During the typical classroom learning experience, students are often asked to sit passively, listen, and take notes while the faculty member lectures. The concept of a "backchannel" provides a venue for students to ask questions, reflect on their learning, and to dialogue during a presentation, either with one another and/or also the presenter.
Backchannel communication is a secondary conversation that takes place at the same time as a conference session, lecture, or instructor-led learning activity. This might involve students using a chat tool or Twitter to discuss a lecture as it is happening, and these background conversations are increasingly being brought into the foreground of lecture interaction. Digital technologies allow background discussions—which have always been a component of classes, conferences, and presentations—to be brought out of the shadows and, perhaps, incorporated as a formal part of learning activities. Instructors and presenters alike should be aware of this dynamic and the opportunity it presents to add another dimension to learning. To learn more about backchannel communication, see 7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communications by Educause.
We've setup a backchannel for this workshop using the free HootCourse, permitting students to participate using either Twitter or Facebook and for the conversation to take place privately (ie: not open to the public). Click here to join our backchannel.
For demonstration purposes, the backchannel is also embedded to the right →
Members of the HootCourse (who joined the course using their Twitter account) who tweet using hashtag #CSUweb20 will see those tweets automatically added to the HootCourse.