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Running head: LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Interactive Learning Environment


Week 4 Assignment 2
Pauline Dunn
EDU541 Tech Tools to Manage Learning
Strayer University
Instructor: Professor Brooks

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Interactive Learning Environment

Introduction
In the modern world, education and learning have undergone diverse changes to
incorporate innovations and new experiences. Modern technology has enabled learning to reach
out from the classrooms and land at the palm of our hands. Universities and institutions have
taken advantage of the marvels of the internet and have started offering online courses that
require more or less the same capabilities and effort from the student (Carnegie Mellon
University, 2015). Classrooms have taken the shape of online forums, where students and
teachers engage in written communication as if they are physically present in the class.
Additionally, the introduction of certain computer-aided tools has caused the interaction to
become even more immersive and intuitive.
This is where online collaboration tools come in. Essentially, online collaboration allows
people to work on a single problem or product in a cumulative fashion by breaking the task into
smaller parts. One such tool is the Classroom Salon by Carnegie Mellon University
(Classroomsalon.com, 2015). Just as the name suggests, it is an online collaboration tool that
combines traditional group learning and video annotations to produce a brand new experience of
visualized learning.
Founded and developed by Professors Ananda Gunawardena and David Kaufer,
Classroom Salon was a result of years of experience with textual analytics, artificial intelligence,
and human computer interaction (Feldstein, 2012). The main idea behind the innovation was to
enable students to interact by sharing notes via annotations and highlighting that would be
superimposed on the lecture and textbook material. This would allow other students to see each

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others point of view, and aid in better understanding the written material with the help of related
visuals such as videos and animations.
The Idea behind CLS
Classroom Salon (CLS) has been defined as an interactive web-based platform designed
to promote online collaboration by exhibiting traits similar to those of combined studies
conducted in a physical environment. Coming from computer science enthusiasts, the CLS is
majorly focused upon catering to technical courses belonging to the field (Gunawardena, Tan, &
Kaufer, 2010). The interactions with the use of the application are designed to depict a social
setting among peers, where frequent agreements and disagreements result in a deeper
understanding of the course material. In a visual interaction, students are provided with a chance
to create constructive conversations via dialogue annotations and added videos for further
reference.
Historically, reading in technical courses has not been the most preferred way of learning,
as students were observed to rely more on lecture notes and quicker sources of information
present on the Internet (Tosun, 2014). Students these days prefer physical books much more than
e-books (Tosun, 2014). Reasons for not being interested in studying from e-books include the
inability to track the read work, and unable to make notes with a physical tool such as a pencil.
E-books are largely seen as a means to replace the textbook only in scenarios where the physical
book is unavailable or too expensive (Tosun, 2014).
In order to address these issues, Gunawardena, Tan, and Kaufer (2010) proposed an
innovative new idea that would allow students to retain the authenticity of the physical textbook
to a large extent by provisioning certain extensions that bring added value to online learning.
This added value was gauged by conducting a pilot study to test a group of students, and measure

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the likelihood with which they were going to engage in annotated conversation over textual
material that was shared amongst them. They were required to give their own input at predefined
checkpoints over the text, and possibly suggest corrections or alterations to others inputs. It was
anticipated that the added interaction among students may help them gain a clearer picture of the
concepts covered in the text, and at the same time, help each other out by sharing opinions
(Gunawardena, Tan, and Kaufer, 2010).
Added Methods and Tools
Highlighting
The annotation tool allows users to highlight sentences or paragraphs that they feel are of
some relevance to them, or that are important. Other than that, they can also highlight
information that they find to be incorrect or inaccurate, followed by the option of including a
dialogue box to justify their highlight. The idea behind incorrect entries comes from the fact that
students learn more when they catch mistakes and offer corrections (Gunawardena, Tan, and
Kaufer, 2010). Catching mistakes allows students t o propose their own perspective of the issue,
and allows others to see their point-of-view through their annotation boxes. In addition to
viewing other students annotations, the students also have the option of filtering out annotations
to view a specific set of results (Feldstein, 2012).
Salon Privacy
Typically, the salon size accommodates around 8-10 students at a time to reduce clutter
and help build a relationship among peers. This is similar to a traditional salon setting, where
student socialize and interact with the added advantage to learning from one another (Lam,
2014). Moreover, the instructor is provisioned to overview the progress of the students, and
guides them as necessary. The privacy settings of each salon are modifiable, and students from

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outside the salon can also view the textual inputs depending upon the privacy settings of the
salon.
Data-driven Analytics
With such immense input and output of information and text, there are several
opportunities for putting the data under processing for extracting patterns of learning. These
patterns can contain information relevant for gauging the performance of each student present in
the salon, their input frequency, and their understanding of the course. This part of learning can
even be used in the grading process of the students (Millichap & Vogt, 2012). In addition to
generating analytics, the students can view their targets and objectives in a more organized
fashion.
Conclusion
Carnegie Mellon University has introduced an innovative product that can change the
way online education is perceived. Students willing to correct each others errors and help each
other out with problem solving may find this application to be quite useful. With the progression
of online education, such applications that facilitate online lecture delivery continue to evolve
and improve. The most recent iteration of Classroom Salon has been incorporated with the video
sharing feature, where students can further avail the option of sharing and commenting on
relevant videos.

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References

Carnegie Mellon University. (2015). Collaboration tools. Retrieved from


http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/technology/collaborationtools.html
Classroomsalon.com. (2015). About Salon. Classroom Salon. Retrieved from
http://www.classroomsalon.com/
Feldstein, M. (2012). Classroom Salon: social highlighting for education. e-Literate. Retrieved
from http://mfeldstein.com/classroom-salon-social-highlighting-for-education/
Gunawardena, A., Tan, A., & Kaufer, D. (2010). Encouraging reading and collaboration using
classroom salon. ACM, Proceedings of the fifteenth annual conference on Innovation and
technology in computer science education, pp. 254-258. Retrieved from
http://ims.mii.lt/ims/konferenciju_medziaga/ITiCSE'10/docs/p254.pdf
Lam, B. (2014). Exploring self-organizing learning groups in an online learning platform:
Classroom Salon. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~ab/Salon/research/Princeton_2014.pdf
Millichap, N., & Vogt, K. (2012). Building blocks for college completion: Blended learning.
Next Generation Learning Challenges. Retrieved from
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ng1235.pdf
Tosun, N. (2014). A study on reading printed books or e-books: Reasons for student-teachers
preferences. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13(1), pp. 21-28.
Retrieved from http://www.tojet.net/articles/v13i1/1312.pdf