Colin Ashe, David Adamson, Carolyn Rosé, David Yaron (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
While educational psychology is increasingly documenting the learning benefits of social interactions, online curricula may be increasing the time students spend working alone. Here, we discuss a curriculum module that uses a collaborative chat application to bring social interactions online in a scalable manner. This module covers intermolecular forces using the well-known jigsaw instructional approach. Each student is trained in either dispersion, polar, or ionic intermolecular forces and then assigned to a chat room. Each room includes one student from each training group and an intelligent computer agent that poses questions, listens for participant agreement on a response, and then posts an answer with explanations. The agent also facilitates discussion both generally, e.g. prompting quiet students to summarize, and by revoicing student comments that match a list of expert explanations. In addition to providing details on system implementation, this talk will present notable results and chat transcript excerpts.