“Discovery Teaching” is an in-class web application providing an efficient standard platform for students and instructors to actively engage and interact during learning and teaching activities in the class. The application and this study are part of the research of Prof. William Tarimo and Prof. Timothy Hickey, of the Computer Science departments at Connecticut College and Brandeis University, respectively.
Timothy Hickey

William Tarimo, PhD

William is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Connecticut College. His primary research explores how technology and agile methodologies can be used to improve academic outcomes through applications in the learning and teaching processes. Other research projects are in the areas of applied robotics and application of electroencephalogram (EEG) data and device in educational technology.
Expertise: Educational Technology, Computer Science Education, Brain Computer Interfaces, Entrepreneurship, Robotics, Web & Mobile Development, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence.

Timothy Hickey

Timothy Hickey, PhD

Timothy J. Hickey is a professor of computer science and Chair of the Computer Science Program at Brandeis University. His current work focuses on Educational Technology, Brain-Computer Interfaces and Game-based Learning.
Expertise: Educational Technology, Computer Science Education, Brain Computer Interfaces, 3D Game Design, Interval Arithmetic, Scientific Visualization, Computer Supported Learning, Groupware and Collaborative Editing, Constraint Logic Programming

Discovery Teaching began as part of the doctoral dissertation titled Computer-Supported Agile Teaching (CSAT).

The use of technology to enable pedagogy whose methods, activities and resources are agile and adaptive based on timely evidence from the classroom and individual students.
It is built on active and interactive learning and teaching, frequent formative assessment and other feedback mechanisms, and timely monitoring and inventions of learners.

Read the Abstract Read The Entire Dissertation

More on Discovery Teaching

Here is a quick recap about the application design and features:

In the website, an instructor creates a course which is then assigned 2 unique 7-digit enrollment PIN numbers, one for students and the other is for instructors/TAs. Students will use the student PIN in order to enroll in the course for the semester. The application layout is roughly: User > Courses enrolled in > (Weekly) Class Meetings > Activities - a class meeting can have one or optionally more teaching/learning activities as necessary > Interactive Tool - (Discovery Teaching has a selection of interactive tools).

Activity based interactive tools:

Allows students to report on how they’re doing in real-time - by default they can report whether they’re Engaged, Bored, or Confused with a short optional comment - these can be customized at the course or class-meeting levels. The instructor’s Feedback view will show a pie-chart and time-line plots of the aggregate feedback data.
A supervised back-channel discussion forum where students can post questions and other topics and have them answered by other students, TAs and the instructor.
A clicker functionality for asking formative assessment questions - can also be used for summative assessment in homework, quizzes and exams. Answers are grouped by similarity and can easily be graded and discussed in class. It allows free text, numeric, true/false, yes/no, and custom multiple choice questions.
Like Questions but for group-based collaborative/cooperative (Think/Pair/Share) questions. Students are automatically grouped in 3s (based on attendance that day), and when responding to a question they each have to first think and submit an individual answer after which the student can see other group members’ answers and access the group mini-forum for that question. After group discussion, students are each required to indicate a final answer by submitting a new answer and selecting it or picking any of the existing answers from the group.
Discovery Teaching also has Stats pages at the course, class-meeting and activity levels - with aggregate data for students’ participation and performance in all the tools above. It also automatically generates students' attendance with indication of whether students showed up only, didn’t show up, and if actively participated in class.
Students can take, manage and share their personal notes within the application.