Have a question? Just ask it: using an anonymous mobile discussion platform for student engagement and peer interaction to support large group teaching

  • Elaine Tan Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Adrian Small Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Paul Lewis Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Keywords: mobile learning, technology-enhanced engagement, peer support, anonymous engagement, large cohort teaching

Abstract

This article analyses the pilot of an anonymous question and answer mobile application with a large cohort of undergraduate students (460) enrolled on an Operations Strategy Management module. The mobile application allowed students to pose anonymous questions to both peers and staff, create replies and vote on questions posted by other users. The aim of the pilot was to evaluate how this application could be used to enhance communication, engagement and student learning both inside and outside of class time to overcome some of the challenges presented by large cohort teaching. An initial evaluation was undertaken exploring both the analytics attached to the platform and a thematic analysis of the posts. The initial findings of the pilot were positive, with the majority of students installing and regularly accessing the application with use increasing over time. The questions posed demonstrated engagement beyond surface-level memorisation of module content, and there were indications that the application could be beneficial in supporting student community awareness and interaction within large cohorts.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References


Aagard, H., Bowen, K. & Olesova, L. (2010) ‘Hotseat: opening the backchannel in large lectures’, Educause Quarterly, vol. 33, p. 2.


Bandura, A. (1997) Self-Efficacy, Worth Publishers, Freeman, New York.


Baron, D., et al., (2016) ‘Investigating the effects of a backchannel on university classroom interactions: a mixed-method case study’, Computers & Education, vol. 94, pp. 61–76. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2015.11.007


Bergstrom, T., Harris, A. & Karahalios, K. (2011) ‘Encouraging initiative in the classroom with anonymous feedback’, in Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2011: 13th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, eds P. Campos, et al., Lisbon, Portugal, September 5–9, 2011, Proceedings, Part I. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 627–642.


Black, E.W., Mezzina, K. & Thompson, L.A. (2016) ‘Anonymous social media? Understanding the content and context of Yik Yak’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 57, pp. 17–22. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.043


Camiel, L.D., et al., (2014) ‘Twitter as an in-class backchannel tool in a large required pharmacy course’, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 78, p. 67. doi: 10.5688/ajpe78367


Cavanagh, M. (2011) ‘Students’ experiences of active engagement through cooperative learning activities in lectures’, Active Learning in Higher Education, vol. 12, pp. 23–33. doi: 10.1177/1469787410387724


Chou, C. (2003) ‘Interactivity and interactive functions in web-based learning systems: a technical framework for designers’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 34, pp. 265–279.


Ciampa, K. (2014) ‘Learning in a mobile age: an investigation of student motivation’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 30, pp. 82–96. doi: 10.1111/jcal.12036


d’Inverno, R. (2003) ‘Using a personal response system for promoting student interaction’, Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, vol. 22, pp. 163–169. doi: 10.1093/teamat/22.4.163


Draper, S.W. & Brown, M.I. (2004) ‘Increasing interactivity in lectures using an electronic voting system’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 20, pp. 81–94.


Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989) ‘Building theories from case study research’, Academy of Management Review, vol. 14, pp. 532–550. doi: 10.5465/AMR.1989.4308385


Elavsky, C.M., Mislan, C. & Elavsky, S. (2011) ‘When talking less is more: exploring outcomes of Twitter usage in the large-lecture hall’, Learning, Media and Technology, vol. 36, pp. 215–233. doi: 10.1080/17439884.2010.549828


Ellison, N.B., et al., (2016) ‘The question exists, but you don’t exist with it’: strategic anonymity in the social lives of adolescents’, Social Media + Society, vol. 2, pp. 1–13. doi: 10.1177/2056305116670673


Exeter, D.J., et al., (2010) ‘Student engagement in very large classes: the teachers’ perspective’,. Studies in Higher Education, vol. 35, pp. 761–775. doi: 10.1080/03075070903545058


French, S. & Kennedy, G. (2017) ‘Reassessing the value of university lectures’, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 22, pp. 639–654. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2016.1273213


Gikas, J. & Grant, M.M. (2013) ‘Mobile computing devices in higher education: student perspectives on learning with cellphones, smartphones & social media’, The Internet and Higher Education, vol. 19, pp. 18–26. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2013.06.002


Graham, C.R., et al., (2007) ‘Empowering or compelling reluctant participators using audience response systems’, Active Learning in Higher Education, vol. 8, pp. 233–258. doi: 10.1177/1469787407081885


Hatun Ataş, A. & Delialioğlu, Ö. (2017) ‘A question–answer system for mobile devices in lecture-based instruction: a qualitative analysis of student engagement and learning’, Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 75–90. doi: 10.1080/10494820.2017.1283331


Heaslip, G., Donovan, P. & Cullen, J.G. (2014) ‘Student response systems and learner engagement in large classes’, Active Learning in Higher Education, vol. 15, pp. 11–24.


Junco, R., Heibergert, G. & Loken, E. (2011) ‘The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 27, pp. 119–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2010.00387.x


Kang, R., Brown, S. & Kiesler, S. (2013) ‘Why do people seek anonymity on the internet?: Informing policy and design’, in Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM Press, pp. 2657–2666. doi: 10.1145/2470654.2481368


Kang, R., Dabbish, L.A. & Sutton, K. (2016) ‘Strangers on Your Phone: Why People Use Anonymous Communication Applications’, in Proceedings of the 19th ACM conference on computer-supported cooperative work & social computing, ACM Press, pp. 359–370. doi: 10.1145/2818048.2820081


Kenney, J.L. (2012) ‘Getting results: small changes, big cohorts and technology’, Higher Education Research & Development, vol. 31, pp. 873–889. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2012.672402


Krüger-Ross, M., Waters, R. & Farwell, T. (2013) ‘Everyone’s all a-Twitter about Twitter: three operational perspectives on using Twitter in the classroom’, In K. Kyeong-Ju Seo (Ed.), Using Social Media Effectively in the Classroom: Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, and More, Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 117–130.


Lahlafi, A. & Rushton, D. (2016) ‘Mobile phones: not a distraction in the classroom but a means of engagement?’, in Innovative Business Education Design for 21st Century Learning, eds P. Daly, et al. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 7–23. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-32622-1_2


Lee, J.-S., et al., (2017) ‘What people do on Yik Yak: analyzing anonymous microblogging user behaviors’, in Social Computing and Social Media. Applications and Analytics, ed G. Meiselwitz, Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 416–428. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-58562-8_32


Li, Q. & Literat, I. (2017) ‘Misuse or misdesign? Yik Yak on college campuses and the moral dimensions of technology design’,. First Monday, vol. 22. doi: 10.5210/fm.v22i7.6947


Lin, M.-F.G., Hoffman, E.S. & Borengasser, C. (2013) ‘Is social media too social for class? A case study of Twitter use’, Tech Trends, vol. 57, pp. 39–45. doi: 10.1007/s11528-013-0644-2


Lowe, B. & Laffey, D. (2011) ‘Is Twitter for the birds?: using Twitter to enhance student learning in a marketing course’, Journal of Marketing Education, vol. 33, pp. 183–192. doi: 10.1177/0273475311410851


Martin, F. & Ertzberger, J. (2013) ‘Here and now mobile learning: an experimental study on the use of mobile technology’, Computers & Education, vol. 68, pp. 76–85. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2013.04.021


Mazur, E. (1997) ‘Peer Instruction: Getting Students to Think in Class’, in AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 399, pp. 981–988. doi: 10.1063/1.53199


McKenzie, W.A., et al., (2013) ‘A blended learning lecture delivery model for large and diverse undergraduate cohorts’, Computers & Education, vol. 64, pp. 116–126. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2013.01.009


Mercier, E., Rattray, J. & Lavery, J. (2015) ‘Twitter in the collaborative classroom: micro-blogging for in-class collaborative discussions’, International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 3, p. 83–99. doi: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2015.070764


Miyake, N. & Norman, D.A. (1979) ‘To ask a question, one must know enough to know what is not known’, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, vol. 18, pp. 357–364.


Namey, E., Guest, G., Thairu, L. & Johnson, L. (2008) ‘Data reduction techniques for large data sets’, in Handbook for team-based qualitative research, eds G. Guest & K.M. MaCQueen, Altamira Press, Lanham, MD, pp. 137–162.


Patterson, B., Kilpatrick, J. & Woebkenberg, E. (2010) ‘Evidence for teaching practice: the impact of clickers in a large classroom environment’, Nurse Education Today, vol. 30, pp. 603–607. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2009.12.008


Prince, M. (2004) ‘Does active learning work? A review of the research’, Journal of engineering education, vol. 93, no. 3, pp. 223–231.


Roberts, L. & Rajah-Kanagasabai, C. (2013) ‘I’d be so much more comfortable posting anonymously’: identified versus anonymous participation in student discussion boards’, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 29, pp. 612–625.


Robison, M. & Connell, R.S. (2017) ‘Harnessing Yik Yak for good: a study of students? Anonymous library feedback’, Journal of Web Librarianship, vol. 11, pp. 35–55. doi: 10.1080/19322909.2016.1236001


Rothstein, D. & Santana, L. (2011) ‘Teaching students to ask their own questions’, Harvard Education Letter, vol. 27, pp. 1–3.


Saunders, F.C. & Hutt, I. (2015) ‘Enhancing large-class teaching: a systematic comparison of rich-media materials’, Higher Education Research & Development, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 1233–1250.


Savenski, M., Chou, S. & Roy, D. (2016) ‘Tracking the Yak: an empirical study of Yik Yak’,. Proceedings of the Tenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2016), Presented at the International Conference on Web and Social Media, Cologne, Germany, pp. 671–674.


Stowell, J.R. (2015) ‘Use of clickers vs. mobile devices for classroom polling’, Computers & Education, vol. 82, 329–334. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2014.12.008


Tiernan, P. (2014) ‘A study of the use of Twitter by students for lecture engagement and discussion’, Education and Information Technologies, vol. 19, pp. 673–690. doi: 10.1007/s10639-012-9246-4


Tormey, R. & Henchy, D. (2008) ‘Re-imagining the traditional lecture: an action research approach to teaching student teachers to “do” philosophy’, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 13, pp. 303–314. doi: 10.1080/13562510802045337


van der Meij, H. (1988) ‘Constraints on question asking in classrooms’, Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 80, 401–405. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.80.3.401


Wang, A.I. (2015) ‘The wear out effect of a game-based student response system’, Computers & Education, vol. 82, pp. 217–227.


Yin, R.K. (1981) ‘The case study crisis: some answers’, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 26, pp. 58–65. doi: 10.2307/2392599
Published
2020-01-22
How to Cite
TanE., SmallA., & LewisP. (2020). Have a question? Just ask it: using an anonymous mobile discussion platform for student engagement and peer interaction to support large group teaching. Research in Learning Technology, 28. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v28.2323
Section
Original Research Articles