Development of a Browser-Based Mobile Audience Response System for Large Classrooms

Development of a Browser-Based Mobile Audience Response System for Large Classrooms

Monika Andergassen, Victor Guerra, Karl Ledermüller, Gustaf Neumann
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/jmbl.2013010104
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Didactical advantages of audience response systems (ARS) have been discussed extensively ever since they have been used in classes. However, conventional ARS bear some drawbacks, such as requiring specific hardware, generating costs (text messaging based and web service fees) and creating a dependency on external hosts. In this paper we present a browser-based ARS, which provides a platform-independent channel for the interaction between students and teachers. The authors provide a solution of an ARS for potentially large and spatially distributed classes, where the audience can provide feedback via PCs and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. The proposed system has been integrated into the e-learning system of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), one of the largest business universities worldwide. The server side implementation of an ARS brings some challenges, such as the integration into an e-learning environment, the technical feasibility due to a broad variety of possible end user devices, and user acceptance issues. This paper documents the experiences and findings of the stepwise development and deployment in large classrooms. This resulted in an enhancement of the information policy with students and an optimization of the WLAN network settings. Finally, a new, unanticipated usage scenario emerged for mobile, browser-based response systems.
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Review Of Didactical Aspects Of Audience Response Systems (Ars)

ARS are famous for their applications in quiz shows. In this setting they are used to receive real-time audience feedback. Didactical applications of ARS in an educational environment were introduced by Harden, Wayne & Donald (1968) and Dunn (1969) in 1968. Technically, they used machine readable paper based cards (see also Elliot, 2003).

Draper, Cargill, & Cutts (2002) define the following didactical reasons for using ARS:

  • 1.

    Formative feedback on learning within a class (i.e. within a contact period)

  • 2.

    Formative feedback to the teacher on the teaching (i.e. “course feedback”)

  • 3.

    Peer assessment which can be done on the spot

  • 4.

    Community mutual awareness building

  • 5.

    Experiments using human responses

  • 6.

    Initiation of discussions using the equipment

Edens (2006) finds that the use of ARS in the classroom enhances student (intrinsic) motivation. It is generally well known that motivation plays an important role in the learning process and has been intensively investigated (Caldwell, 2007; Deci, Ryan, & Williams, 1996; Perry, Vandekamp, Mercer, & Nordby, 2002; Pintrich, 2003).

Kay & LeSage (2009) conducted a comprehensive review of the literature about teaching strategies with ARS. In the 52 investigated articles, they identified four major strategies: general, motivational, assessment and learning based strategies (Table 1).

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