Pohl, Alexander; Gehlen-Baum, Vera; Bry, François (2012): Enhancing the Digital Backchannel Backstage on the Basis of a Formative User Study. In: International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning - iJET, Vol. 7, Nr. 1: S. 33-41




Contemporary higher education with its large audiences suffers from passivity of students. Enhancing the classroom with a digital backchannel can contribute to establishing and fostering active participation of and collaboration among students in the lecture. Therefore, we conceived the digital backchannel Backstage specifically tailored for the use in large classes. At an early phase of development we tested its core functionalities in a small-scale user study. The aim of the study was to gain first impressions of its adoption, and also to form a basis for further steps in the conception of Backstage. Regarding adoption we particularly focused on how Backstage influences the participants' questioning behavior, a salient aspect in learning. We observed that during the study much more questions were uttered on Backstage than being asked without backchannel support. Regarding the further development of Backstage we capitalized on the participants' usability feedback. The key of the refinement is the integration of presentation slides in Backstage, which leads to an interesting reconsideration of the user interactions of Backstage.