Facilitating Class Discussions with an iPad

Jessica Otey, Lecturing Fellow, Italian, Romance Studies
Project description:
Jessica Otey is using a browser-based platform called NowComment to facilitate the collective commenting of documents, as a central part of her Italian literature survey course (18th-21st centuries). Before class, students are expected to post comments by logging into NowComment and commenting while reading the assigned text. “The purpose of using NowComment,” says Otey, “is to stimulate the students to write while they read, so that they will be prepared to speak/share what they have written in class. Given that this class is conducted entirely in the target language (Italian), it is essential to help students prepare themselves to contribute during class.”

nowcomment_anon_comments in context

In class, Otey will access this “collective text,” which consists of the assigned reading plus everyone’s comments, through an iPad borrowed from the Duke Digital Initiative, and the projected collective text will form the centerpiece of class discussion. Otey feels “the presence of the collective text will stimulate discussion, as the students will have the opportunity to have in front of them what other people have thought, rather than having to understand it solely through aural comprehension.”

Start date: September 2010
Funding awarded: iPad loaner