settings," Kaufer said. "Class time is limited and most online course management systems tend to be driven by the instructor's questions. Classroom Salon, by contrast, makes possible more genuinely student-centered collaborative work."
All students can benefit from the kind of collective intelligence CLS makes possible, but Kaufer and Gunawardena suggest that at-risk students may benefit the most because CLS also can easily be used to personalize instruction for specific individuals and groups.
That idea will be tested in a new program, funded by a $250,000 grant through the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative. Nancy Kaplan, professor and executive director of the School of Information Arts and Technologies at the University of Baltimore, working with collaborators at Carnegie Mellon, will combine CLS and materials developed for Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative, http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/, with traditional face-to-face instruction to create a sustainable social learning model.
The researchers will see if this new approach will help students at the University of Baltimore, an urban, open-admission institution where about half of the incoming students fail to graduate within eight years. Many are first-generation college students who attend part-time, come from low-income families, and require remedial math and writing courses.
Gunawardena and Kaufer also are exploring the commercial potential of CLS through Carnegie Mellon's Project Olympus, a program that bridges the gap between research and the marketplace by providing faculty and students with start-up advice, incubator space and business connections. The National Science Foundation, Innovation Works and the Heinz Endowments have supported the development of CLS.
Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences