Webdialogos: A prototype for active learning with an online fishbowl video conversation

This post is written to share and to document some screenshots from the latest prototype designed and developed in my research group. The prototype is called Webdialogos.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 9.37.39

Active learning refers to practices where students do more than just listen lectures, read learning materials and do exams. In an active learning students are developing thinking skills. They are guided to analyse, synthesis and regulate their own learning endeavours. The emphasis is on students own exploration on the topics of the course as well as their values and attitudes on them.

In the Media Lab Helsinki, Aalto University I teach Introduction to Media Art and Culture course. It is an intensive three weeks course with close to 40 students. It is active learning. Student do home readings and screenings: articles and documentary films. In small groups they study concepts and prepare a video essays. Crucial part of the course are the classroom discussions, organised as fishbowl conversations. Last year I was experimenting with a video conference to have the conversations online.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 10.00.31

For this year I got a grant from the Aalto Online Learning (A!OLE) program to develop a prototype of a video conference service that enables online fishbowl. Thank you! So we did a prototype — a proof-of-concept prototype. The code is not beautiful but it works. It is good enough for our internal testing.

With the course we did an experiment and organised one conversation online. It was a surprisingly successful and pleasant experience. The screenshots are form the experiment. We collected data from it and are now taking a closer look of it. I feel that we have designed something pretty unique.

Thank you Hanna Haaslahti and Iida Hietala for co-teaching the course with me. Thanks to Julius , Bo and Jana for developing the Webdialogos prototype. Thank you Katherine and Philipp from the Unhangout team for your thoughts and ideas.

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