ShowNTell – HTML5 based whiteboard screen recording & publishing system

ShowNTell - HTML5 based whiteboard screen recording & publishing system

Anand Bhojan School of Computing Computer Science 2014(1)

What Used to Be

There are number of students queuing up for consulting with the lecturer to clarify doubts before the exams and tests. As the questions and answers in subjects like physics and maths involve writing lots of equations and drawings, students and faculty preferred face-to-face sessions. Some solutions need to be progressively developed in collaboration.

Problems We Identified

  • Replying to student questions by mail/in forum involving equations is very time consuming.
  • Current tools that partially address the issue requires installation of bulky software, have steep learning curve, are not available on all platforms.
  • There is no good tool to collaboratively develop a solution involving writing of equations.


What We Did

  • Develop a whiteboard system that runs in browser (pc, laptop, tablet, phones…) without requiring any plug-ins to be installed.
  • Keep the system simple yet allowing whiteboard drawing, recording, basic editing in a time-line and exporting to video.
  • The system features both off-line collaboration and real-time collaboration.


How This Helped

  • Very effectively reduced the number of students aproaching a lecturer before exam and long waiting hours for their turn for personal consultation.
  • Effectively reduced the face-to-face sessions of project group presentations in our courses. Group presentations were done through showntell and shared with the TAs/lecturer for grading.
  • In addition, it is used to record presentations and collaborate during e-learning weeks where classroom setting is abandoned.

Teaching CS1010 introductory programming on a massive scale

Teaching CS1010 introductory programming on a massive scale

Ben Leong School of Computing Computer Science 2013(2)

What Used to Be and Problems We Identified

After teaching for many years, we found that it was common for students to procrastinate when doing their homework assignments. Leaving work till the last minute was problematic because students would often end up rushing through their assignments and doing badly or copy answers from the friends. Neither of these scenarios are helpful for student learning.

What We Did

Inspired by a TED Talk by Jane McGonigal entitled “Gaming can make a better world” in 2010, we built a new learning management system where gamification principles were applied to make the learning and the doing of homeworks more engaging. The latest version of this platform is Coursemology v2: The platform has several features such as auto-grader functionality, an interactive discussion forum, work bin, survey tool as well as game elements like “experience points”, a leaderboard and badges to motivate students to compete their assignments and keep up with the class.

How This Helped

With gamification, we managed to improve the average assignment submission times from less than a day (15.5) hours before the deadline to more than two days (51.2 hours) before the deadline. The students also claimed that the game system made the course interesting and motivated them to work beyond what is minimally required and we have received consistently good feedback over the years in our student feedback. Our success is also proof that the use of game mechanics can indeed help to engage the new generation of students.

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