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Front. Educ. | doi: 10.3389/feduc.2018.00008

Use of a social annotation platform for pre-class reading assignments in a flipped introductory physics class

 Kelly A. Miller1*, Brian Lukoff2,  Gary King1 and Eric Mazur1
  • 1Harvard University, United States
  • 2Perusall Inc., United States

In this paper, we illustrate the successful implementation of pre-class reading assignments through a social learning platform that allows students to discuss the reading online with their classmates. We show how the platform can be used to understand how students are reading before class. We find that, with this platform, students spend an above average amount of time reading (compared to that reported in the literature) and that most students complete their reading assignments before class. We identify specific reading behaviors that are predictive of in-class exam performance. We also demonstrate ways that the platform promotes active reading strategies and produces high-quality learning interactions between students outside class. Finally, we compare the exam performance of two cohorts of students, where the only difference between them is the use of the platform; we show that students do significantly better on exams when using the platform.

Keywords: Digital Education, flipped classroom, educational software, pre-class reading, Physics education research

Received: 29 Sep 2017; Accepted: 19 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Elizabeth S. Charles, Dawson College, Canada

Reviewed by:

Liisa Ilomäki, University of Helsinki, Finland
Michael Dugdale, John Abbott College, Canada  

Copyright: © 2018 Miller, Lukoff, King and Mazur. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Kelly A. Miller, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, kmiller@seas.harvard.edu