Last changed 13 May 2003 ............... Length about 1000 words (7,000 bytes).
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Computer Supported Cooperative Lecture Notes: Overview of the ATOM

Preface: introduction to the notion of an ATOM

Follow this link for a brief introduction to the notion of an ATOM, and terms such as trail, remote expert, delivery, etc.


State the topic and type of ATOM.
The idea is that learners produce public lecture notes for each lecture on the web, thus jointly building a complete set of public lecture notes. The work is divided evenly among the students, and all benefit from this communal effort, which is at least potentially a focus for class discussions involving all learners and teachers.

This ATOM is an adjunct to any course. It has no topic, but is an extra activity to encourage learning of any existing course content by some extra learner work and by promoting exchanges between learners. It takes place throughout the course: so while credit should be given to motivate the learners, it does not take any timetable slot.

How the concept fits into the course

Relationships and constraints on this topic in relation to the surrounding course
None: it could be applied to all concepts, material, and lecture styles. However, you may wish to adjust the format you recommend to students to suit the lecture style.
Student prerequisite knowledge
Student prerequisite skills
Students must be able to produce at least a very basic web page.
Of course they also need to be able to take lecture notes and write English; but this exercise may be particularly helpful for classes where this is a problem, since it is a structure for students to discuss and iteratively improve their notes.
Course level
This ATOM has been used at M.Sc. level but there is no obvious reason not to use it at any level, except perhaps for issues of independence and study habits. These often depend more upon discipline (arts vs. science) than course level.

Timetabling: how the activity fits into the course

Amount of student work
About 2 hours (1 to decide/produce the content, 1 to put it onto a web page).
Amount of contact hours
Notionally none. Probably 5 mins to introduce and motivate it, and several 2 min. slots to remind and continue the motivation. A few technical and other questions will probably be fielded during the course.
Group work
Size of groups is decided by dividing the number of students by the number of lectures (plus 1 for the index). Thus groups used in other exercises can probably not be used, nor can the size of groups be varied to suit students' preferences.
Relationship to the rest of the course
The key constraint is that, to be complete, this must be launched in the first minutes of the course and maintained until the end. This means the teacher must have done the administrative chore in advance of assigning students to teams.

Students do their bit at different times throughout the course: each student should put in their work as soon as possible after the lecture they were assigned to cover, but this is at a different time for each student.

Activity plan
Follow this link to see the work plan for each student.
A mark is given (to motivate the students) for each web page, in the state it is 7 days after the lecture it describes.

Resources needed

Remote expert
State how much work is required of the remote expert, and how essential it is
The ATOM requires that all students can mount web pages i.e. have their own space on a web server and a way of editing web documents. And also of course routine access to a web browser, and email for class discussions.

An email alias for the class: essential so that they can announce new pages of notes, and ask for discussion.

None (other than a machine running a web server).

History and admin.

Authored and maintained by Steve Draper at the University of Glasgow.

Number of times delivered: 3?
Evaluation reports available: 1
Number of Trails (examples of past student work): 1 (HCI), 2 (postgrad seminar on writing), 3 (Philosophy): 3a     3b    

Structure of the ATOM's web pages

There are 4 kinds of web page associated with this, perhaps with any, ATOM.
  1. The teacher overview page [this page], intended for teachers browsing for ATOMs they might choose to use in their courses.
  2. Teacher details: fuller notes for teachers, with instructions for them, and rationales for why the exercise is the way it is.
  3. The learner details page: the instructions for learners. This is likely to have the basic explanation and description of the ATOM, and also acts like a handout for students.
  4. The course home page (for learners) for a particular delivery of an ATOM, special to the institution, course, and circumstances. This should have all the links needed for those students, and in turn should act as the entrance lobby, and be pointed to by the course pages, links from the teachers' home pages etc. A sample is included here, but its content and format may vary widely depending on the course within which the ATOM is being used.

[ Teacher overview    Teacher details    Learner main page    Course home page (sample) ]