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Interactive Backchannel System for Students and Academics
The advancement of information and communication technology has appreciably influenced the development of education. This chapter explores the use of digital backchannel systems as an innovative approach to encourage interaction and engagement in lectures in the sense that students can use them to share their thoughts about different aspects of the lecture, without interrupting the ongoing session. The research has shown the effectiveness of such systems to help maintain communication in class, which is generally difficult for a large cohort. Additionally, lecturers can gather real-time online feedback from students, during the lecture itself, which can immensely help them to understand and fulfil the potential needs of the students. In particular, the anonymous feature of implicit feedback from backchannel systems helps students to overcome their passivity in class. This chapter presents 'Interact', a digital backchannel system, which takes the form of a web and android application, offering distinct features for students and lecturers. Detailed design of the system is discussed. The results of its real-class implementation demonstrate that the system helps to improve teaching and develop effective learning, with the aid of automatic processing, summarization and visualization of student feedback obtained through comments, questions and rating concepts.