For college students, the story is all too familiar: You're copying down Prof X's slide on thermodynamics, but halfway through your transcription, the professor jumps to the next slide. Darn! What now? Do you A) Leave your notes incomplete. B) Erase your unfinished bullet point C) Write a "note to self" to return to this pressing matter later. While you were contemplating this dilemma, Prof X advanced 3 more slides. Whoops.
Not only does this story ring true for most students, but it's just as relevant for professors: Professors want to know if their students are internalizing their lectures; however, without sustained feedback from the entire class body, many professors end up teaching at pace that is too quick or too slow.
What it does
Now what if there was a way to solve these issues without having to purchase expensive applications or hardware - a solution that doesn't require everyone to download an obscure app or memorize a long web URL. Enter Reaction, the Lecture Assistant and Facebook Messenger Chat Bot. Students can ask Reaction to "show me the previous slide," and he will send, via messenger, an image of the previous slide. Or students can tell Reaction to "tell prof to slow down," all in natural language. Meanwhile, the collection of reactions sent by students - ranging from "I'm confused" to "this material is easy" - aggregate on the Reaction Desktop Client, where a graph of "Understanding over Time" is displayed on the top right corner, updating in real time. This graph allows the professor to understand how well his students are grasping his material, and to adjust his pace if necessary. Reaction even logs which students have spoken with him, replacing the time consuming sign-in sheet or roll call.
What's next for Reaction
Reaction could soon be the complete lecture solution for colleges across the globe. Students will no longer have to purchase expensive hardware clickers such as the iClicker2, since Reaction will soon support both in-class and out-of-class polling. Reaction's inner personal assistant will truly shine when professors ask him to "remind students about Assignment 3, 1 day before it's due." Lastly, Reaction will soon support geofencing, to ensure that students are in the lecture hall when class begins (sorry students, no more asking a friend for the Kipin Attendance Code).