Four years ago - academic year 2013-2014 - in order to improve the student’s interest and performance, I decided to introduce interaction/interactivity to the biochemistry course at the beginning of the biology curriculum at Université d’Artois, Lens, France.
With the members of my team and with the help of the ‘Service Universitaire de la Pédagogie’ (SUPArtois) we used the constructive alignment principle, refined the syllabus and re-drafted the teaching program to introduce active learning and an organization of the activities that promotes the participation of all the students and help their understanding. After the intended learning outcomes were defined we gradually adapted the contents of the courses and included interaction. We also created teaching resources available through the university intranet in order to complete the classroom-based work using interactivity. The use of clicker-questions for formative assessment for large student groups completed the teaching approach during the last two years.
Last academic year I thought a lot how to implement an innovative way that makes the students learn threshold concepts, a kind of “co-learning” (learn-pooling) that I called ‘Bla-Bla Cours’ in the image of ‘Bla-Bla Car’ for carpooling.
Klaxoon (klaxoon.com) helped me to fulfil my wishes! It offers a diversified collection of apps that maximises collaboration within a group, encourages the sharing of experiences and promotes continuous improvement. Various activities are available: Meeting, Vote, Adventure, Quiz, Survey, Capsule, Challenge, Brainstorming, Instant messages, etc.
I used one ‘Network’ - workspace focused on a topic - for each individual course. To implement ‘Bla-Bla Cours’ I mainly used the app “Capsule” that can contain up to 300 pages and allows to present a subject/concept using text, images, mini-videos, gather the opinion of the participants, answer to quizzes, evaluate etc.. Thus, ‘Bla-Bla Cours’ is an assembly of asynchronous activities. Each activity is dedicated to one subject/concept and students can engage and contribute according to their inspiration and needs.
Klaxoon also turned out very helpful for face-to-face synchronous activities. The students use their device - smartphones, tactile tablets and laptops - to visualise what the teacher presents. For example, the app ‘Meeting’ help to manage lectures. All the activities are displayed in the ‘Flux’ and students can take notes directly on the displayed documents. They can interact and ask questions using instant messages, answer to questions, send complementary information, contribute to word clouds, to brainstorms etc.
At the end of the ‘Meeting’ Klaxoon automatically generates reports including the content of the flux and valuable statistics.
Students can evaluate the session and the instructor can generate a feedback. All the documents presented are displayed in the flux and remain available for future visualisation.