Purdue University students are trying out a new application developed at the school called Hotseat. Hotseat integrates Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and SMS text messaging to help students “backchannel” during class. This application allows the participants to comment, exchange questions, and exchange ideas in real-time. At Purdue, Hotseat allows students to comment on the ongoing class as it proceeds. Everyone including the professor can see the messaging as it happens.
The Hotseat software allows students to simply log in to the website to post and view the ongoing backchannel. Hotseat is being pilot tested in two courses, but has already become a fast favorite for both teachers and students. Although it’s been optional for students to participate, so far 73% of the 600 or so in the pilot classes have used the software. Professor Sugato Chakravarty, whose personal finance course is one of the pilot tests, said, “I’m seeing students interact more with the course and ask relevant questions.”
Chakravarty goes on to say that the application is called “Hotseat” for a reason. Professors will have to be resilient enough to take any potential criticism or corrections from students in real-time. Nevertheless, he cites it as a “valuable tool for enhancing learning. The students are engaged in the discussions and, for the most part, they are asking relevant questions.”