Last changed 26 July 1998 ............... Length about 900 words (6000 bytes).
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The design of the CSCLN ATOM

[Notes for teachers and authors]

This is notes about the design and organisation of the ATOM on computer supported cooperative lecture notes.


The aims (the benefits hoped for) are:
  1. Each student will learn the material from the lecture they are assigned to better. Writing notes in any new format requires mental re-processing, just as writing an essay does, and both understanding and learning usually result.
  2. Students need notes to revise from. This will give them an alternative form of such notes: with higher quality because they were done at the time, and contributed to by many.
  3. The Q&A format is probably a good one we should use more. Lectures are normally delivered as material, without saying what they are useful for. The challenge (to the teacher) implicit in this format is: what use is this material? Each question is an answer to this challenge; poor questions imply a poorly motivated lecture.
  4. Peer collaboration is well known in the research literature to have educational benefits, but little is done to promote it. This promotes it.
  5. Team work is required in most jobs: this gives students a little practice at a typical task: producing a document for others.
  6. Team work mediated by electronic media (CSCW) is interesting, may be increasingly required in jobs, is a topic closely related to HCI but not in the syllabus of this course. This exercise will give students a little experience of it, and of its difficulties.
  7. The questions and discussion will be valuable feedback signals to the teacher on what students made of each lecture, and what didn't go across successfully. So feedback to teacher will be a major benefit of the exercise, and in a context that allows some immediate remedial action (giving better answers than the class could generate, and having them recorded where they will be a permanent resource for the whole class).


No further objectives.

How it fits into the course

See the overview page.

Rationale (why is the exercise designed this way?)

There are several ideas feeding into this design.


Delivery requires various preparatory organising actions by the local teachers.


You just have to decide whether you want to do it, and how you will give students credit for it.

And you have to be ready to launch it in the first minutes of the first lecture, including selecting the first team (for that lecture). Of course if you have warned the class in advance, that would be good.

The method of assigning students to teams (groups), which is also explained to the students, is at the end of this link.


You must have the web pages (handouts) specifying the exercise ready before the start of the course.

TRAILs: past student work

A set of web notes from the one delivery so far can be inspected here.

Evaluation reports and comments

There has been one delivery of this ATOM so far, and I hope the evaluation report from this will be available here soon.
  • draft report

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