Thesis Defense: Learning from other perspectives: Benefits of In-place Annotation Systems

Speaker: Sacha Zyto , MIT CSAIL

Date: Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Public: Yes

Location: 32D-507

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Host: David Karger, MIT

Contact: David Karger,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Thesis Defense: Learning from other perspectives: Benefits of In-place Annotation Systems

Abstract: NB is an in-place collaborative document annotation website targeting students reading lecture notes and draft textbooks. Serving as a discussion forum in the document margins, NB lets users ask and answer questions about their reading material *as they are reading*. Questions, replies and comments from students and faculty members are displayed in-place and provide a new perspective on the content. NB also provides comment browsing interfaces that help scale the staff's workload of coping with reading assignments in large classes.

We describe the NB system and its evaluation in real class environments, where students used it to submit their reading assignments, ask questions and get or provide feedback. We show that this tool has been successfully incorporated into numerous classes at several institutions, and that students prefer to use our online tool to read their notes, rather than printing out copies that are missing these annotations. The data we collected indicates that NB encourages
students to comment on the class material, even students who are not verbally active in class.

To understand how and why, we initially focused on a particularly successful class deployment where the instructor adapted his teaching style to take students' comments into account. We analyzed the annotation practices that were observed - including the way geographic locality was exploited in ways unavailable in traditional
forums. We then surveyed 30 faculty members from classes where NB was substantially used and set up a A/B experiment in a edX course, where only half of the students had access to NB. We observed that contrary to previous literature results, in-class participation, in-place
annotations and forum annotations do not necessarily compete with each other. From those observations, we derived general design implications for online annotation tools in academia.

Thesis Committee:

Professor David Gossard (Chair) MIT, MechE
Professor David Karger (Advisor) MIT, EECS
Professor Sanjoy Mahajan Olin College
Professor Rob Miller MIT, EECS
Professor Maria Yang MIT, MechE

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This event is not part of a series.

Created by David Karger Email at Monday, October 07, 2013 at 7:21 PM.