What is this project about?

FAST.Q (Feedback and Answer System Technology for Questions) is a project sponsored by CERD (Centre for Educational Research and Development) and LNCD as part of the Student as Producer Initiative. FAST.Q will investigate the use of live feedback technology within the lecture room environment and its impact on teaching and learning. Students will be able to use smart devices (phone, laptops, tablets, etc) to ask questions and provide general feedback during the lecture. This will allow the lecturer to have direct ?real-time? access to these questions and thereby providing an immediate response to the student.

The Principal Investigator on this project is Dr. John C. Murray who works in the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln. The project funds two undergraduate students to work on the development of the FAST.Q system in conjunction with the Principal Investigator.

Why are we undertaking the project?

Within the lecture environment, a common situation experienced by lectures takes the form of a lecturer asking ?Does everyone understand that??, this is usually met my some feeble head nodding and a few students confirming. However, experience tells us that it is not the case that most of the class has fully understood, and in fact many questions are burning away. Indeed this can be attributed to one main factor; the students think all their peers around them have understood, and so do not wish to ask for clarification themselves. Therefore, allowing for students to ask questions via an online ?anonymous? system enables this fear of asking questions aloud to be completely removed and thus allows for clarification, and further questions to be sought by the student.

What will the project achieve?

This project will develop an online Q&A system whereby students can ask questions and receive answers in a real-time format. It is hoped that by allowing students the anonymity, from their peers, to feely ask questions this can both improve engagement and attainment in lectures. The FAST.Q tool will be tested and rolled out over the second semester of the 2011/12 academic year, initially within the School of Computer Science.

It is hoped that the following questions can be answered by the project:

  • Will the use of FAST.Q increase student engagement?

- If students are unable to follow the lecture content due to not fully understanding the material and being worried to put their hand up, will the anonymity of FAST.Q allow them to feel more confident asking questions, and ultimately improve their engagement?

  • Can the use of FAST.Q help to increase student attainment?

- If a student?s engagement in lectures drops, due to missing a point on a slide or not quite comprehending a topic, then it could be difficult for them to fully catch up on the materials of the lecture. This could easily cause a snowball effect and the student could potentially drop behind on a module of study. With the use of FAST.Q, allowing students to ask questions and remain engaged, what affect would this have on their attainment within the respective module?

When is the project taking place?

January 2012 ? May 2012

What is the project cost?

Total project cost: ?3,000. Funding received from LNCD.

Where can I find more information?

Project blog.