Informa: An Extensible Framework for Group Response Systems

Informa: An Extensible Framework for Group Response Systems
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Conference Paper: CollaborateCom'08, November, 2008

Classroom clickers, also called group response systems, represent a form of technology-enhanced learning. An instructor can pose a question to the class during a lecture, and students can use their clicker devices to submit their answers. The system immediately aggregates the submissions and presents feedback to the instructor (and possibly the class).

This paper describes Informa, an extensible framework for building software-based group response systems. Informa is implemented as a distributed Java RMI application and distinguishes itself from traditional clickers in two key aspects: First, it allows for plug-ins to define the kinds of problems that can be posted (beyond the common multiple-choice). Second, it provides several levels of session anonymity, from completely anonymous sessions where the teacher does not know which student submitted which answer, all the way to authenticated sessions where students need to login when they join.

We have evaluated Informa in a pilot study during an undergraduate programming course, and we have found it to greatly enhance our insight into the students' understanding of the material.

@incollection {Hauswirth08, author = {Hauswirth, Matthias}, affiliation = {University of Lugano 6904 Lugano Switzerland}, title = {Informa: An Extensible Framework for Group Response Systems}, booktitle = {Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications and Worksharing}, series = {Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering}, editor = {Akan, Ozgur and Bellavista, Paolo and Cao, Jiannong and Dressler, Falko and Ferrari, Domenico and Gerla, Mario and Kobayashi, Hisashi and Palazzo, Sergio and Sahni, Sartaj and Shen, Xuemin (Sherman) and Stan, Mircea and Xiaohua, Jia and Zomaya, Albert and Coulson, Geoffrey and Bertino, Elisa and Joshi, James B. D.}, publisher = {Springer Berlin Heidelberg}, isbn = {978-3-642-03354-4}, keyword = {Computer Science}, pages = {271-286}, volume = {10}, url = {}, note = {10.1007/978-3-642-03354-4_21}, year = {2009} }