Backchannelling

by Mike Meyer, Director of William G. Jackson CTL

In larger classes, students may be reluctant to raise a hand and ask a question. To overcome this trepidation, some instructors are experimenting with “backchannelling,” which gives students a text-based alternative for posing questions.

Backchanneling can be done through Twitter or other popular social media, but these often require students to have accounts. Instructors who want to try this technique may find it much simpler to use the free website todaysmeet.com.

Todaysmeet allows an instructor to create a chat room that lasts for just one class or the whole semester. Once students have the URL for that room (todaysmeet.com/ROOMNAME), they can just point a browser on their phone, laptop or tablet to it and start asking questions. Instructors can check the site periodically during class, monitor the site on their own phone or laptop, or even designate an assistant to respond to questions or aggregate responses.

If you’d like to talk more about backchanneling or share teaching resources you’ve found, email ctl@mtu.edu or stop by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in the Van Pelt and Opie Library, room 219.


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