DANCE: Discussion Affordances for Natural Collaborative Exchange

DANCE Talk: Supporting and assessing classroom discussion in an active learning seminar

DANCE Talk Series

Speaker: Ari Bader-Natal, Minerva Project
Date: January 28, 2016, 1.00pm EST (view in your time zone)
Talk: Hangout on air
Video only (YouTube)


In a small seminar classroom, how might we actively engage every student in the discussion? How might we provide each student with timely and actionable feedback on their contributions to a classroom discussion? How might we structure summative feedback so that students are evaluated not on what they produce for a final exam, but instead on what they demonstrate that they have mastered and can apply in new contexts, years later? These are a few of the questions that have guided the design of the Active Learning Forum, the core technology used to support and assess learning in every class at the Minerva Schools at KGI.

In this talk, I will introduce the Active Learning Forum, and discuss ways in which this computer-supported collaborative learning environment has been designed to support effective teaching and learning. With this background established, we can shift the discussion to whichever aspects of the Active Learning Forum that are of the most interest to this DANCE audience. This might include: the use of technologies for activity orchestration, the use of realtime feedback to help instructors moderate discussion, the use of video annotation as a basis for formative feedback, the use of a summative assessment framework that cuts across courses and over time to identify mastery and far transfer.

I encourage you to watch this video prior to the talk to get a picture of what a class looks like on the Active Learning Forum.

Speaker Bio

Ari Bader-Natal is the Principal Learning Architect at Minerva Project, where he is responsible for designing new technologies to support teaching and learning at the Minerva Schools at KGI. These include early versions of Minerva's signature seminar classroom, tools for assessing discussion participation, and tools for collaborative course design. Prior to Minerva, Ari was the Chief Learning Architect at Grockit, where he developed the company's core social learning technologies, started the company's data team, built its first platform for educational data mining, and created its doctoral research internship program. Ari holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brandeis University. As part of his doctoral dissertation research, he built peer-to-peer online learning networks to experiment with game-based mechanisms to motivate appropriate challenges among peer learners.