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Supporting Engagement in Asynchronous Education Scott LeeTiernan Jonathan Grudin University of Washington Microsoft Research Department of Psychology One Microsoft Way Seattle, WA 98195 Redmond, WA 98052 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com ABSTRACT comments left earlier and can add replies, comments, or A key challenge for software that supports asynchronous questions as they watch or read. Success with these distance education is to engage and guide students who are powerful features was limited by procrastination: Students not interacting in real-time. We describe a first study of two who postpone viewing the material have little time to approaches to adding interactive exercises to the viewing of review and reflect on prior comments, and little time or videotaped lectures. We found individual differences, but a incentive to add last-minute comments that others are surprising tendency to prefer more intrusive exercises. We unlikely to see or respond to. In addition, the lack of conclude with possible next steps. interaction may reduce engagement with the material. Keywords In traditional courses, exercise and quizzes help combat Distance education, interactive multimedia procrastination and encourage engagement. We extended MRAS to provide self-assessment questions timed to INTRODUCTION appear at specific points in a video lecture. Although not Videotaped lectures and presentations are already used in included in this study, students could be given links to the education, including distance education. As technological points in a lecture where questions were answered, and barriers gradually diminish, their use will increase. The instructors could be notified of student progress. “talking head” lecture may not prove to be the best form of instruction online, but the multitudes of experienced We were interested in knowing how viewers would react to lecturers, the growing ease of recording their performances, this feature, and whether they would prefer the appearance and the fact that people like to see a speaker insures that it of a question to stop the video, forcing a response, or will be a widespread resource. appear in a separate window without halting the lecture. For distributed classes, material available on demand offers DESIGN AND METHOD numerous benefits to students. They can watch them when Using MRAS, 12 participants viewed an 18-minute lecture they have time and can review portions as needed. on economic issues surrounding the Microsoft antitrust Disadvantages include reduced opportunities to discuss trial. Each annotated the video with public and private material and to get timely answers to questions. Other notes, with the goal of developing the two best arguments problems include procrastination and reduced motivation to that Microsoft is a monopoly and the two best arguments engage with the material. that Microsoft is not a monopoly. Six times during the lecture, a topically relevant question was presented. For half A much-cited Stanford study at  showed that studying of the participants, the lecture was paused until they videotaped lectures is less effective than attending a lecture responded correctly to the question in a multiple-choice or watching it live on television. Most effective is when a format (the forced response condition). Participants in the group of students meet to watch and discuss a lecture video. non-forced response condition were exposed to the same six Two studies have shown that students in different locations questions at the identical points in the lecture, but the get the same benefit with an audio connection and software questions were presented in the public annotation area as allowing simultaneous viewing [3, 5]. thought questions requiring no response and not stopping We focused on students working independently—the the video stream. completely asynchronous case. [1, 2] examined a system Following the lecture, each participant completed a ques- called MRAS that allows students to take notes, ask tionnaire and a comprehension test for the lecture material. questions, and engage in asynchronous discussions while watching videos or reading articles on-line. Viewers see RESULTS The primary measures concerned the effectiveness of each engagement device in aiding comprehension and fostering LEAVE BLANK THE LAST 2.5 cm (1”) OF THE LEFT participation as well as subjective experience of each COLUMN ON THE FIRST PAGE FOR THE engagement condition. COPYRIGHT NOTICE. Participation subjective reports. Taking the five measures together, Participation was measured by the number of annotations participants in the forced response condition reported the made, including private notes and contributions to the lecture and the exercise overall more stimulating than did public annotation forum. Participants in the two conditions participants in the non-forced response condition. were similar in terms of the total number of annotations The greater number of public annotations made by made (Mforced = 7.83, Mnon-forced = 8.5). However, participants in the non-forced condition was unexpected. participants in the non-forced response condition One possible explanation is that viewing thought questions contributed an average of 2.5 annotations to the public already in the public annotation forum created a greater annotation forum, versus an average of .67 annotations sense of public contribution that carried over into contributed by participants in the forced response condition participants’ behavior. A second possibility is that (t(10) = 2.02, p = .07, 2-tailed). participants in the forced response condition made fewer Comprehension public annotations because the forced response questions All participants scored similarly on the lecture focused their attention on their own learning experience. comprehension test, with participants in both engagement These two possibilities warrant further investigation, as they conditions averaging 5.67 out of 10 correct responses. suggest different approaches to meet different pedagogical Subjective Experience goals. Five subjective experience measures were collected using CONCLUSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS 7-point Likert scales (Figure 1). An overall trend for a Synchronizing questions with presentation of material better subjective experience in the forced-response seems a promising step to enhancing distance learning. condition emerged. In terms of perception of the lecture, Further studies could explore the indications that pausing a participants in the forced-response condition rated it as presentation for questions is the right default, although more interesting (Mforced = 5.5, Mnon-forced = 4.5), less boring students could have an option to respond as a video rolls. (Mforced = 2, Mnon-forced = 2.5), and more enjoyable (Mforced = It seems likely that less frequent interruptions will work 5.5, Mnon-forced = 5). With two-tailed significance tests these better. Much education content may well shrink from hour- effects are not individually statistically significant. long lectures to modules of 10 or 15 minutes, with exercises at the end of each. There is obvious merit in experimenting 7 with open-ended questions rather than multiple-choice, with 6 links back to the relevant material. 5 Embedded exercises or quizzes could be purely for self- 4 Forced assessment, but they could also be used to counter 3 Non-Forced procrastination. At the least intrusive, anonymous 2 summaries of class progress could be forwarded to instructors. At the other extreme, student responses could 1 be forwarded automatically to instructors, which in the case 0 of open-ended questions could allow constructive feedback, especially for responses not submitted at the last minute. e t g g lly lo bl in tin ca ya a r s Bo This is early in the exploration of pedagogic benefits of iti re n jo ar cr te En Le these technologies that are gradually becoming accessible. In k in Th REFERENCES Figure 1: Summary of subjective experience 1. Bargeron, D., Grudin, J., Gupta, A., Sanocki, E., Li, F. & LeeTiernan, S. (2002). Asynchronous collaboration Regarding the exercise, participants in the forced response around multimedia applied to on-demand education. condition felt that they learned more than those in the non- Journal of MIS, 18, 4, 117-145. forced response condition (Mforced = 5.5, Mnon-forced = 4; t(10) = 1.94, p = .08, 2-tailed). Participants in the forced- 2. Brush, A.J.B., Bargeron, D., Gupta, A., & Grudin, J. response condition also reported that they were forced to (2002). Notification for shared annotation of digital think more critically about the material (Mforced = 6.5, Mnon- documents. Proc. CHI 2002, 89-96. forced = 5.5), although this is only a mild statistical trend. 3. Cadiz, J.J., Balachandran, A., Sanocki, E., Gupta, A. & Grudin, J. (2000). Distance learning through distributed DISCUSSION collaborative video viewing. Proc. CSCW 2000, 135- Forcing participants to respond to in-line questions requires 144. more interaction with the lecture than simply presenting thought questions for consideration while viewing the 4. Gibbons, J. F., Kincheloe, W. R. & Down, K. S. lecture. This increase in interaction seems to generate a (1977). Tutored videotape instruction: a new use of more active, engaging experience, as reflected in the electronics media in education. Science, 195, 1139- 1146. 5. Sipusic, M., Pannoni, R., Smith, R., Dutra, J., Gibbons, J., and Sutherland, W. (1999). Virtual collaborative learning: A comparison between face-to-face tutored video instruction and distributed tutored video instruction (DTVI). Sun Microsystems Laboratories, Inc. TR-99-72.
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