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MACL, a mobile application for Collaborative Learning Kheiravar, Salma 2013

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MACL, A Mobile Application forCollaborative LearningbySalma KheiravarB.Sc. Hons., The University of Tabriz, 2010A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF SCIENCEinTHE COLLEGE OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Interdisciplinary Studies)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA(Okanagan)November 2013c? Salma Kheiravar, 2013AbstractCollaborative Learning actively engages students in group activities andis known as a very effective teaching and learning technique. Collabora-tive Learning emphases student-instructor and student-student collabora-tion during the learning process.Tablets can be used in a variety of ways to maximize the effectiveness ofCollaborative Learning. Currently, the existing solutions focus on student-instructor in-class collaboration because of their physical features (lightness,screen size, easy to carry, touch interactions, etc.).This thesis explores the use of tablets to help instructors and studentscollaborate in real-time both during the class and outside the class. Inthis thesis, I propose a real-time collaborative approach for student-studentand student-instructor interaction and present a prototype with emphasison student-student interaction. The developed prototype allows studentsto solve flowchart problems individually or collaboratively either in a face-to-face or an on-line environment. A study is conducted to evaluate theusability of the system and to determine its effectiveness for CollaborativeLearning.During the study, students were randomly assigned to 3 groups (individ-ual group work, face-to-face group work, on-line group work). All groupssolved 2 flowchart problems both on paper and using the prototype.The results suggest that the prototype is motivating and easy to use. Italso increases the amount of in-group discussion and provides an equivalentopportunity for students to contribute to the problem in comparison to apaper version of the exercise.iiPrefaceThe study in this thesis was conducted with the approval of the UBCResearch Ethics Board (REB) under certificate number H11-01267.This work was supported by a student travel grant, an integration ofteaching and research grant, and Mitacs Accelerate grants.Part of this research has been published in the MobileHCI 2012 confer-ence (Kheiravar, Salma, Patricia Lasserre, and Robert Campbell. ?A MobileApplication for Collaborative Learning? in the Proceedings of the 14th Inter-national Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with mobile devicesand services companion. ACM, 2012.)iiiTable of ContentsAbstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiiTable of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ivList of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viiList of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viiiAcknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xDedication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiChapter 1: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.1 An Introduction to Active and Collaborative Learning . . . . 11.2 Collaborative Learning and Tablets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31.2.1 Tablets History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41.2.2 Existing Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81.2.3 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141.3 Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211.4 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Chapter 2: A Mobile Application for Collaborative Learning(MACL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222.1 Design Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222.1.1 Instructor View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23ivTABLE OF CONTENTS2.1.2 Student View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242.2 Prototype . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242.2.1 Flowchart Exercise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252.2.2 Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Chapter 3: What Data Delivery Technique Should Be Used? 313.1 Dynamic Data Transfer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323.1.1 Dynamic Data Transfer Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . 323.1.2 Real-time Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323.2 HTTP Pull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333.3 AJAX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353.4 Server Push . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363.4.1 Piggyback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373.4.2 HTTP Streaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373.4.3 Comet or Reverse AJAX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383.4.4 Web-Socket . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423.4.5 Node.js . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 433.4.6 Socket.io . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443.4.7 Which Technique Is The Best for MACL? . . . . . . . 44Chapter 4: Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 464.1 First Pilot Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 464.2 Second Pilot Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 464.3 Main Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474.3.1 Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 484.3.2 Background of the Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . 544.3.3 Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65Chapter 5: Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 745.1 Summary of Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 745.2 Future Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78vTABLE OF CONTENTSAppendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92Appendix A: Flowcharts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92A.1 Training Flowchart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92A.2 Flowchart A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93A.3 Flowchart B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94Appendix B: Recruitment Emails and Advertisement . . . . . . . . 95B.1 Faculty Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95B.2 Student Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97B.3 Advertisement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98Appendix C: Consent Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99Appendix D: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104D.1 Demographics and Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104D.2 Computer Anxiety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106D.3 Computer Self Efficacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108D.4 Post-Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110viList of TablesTable 4.1 The interaction tool (paper, tablet) and order in whichflowcharts were solved by the participants had to bebalanced. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52Table 4.2 Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of Demo-graphics and background pre-questionnaire (1 = Stronglydisagree, 7 = Strongly agree) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56Table 4.3 Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of Demo-graphics and background pre-questionnaire continued(1 = Daily, 2 = Once a week, 3 = Once a month, 4 =occasionally, 5 = Rarely) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58Table 4.4 Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of Computerself efficacy pre-questionnaire (1 = Strongly disagree,5 = Strongly agree). Question were organized in 3levels of expertise: Beginner (B), Intermediate (I), andExpert (E) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59Table 4.5 Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of ComputerAnxiety pre-questionnaire (1 = Strongly disagree, 5 =Strongly agree) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61Table 4.6 Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of post-questionnaire(1 = Strongly disagree, 7 = Strongly agree) . . . . . . 69viiList of FiguresFigure 1.1 A telautograph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Figure 1.2 A typical classroom equipped with tablets . . . . . . 9Figure 1.3 DyKnow software?s screenshot . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10Figure 1.4 A screenshot of Classroom Presenter (picture adaptedfrom [AAS+04], with author?s permission) The in-structor shrinked the slide to provide more room foradding text. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Figure 2.1 Using MACL, instructors can create customizable ex-ercises. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Figure 2.2 Student A (blue) is drawing a line. For the colouredversion of the picture please refer to the on-line copy. 27Figure 2.3 Student B (green) is dragging an element. For thecoloured version of the picture please refer to the on-line copy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Figure 2.4 Student C (red) is deleting a line. For the colouredversion of the picture please refer to the on-line copy. 29Figure 2.5 A display showing an element is locked for other stu-dents as one student is already dragging it. . . . . . . 30Figure 2.6 A display showing that updates are broadcasted tothe other clients as soon as they occur. . . . . . . . . 30Figure 3.1 a) Traditional client-server model based on Pull. b)Classic Pull as a server Push using Ajax requests. . . 34Figure 3.2 Ajax web application model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36Figure 3.3 Reverse-Ajax or Comet: A server push technique. . . 39viiiLIST OF FIGURESFigure 3.4 Comet web application model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40Figure 3.5 Comet usinf HTTP streaming. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Figure 3.6 Comet using Web-Socket. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43Figure 4.1 Participants were differentiated into 3 groups (a) GroupA: individual, (b) Group B: face-to-face, and (c) GroupC: on-line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48Figure 4.2 A visual distribution of the (a) age, (b) sex, (c) pro-gram, and (d) program level of participants . . . . . . 49ixAcknowledgementsFirst and foremost I would like to express my sincere gratitude to mysupervisor, Dr. Patricia Lasserre, for her continued support, guidance, pa-tience, and encouragement. I am so grateful to have been supervised bysuch an excellent professor who introduced me to a research field which hasbecome my passion and gave me the opportunity to work on an excitingproject. Besides my adviser, I would like to thank Dr. Janice Snyder for herinsightful comments, thoughtful criticism, and time and attention duringbusy semesters.My sincere thanks also goes to the rest of my committee: Dr. Ra-mon Lawrence, and Dr. Yves Lucet for reviewing my work and asking methoughtful questions. I would also like to thank Dr. Robert Campbell andDr. Susan Crichton for their insightful comments during the very early daysof this research. I also must acknowledge my friends, Jamie McKee-Scott,Steve McAvoy and Scott Fazackerley for their help and support.Last but not least, I wish to thank my family: my father who introducedme to the field of Computer Science, my mother who supported and encour-aged me in every step of my education, and my husband for his unflagginglove that means everything to me.xDedicationTo Hamideh and Bilal.xiChapter 1IntroductionEducation has always been one of the primary concerns of human beings.To improve education quality, different teaching philosophies have been in-troduced over time. One of the very well-known models of instruction iscalled Active Learning in which students are actively engaged in the class-room. Active Learning includes a variety of teaching methods. One of thevery well known effective Active Learning methods is called CollaborativeLearning. In this chapter, first Active Learning and Collaborative Learningare explained and then the literature regarding the use of tablets to assistthese techniques is reviewed.1.1 An Introduction to Active and CollaborativeLearningThe term Active Learning has never been precisely defined throughoutthe literature [Pri04]. However, the Greenwood Dictionary of Education[CO11] defines Active Learning based on generally accepted principles as:?The process of having students engage in some activity that forces themto reflect upon ideas and how they are using those ideas. Recruiting studentsto regularly assess their own degree of understanding and skill at handlingconcepts or problems in a particular discipline. The attainment of knowledgeby participating or contributing. The process of keeping students mentally,and often physically, active in their learning through activities that involvethem in gathering information, thinking, and problem solving.?Active Learning has been studied for decades [Rag95, Pri04, Mic06] butwas firstly popularized by Bonwell and Eison in 1991 [BE91]. According to11.1. An Introduction to Active and Collaborative Learningthe rich literature [BT95, MM03, MM93, Mic06, Arm12, FWSR00, LST99,All95], we know that the students who are actively engaged in classroom,perform better than the students attending passive classes. Active Learningcan be achieved in different ways such as engaging the students by askingin-class questions, employing collaborative group exercises, applying classdiscussions, and giving instant feedback, all of which places the emphasis onthe students rather than the instructor.One of the very well known kinds of Active Learning is CollaborativeLearning in which students are assigned to small groups (usually 2 to 5students per group) [Key00] to accomplish a task in collaboration with theirteammates. Collaborative Learning is also defined in Greenwood Dictionaryof Education [CO11] as:?A method of teaching and learning in which students work together toexplore a significant question or create a meaningful project. CollaborativeLearning is the umbrella term encompassing many forms of learning, fromsmall group projects to the more specific form of group work called coop-erative learning. A group of students discussing a lecture, or students fromdifferent schools working together over the Internet on a shared assignment,are both examples of Collaborative Learning. Collaborative Learning hasits origins in higher education.?Collaborative Learning is known as an effective teaching technique whichmaximizes group members? learning [JJS98b] by focusing on improving theirskills rather than just transferring static information [Key00]. Moreover,learning in collaboration with teammates increases students? responsibilityregarding their learning and meets the needs of students with diverse learn-ing styles [Rid89, She90, JM95].Johnson, Johnson and Smith [JJS98a] conducted a rich study whichreviews 90 years of research in the area of Collaborative Learning. Thestudy indicates that the literature consistently agrees that students learnbetter in collaboration with their classmates in comparison to working in-dividually [JJS98a, Mic06]. The same results were discussed in anotherstudy of the same authors, by reviewing 168 studies between 1924 and 1997[JJS98b]. The review shows that Collaborative Learning increases academic21.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletssuccess (i.e. level of knowledge acquisition, retention, accuracy, creativity inproblem-solving, and reasoning) by improving student attention, retention,and attitudes [Mab95, Rid89, She90, JM95, JJS98b]. Another literaturereview by Springer et al. confirm the results, reviewing 37 articles partic-ularly looking at studies assessing Collaborative Learning in small groupsin science, mathematics, engineering, and technology courses [SD99]. It isbelieved that such level of collaboration can be advanced and assisted bytablet technology. In the next section, a review of the literature on the ef-fectiveness of tablet technology in education and Collaborative Learning isprovided.1.2 Collaborative Learning and TabletsCollaborative Learning consists of both student-student and student-instructor collaboration either during class time or outside of the class.However, it can be challenging. The in-class student-student collaborationis usually achieved by requiring students to work on questions in groupsusing pen and paper. In such cases, students have to sit around a tablein circles or being distributed in different rows where they will have differ-ent orientation toward the paper. Thus, it is easy for students to removethemselves from the collaborative work because only some members havethe right orientation and can write on the paper.Tablets can be used in a variety of ways in the educational context toachieve learning goals. They can be used as an interaction tool as well asfor individual work. They can be used inside and outside the classroomby a student or an instructor. They can assist the instructor by recordingand reviewing students? work throughout the course time, evaluating andgiving feedback to them systematically and more conveniently than withpapers where recording and organizing all the work and materials can beoverwhelming. Students can also keep their course material together, addingnotes to the existing ones and interacting with instructors in real-time.The first attempt by the education community to take advantage of thetablet?s functionalities was started before the release of an actual tablet31.2. Collaborative Learning and Tablets(as we know it today) when Berque et al. [BBW04] used a pen-based flatscreen video tablet attached to a PC. The screen was used to write textor draw sketches using a software running on the PC. Nowadays, tabletsare capable of running different applications without the need for a sup-plementary PC. The impact of tablets on learning was studied extensivelyin different universities such as DePauw University [BBW04], University ofWashington [AAS+04], Massachusetts Institute of Technology [KS06a], Uni-versity of California San Diego [SAHS04], University of Central Arkansas[THCL06], Boston University [Rom11], Coastal Carolina University [Fre07],Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology [FCW07], Virginia Tech [Tro05], Uni-versity of Colorado [FKH07], Temple University [Bis07], University of Man-itoba [BB05], Slovak University of Technology [JC?D11], Duke University[HFF+07], and South Dakota University [Rei07] in different programs suchas science, engineering, humanities, and languages.Several investigations in the literature used these applications to answerthe following general questions:? How can a tablet affect the overall learning quality?? How can a tablet be used as a course material delivery tool?? How can a tablet be useful as a learning tool outside of the classroom?? How can a tablet be used as a lecture presentation tool?? How can a tablet be used to facilitate student-instructor communica-tion?? How can a tablet engage students in the classroom?A brief history of the tablet is provided below followed by the existingapplications previously used in the literature.1.2.1 Tablets HistoryA tablet is a mobile computer typically larger than a mobile device or apersonal digital assistant (PDA) and smaller and lighter than laptops, inte-41.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsgrated with a touch or pen based screen. The root of tablets goes back to1888 when the first tablet was just a flat analogue screen with a handwrit-ing input and output (a pen) as the telautograph (analogue fax machine,see Figure 1.1 ) [Gre88]. Afterwards, a handwriting recognition system[Gol15] and a touch screen for handwriting input [Moo42] were patentedin 1915 and 1942, respectively. At that time tablets were imagined onlyfor their hand writing recognition capabilities. In 1945, an American en-gineer, Vannevar Bush, introduced a conceptual device called Memex thatcould be more than an input device. Memex could store an individual?sbooks, records, and communications as an enlarged intimate supplement tohis memory [Bus45]. The main feature of Memex was its ability to linkdifferent books and articles so that the user could access them by tapping abutton just like today?s hyperlinks in the World Wide Web. Moreover, theuser could add comments and notes to the recordings using a stylus. Manyother electronic tablet patents and devices were introduced since 1957 asthey were usually designed as a human-machine interface to facilitate thecommunication between computers and machines. For instance, DimondTom?s Styalator in 1957 [Dim58] and RAND Corporation?s tablet in 1960[Coo13].Besides researchers and technology companies, artists were also dreamingabout a mobile device that could enhance their communication with comput-ers in their novels and films. However, they didn?t have to deal with real-lifetechnology challenges and could make devices as fancy as their imaginationallowed. Stanislaw Lem, in his 1961 science fiction novel [Lem61] talkedabout a library with no books but crystals with recorded content that couldbe read using a device called Opton. The Opton was like a book with onlyone page within its cover and successive pages could be reached by a touch.In the same novel, Lem talked about another device called Lectons whichcould read the books aloud in any preferred voice and tone. Lem wasn?t theonly person creating a tablet with his imagination. In the Star Trek televi-sion series (1996), Gene Roddenberry used electronic mobile device that wasvery similar to today?s tablets. In 1968, a scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey(by Stanley Kubrick), an actor interacted with a tablet while having his51.2. Collaborative Learning and TabletsFigure 1.1: Telautograph is the analoge version of a fax machine. It isthe first handwriting recognition system (the picture adapted from [Ano93],Courtesy of Cornell University Library, Making of America Digital Collec-tion.lunch. The tablet used in the film looks almost like an iPad. In 1978, Dou-glas Adams, in his comic science fiction series, The Hitchhiker?s Guide tothe Galaxy, imagined a device and called it an electronic book. The devicecould tell you everything you wanted to know about anything, by tapping akeyboard, entering a word, and listening to the voice.The earliest commercial tablet, Pencept, was introduced in the 1980s.Pencept was only used as an input device to transfer handwriting and click-ing from a flat screen to a computer such that a user could write a text orclick on a button in the computer by tapping an electronic pen on the flatscreen.A more comprehensive tablet as it is known today was first introducedas the DynaBook, conceptual design of Alan Kay [Kay72] from 1968. Dyna-Book was a tablet, which could have software running on it with a keyboardas an input tool. The main audience for Kay?s DynaBook were children whocould use it for learning, playing, communicating, etc. Alan Kay was the61.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsfirst person who claimed that a tablet could be used in education to enhancelearning. About 30 years later, Kay?s and others? dreams came true withMicrosoft?s Tablet PC.Microsoft introduced the first prototype tablet in 2000. Two years later,Microsoft released the first tablet running a specific version of WindowsXP. Instead of a keyboard, a digital pen was provided as an input tool withhandwriting recognition functionality. The tablet was capable of computing,communicating and reading electronic books. It was a full Windows com-puter but with lower memory and processing power that could also run mostof the popular Windows software such as Microsoft Word. In comparison toa PC, Microsoft?s Tablet PC added the simplicity of experiencing pen andpaper using an electronic device. It was expensive (about $1,500), heavy,and weak in battery usage. The Microsoft Tablet PC could not get themainstream?s attention and was only used in some areas such as medicineand outdoor businesses (field work). However, lots of other digital pen andtouch based tablets were introduced and released later with improvement inboth performance and usability aspects.In 2010, Apple brought a different user experience and improved perfor-mance to the world with its iPad tablet. In contrast to the former types oftablets, iPad is a touch based device. It is controlled by a multitouch displayusing fingers or a stylus (however, a virtual onscreen keyboard is still avail-able.) The iPad runs on iOS, the same operating system used on Apple?siPod Touch and iPhone. More recently, ZTE, Toshiba, Samsung, Motorola,Blackberry, Dell, and HP are entered into the tablet industry producing awide range of applications mostly running on the Android operating sys-tem. The variety of applications and handy features in the new generationof tablets received lots of attention from the education community as a noveland unique active and Collaborative Learning tool. Some of the applicationsare described in the following subsection.71.2. Collaborative Learning and Tablets1.2.2 Existing ApplicationsAs stated, Kay [Kay72] was the first person to introduce the idea oflearning as one of the capabilities of tablets. He believed that his conceptualtablet, DynaBook, could be used as a learning tool for children. In thepresent day, with the growing industry of tablets, this idea is much morepossible. Thus, new techniques can be proposed to improve the quality ofeducation employing tablets.Reviewing the related literature before 2010, shows that research abouttablets in education were focused on improving the level of student-instructorinteraction and enhancing the presentation and material delivery process.Most of these studies used classrooms typically equipped with pen-basedtablet PCs as presented in Figure 1.2. The tablet PCs were usually installedwith an application developed by the researchers. A number of applicationssuch as DyKnow, Classroom Presenter (CP), BIRD, InkSurvey, FreeStyle,Classroom Learning Partner (CLP), Writon, EFuzion, Livenotes, GraphPad,Ubiquitous Presenter (UP) and many more, aiming to find a way to improvethe quality of learning. Two of these applications, Dyknow and CP, werethe most successful, and the majority of the studies in the literature focusedon them. Hence, these 2 applications and others used in the literature arediscussed in more details below.DyKnowDyknow [BBW04] is a Windows based application initially developedon top of DEBBIE software (proposed by Dr. Dave Berque) to be used onPersonal Computers (PC). In 2003, DEBBIE was enhanced by a companycalled DyKnow and now is a fully supported commercial product called Dy-KnowVision [DyK13]. After the release of the first tablet, DyKnow researchgroup [Ber06] ran DyKnow on the tablets with an integrated digital inkedpen instead of running on PCs (no information is provided about the typeof tablet PC they used in their investigations). This new system is usedextensively at Depauw University. This application allows an instructor toshare prepared slides or blank pages with their students. A screenshot of81.2. Collaborative Learning and TabletsFigure 1.2: A typical classroom equipped with tablets (picture adaptedfrom [Ber06], with author?s permission)the software is presented in Figure 1.3. The instructor can write or drawsketches on his/her tablet using digital ink while the students can see thenotes on their tablets. The instructor can also submit a question to thestudents. After the students solve the question, they can resubmit it tothe instructor anonymously or non-anonymously for interactive assessmentand feedback. Moreover, the instructor can share the answers with otherstudents and the students can locally add their notes to the slides using adigital pen. DyKnow also facilitates course content delivery as the studentscan have all the updated course content on their tablets. The course contentalso includes both the instructor?s and their own notes. Collaborative notetaking, classroom interaction, computer monitoring, and after class activi-ties are listed as significant benefits of the DyKnow application. ?Studentcontrol? is also one of the important features of DyKnow, where a studentcan be volunteered to present his/her work to the other students. Thus,her/his pen strokes are transmitted to the class as they are drawn.DyKnow is still available as a commercial application [DyK13] with ad-ditional features such as monitoring students activities in real-time and en-91.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsabling the students and the instructor to text chat. However, the focus ofDyKnow has changed and is no longer on tablets and is designed to be usedon devices with WindowsXP, Vista, and Windows 7.Figure 1.3: A screenshot of DyKnow (picture adapted from [Ber06], withauthor?s permission) While the instructor sketches on the left part of thescreen, students can add their local notes on the right hand of the screen.Classroom PresenterClassroom Presenter (CP) [AAS+04] has also been used extensively inthe research studies. It is a free native application developed by the Edu-cational Technology group at the University of Washington in 2004. Thiselectronic lecturing system only works on pen based tablet PCs with Win-dows XP or later. A screenshot of the instructor view of the software ispresented in Figure 1.4. This software gives almost the same functionalityas DyKnow. It enables the instructor to share the presentation slides withstudents so students can follow along as the instructor navigates through theslides. Students also can see the instructor?s inked based notes on the slidesin real-time on their screen and can add their own notes to the slides using101.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsthe electronic pen. Similar to DyKnow, CP only allows instructor-studentinteraction and no feature is presented for student-student interaction (i.e.the instructor submits a question to the students and then the students sub-mit the answers to the instructor and get instant feedback and assessmentfrom the instructor.)Due to the popularity of CP, some smaller application such as En-hanced Classroom Presenter (ECP) [JKPC?13], Classroom Learning Partner(CLP)[KS06a], Student Submissions [SAHS04], and UP [WGS05] were de-veloped in order to extend its features and provide greater convenience andflexibility.ECP adds the ability of importing and exporting file formats such asPDF, .doc, .docx and .rtf. ECP?s zooming feature enables the instructorto zoom into a specific part on the slide. The ability of copying the wholeslide or just an image or text into another presentation eliminates retyping.The interface also allows the student to choose not to work in the sharedor public screen with the instructor and other students. A reflector stylusprovides the ability to cover the slide with a grey transparent layer to bringthe focus to a specific part of the slide.CLP [KS06a] adapted CP to be as useful in large classes as much asthey are in small classes. This application aims to ease the process of in-class assessment for large classroom sizes, aggregating the similar answersinto groups and providing an abstract version of the submissions to theinstructor. Using CLP instructors have an opportunity to cover more in-class exercises and interact more with students for better understanding ofthe topic [KS06a].In 2003, Simon et al. [SAHS04] introduced an extension to CP, calledStudent Submissions. In addition to the ability of CP in which instructorscould simultaneously share their notes with students, this extension enabledstudents to share their notes with the instructors. However, the studentsnotes were not shared simultaneously and had to be submitted by the stu-dents as they finish note taking. Using this feature, instructors could collectindividual notes and answers for later assessment or displaying them on thescreen to the whole classroom. Support for complex problems and rich re-111.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletssponses, wireless submission of student responses, and use of saved responsesafter class are some of the noteworthy features of the system [SAHS04].Figure 1.4: A screenshot of Classroom Presenter (picture adapted from[AAS+04], with author?s permission) The instructor shrinked the slide toprovide more room for adding text.Ubiquitous Presenter (UP) [WGS05] is a free web-based application builton top of CP to compensate for some of its limitations [WGS05]. Beingweb-based enables UP to be also used in non-tablet devices that have abrowser and can be connected to the Internet. However, students with non-tablet devices cannot use the digital ink but the instructor?s ink can still bedisplayed on their screen with a short delay.A drawback to CP was was that it used multicast networking for the com-munication between the students? and the instructor?s tablet. This meantthat the instructor had to broadcast the materials to the students at thebeginning of the class. Thus, students who join the class after the broadcastcouldn?t access the slides on their tablets unless the instructor rebroadcastedthe slides which can effect the class performance negatively. Moreover, mul-ticast networking [SCFJ03] is not a reliable model since there is a risk of121.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletspacket loss which may result in missed sketches and updates. UP is morereliable than CP since it uses the http protocol for networking. The latestchanges are updated within a delay of less than 3 seconds.Using UP, the students can review previous slides by disabling the syn-chronization while the instructor is presenting a specific slide. This featurecan be controlled by the instructor. As the students turn the synchronoustool on again, the current slide, presented by the instructor with the latestsketches, is shown on the student?s screen. The students with non-tablet de-vices are able to answer the questions or annotate the slides using text andcan submit their annotation to the instructor using their web browser. Ad-ditionally, the submissions can be opened out of class time, so students cansubmit their answers outside of class. Then the instructor has to synchronizeto the presentation, using CP in order to load the latest submissions. UPalso enables students to access other anonymous submissions, which mayhelp them better understand and solve a problem.InkSurveySimilar to UP, InkSurvey [FKH07, KK07] is a free web-based applicationdeveloped at the Colorado School of Mines. However, in contrast to mostof the other applications, InkSurvey is not being used as a real-time contentdelivery and presentation tool, but only to provide the ability of sendingquestions to the students and collecting their submissions. The instructorcan prepare the questions before class time as well as modify them on thefly, based on the students? understanding. Students are allowed to completesubmissions anonymously and more than one question can be activated ata time so that students who quickly finish a problem can continue workingon other ones. The students can also be asked to provide a confidence levelon each submission which provides the instructor with valuable informationabout what parts students didn?t understand well.InkSurvey helps instructors to evaluate the fill-in-the-blank and shortanswers more easily by sorting the submissions based on their similarity tothe correct answer. This information can then be posted by the system131.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsto the instructor as graphs. The main technical drawback of InkSurvey isthat the instructor has to refresh its page to be updated with the latestsubmissions.GraphPadGraphPad [PB09] is also a web-based application. Similar to CP andDyKnow, this application enables the instructor to submit a question to stu-dents and receive their submissions. And, similar to InkSurvey, it evaluatesthe submissions automatically and groups them into correct and incorrectsubmissions. GraphPad also allows the instructor to replay the students?work, which can help the instructor to explore the students? exact weak-nesses and their understanding level of the course material. Furthermore,GraphPad provides a series of tutorials that guides students step-by-stepthrough the questions, because students are required to correctly answer aquestion in order to proceed to the next step.1.2.3 SummaryThe above applications are widely mentioned and have been reported inthe literature since 2000. However, the majority of the investigations use CPand DyKnow, the most popular and extensively used applications. DyKnowwas evaluated for the first time in 2000, in 7 classes with a total number of156 students in a computer science course [BBW04]. Thirty stations wereequipped with a Pentium PC and flat pen based screens attached as tabletPCs. In addition, a projector was attached to the instructor?s PC such thatthe instructor could type, text, draw sketches, or import materials on theelectronic whiteboard. The evaluation was through surveys measuring thestudents? attitudes toward using DyKnow and not the influence on learn-ing. Based on their results, the level of students? confidence was increasedbecause they knew they were leaving the classroom with an exceptional setof consistent notes. On the other hand, students distraction from emails,internet browsing and the other types of computer applications identifiedas having negative effect. Generally speaking, Berque and his co-workers141.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsstated that students found DyKnow enjoyable and useful in their learningprocess that improved their understanding and made them more attentivein class.In another study in 2006 [Ber06], Dyknow was studied running on tabletPCs. Eighty one students participated in the survey (64 boys and 17 girls).Seventy three percent of them strongly agreed that the system had a posi-tive effect on their learning and the same percentage wished that DyKnowwas used in other classes. Furthermore, instructors? survey shows that 100%of them ?strongly agreed? or ?agreed? that the system had a positive ef-fect on their experience as an instructor and on students? learning. Brequeconcluded that using pen based tablet PCs in the classrooms enhances thestudents? understanding inside the class using real-time examples and out-side the class providing an accurate set of notes. Articles which studiedDyKnow are collected and published in series of books [BPR06, Ree10].In contrast to DyKnow, CP was specifically built to be used on tabletPCs [AAS+04]. The effect of CP on the level of learning was studied evenmore extensively than DyKnow. Anderson et al. [AAS+04], for the firsttime used CP in a computer science course during 2002-2003 in 25 courses.Over 1000 students at 3 different universities were involved in the studiesand class sizes ranged from 7 to 181 with an average size of 54 students.Similar to DyKnow, positive impacts were observed on students? attentionand understanding of material. Correspondingly, instructors? reactions werealso very positive and they liked the way they could interact with studentsthrough the system.Additionally, Anderson et al. provided a number of similar investiga-tions [AMS05, AAD+06] to better examine the ability and functionality ofCP and tablet PCs (HP TC 1100) as a potential tool to enhance ActiveLearning. Here, the majority of the students were satisfied and mentionedthat the system had a positive effect on their learning. Another essentialobservation was the involvement of shy and quiet students who now had thesame opportunity to participate. The researchers also proposed that digitalink can be used for a wide variety of activities that cannot be achieved usingclickers or keyboards [AAD+06] since it results in a natural experience that151.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsis similar to using pen and paper. Following up on their previous study, in2006, Anderson et al. [AAC+06] ran a test similar to their previous studies[AMS05, AAC+06, AAS+04], but in addition to their previous findings, 2more important points were observed. The first one was the satisfaction ofthe instructor due to real-time feedback on students? understanding. Thesecond one was the positive impact of students being able to view otherstudents? answers. Another study from the same authors claimed that thesystem had a constructive effect on students? learning[AAC+06].Anderson and co-workers [AAD+07] conducted a classroom survey usingCP mostly focusing on real-time assessment. They reported that real-timeassessment is useful since the instructor can assess the level of understandingand can instantly design examples to cover that problem. Moreover, shar-ing the answers with other students results in better understanding of theproblem. Similar to the previous studies, students? reaction to the systemwas strongly positive. Eighteen out of 19 indicated that answering the in-class questions through the system had a positive impact on their learning.One of the students in the study indicated that learning with a tablet PCis a great experience since it kept him awake. Another advantage of thesystem was the high participation rate of students in different activities. In7 classes, 97% of the present students submitted a response to at least 1of the activities in class. They also observed that the participation rate ofstudents in different activities is significantly increased.CP with the extension Student Submissions [SAHS04] was studied incomputer science courses at the University of San Diego with 39 studentsin 15 different lectures. The study showed that slower students who couldnot complete the answer resisted submitting their work. Since the systemrecorded the submissions with students name, the instructor could identifythem and help them after class time. Based on the students? feedback, theauthors suggested that allowing anonymous submission may encourage shystudents to collaborate.Similar to [SAHS04, AAS+04], Tront J.G found that using tablet PCrunning CP increased students? engagement in the classroom [Tro05]. Hestudied 40 students in an engineering course at Virginia Tech. Students liked161.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsthe way they could track the slides and take notes. However, as noted in[BBW04] and [AAS+04] students could be distracted by browsing the webin class, although some students did not find this feature distracting butrather useful. In addition, the instructor noticed a much higher degree ofinterest and attendance in the course.An interesting investigation using tablet PCs and CP was conducted in2006, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) [KS06b], with 2 examsdesigned for students. For the first one, the instructor used blackboard andpaper while for the second one tablets were introduced. Results showed that35.7% of students scored in the top 10% on the first exam while 44.4% ofthem were in the top 10% of the class on the second exam. The authors,argued that an 8.7% increase in performance of the students was a significantimprovement. In class exercises, increased attention and attendance, real-time feedback for both students and instructor, and real-time adoption ofcourse materials by the instructor (based on the answers of students) werereported as the major reasons for the performance enhancement.Aside from all the advantages of CP, a challenge was discovered by[AMS05, AAD+06]. As the number of students increase in a class, it becamedifficult for the instructor to analyze the solutions instantly because most ofthe students submitted their solutions simultaneously and close to the end ofclass time. Thus, they suggested that an algorithm which can group similaranswers together could solve such a problem. The algorithm could clusterthe submissions in correct, partially correct and incorrect groups. The effectof the system on students and instructors was studied using surveys. Theinstructors? perception was that grouping the answers of students can bevery useful.Koile et al. [KS06a] studied the same issue. They believed that givingfeedback on each submission becomes challenging as the number of sub-missions exceeds 8. Koile and Singer provides a solution for this problemby building CLP on top of CP. Similar to Anderson et al.?s system, CLPwas evaluated to see how it affected the student?s focus, attentiveness, andsatisfaction. Unfortunately, no detailed information about the accuracy ofgrouping in these systems was provided.171.2. Collaborative Learning and TabletsThis challenge was also addressed by Kowalski et al. [KKG09]. Theysuggested that students who quickly finish submitting their answers might betempted to access computer games and browse the Internet. They suggesteda solution where instructors were informed if students were using other ap-plications so they could prompt the student. However, if instructors wishednot to limit their students in this way they could post multiple questions sothe students who finished solving the problem faster could start working onthe rest. In this study, Kowalski et al. distributed a survey to the universityinstructors who had used or were using tablets in their classrooms[KKG09].Nineteen instructors responded to their survey. The majority of the instruc-tors used InkSurvey or DyKnow, and the others used CP or UP. The systemwas used by the instructors in 4 semesters on average, during either all thelectures or once a week. One of the instructors explained the student-tabletinteraction in 3 steps. First students were initially excited to use the tablet.Then they were familiarized themselves to using it. And finally they becameprofessional and enthusiastic users which helped them improve their learn-ing. Most of the instructors agreed that the system could help students withdiverse learning abilities. However, some instructors believed that quiet andshy students may benefit from the system the most since they are not usu-ally willing to engage in class activities publicly and are more likely to getinvolved using a system in which they don?t have to speak out loud and caneven submit their answers anonymously. They also believed that studentsattendance rate was increased. One of the instructors mentioned that thestudents were waiting outside of the classroom before the class started andwere reluctant to leave when it was over.Aside from all the reported benefits in Kowalsiki et al.?s study, someinstructors indicated that they could not cover as much material using sucha system. However, greater number of instructors thought that they wereusing class time more efficiently since they could focus on the topics thestudents misunderstood instead of wasting time covering the parts studentsalready understood. Instructors also believed that their teaching and pre-paredness process changed fundamentally as they had to be more preparedand provide in-class exercises for real-time assessment. Moreover, they re-181.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsported that the way the class time was used changed. Now, most of theclass time spent on conversations, collaboration, and engagement that em-phasized the materials students didn?t understand well.Moore and Yoder [IUH+08] studied how tablets can be useful in Dis-tributed Learning (DL) environments. DL environment enables studentsin different geographical location to attend classes using videoconference.Moore and Yoder described some of the challenges of DL as the limitationson: 1) basic classroom interaction and collaboration between the instructorand students, and 2) students? in-class exercise level of engagement and as-sessment. They examined how these limitations could be reduced by TabletPC with DyKnow and its overall impact on students? learning in DL en-vironments. Over the 2006-2008 academic years about 120 students and 5instructors in 6 different engineering courses were involved in the study. Allstudents used a tablet during the course sessions. Three different surveyswere collected throughout the course. Students? answers to the questionsrelated to the traditional DL classes without the use of tablets ranged be-tween fair and good while their answers to the questions related to the DLclasses with use of tablet and DyKnow varied between very good and excel-lent. The results from the surveys also showed that students felt that theywere more involved during the lecture and they could interact more withthe instructor.The research regarding the effectiveness of the tablet in Active and Col-laborative Learning was resumed in 2010 following the release of the iPad.The popularity of the iPad brought a new level of interest to tablets in theeducation context. In less than 3 years, 8 million iPads were sold to educa-tional institutions internationally, with 4.5 million sold in the United States[Pac13]. Moreover, Apple recently announced that iTunes U (the largest andfree database for educational content provided by educational institutionsworld wide) crossed 1 billion content downloads [App13a].Research on how the iPad can assist education started following debateson the effectiveness of the iPad in education [MF10, Wat10]. The earlyresearch were pilot studies which were mostly conducted at the K12 educa-tion level mostly in the United States [Qui11, CPW12, Bon13]. Based on191.2. Collaborative Learning and Tabletsa New York Times article published in 2011, the New York public schoolordered 2,000 iPads for $ 1.3 million for an initiative study. The VirginiaDepartment of Education, also spent $ 150,000 for 11 schools [Hei11].One of the earliest studies on the post-secondary education level [Mur11]thought that iPad had significant potential for enhancing learning quality.Additionally, it reported 36 universities around the world were using the iPadfor at least one of the following purposes: mobile access to course materi-als, enrollment and administration, student-student and student-instructorcollaboration; content generation; research/material yielding; and/or pro-ductivity enhancement. Results of articles studying the impact of iPad ineducation so far are consistent with the earlier research regarding the ef-fectiveness of tablet on active and Collaborative Learning. Similar to ear-lier studies like [SAHS04, AAS+04, Tro05], Manuguerra et al. [MP11] andOostveen et al. [OMG11] also argued that students were more engaged inclassrooms using the iPad rather than static style lectures. Furthermore,one of the participant faculty members in a study by Wainwright [Wai12],noted that the iPad provided a high level of interaction and engagementin classrooms. In that study, 15 iPads were assigned to 15 faculty mem-bers to explore what the faculties used the iPad for the most. Their studyshowed that the iPad was being used in the classroom, in field, for managingthe classroom, research purposes, and for discipline specific apps 63%, 38%,38%, 69%, and 25% of the time respectively.A study at the University of Melbourne [JTMM11] reported that theability of quickly and easily displaying, sharing, and accessing the materialswere benefits of the iPad that resulted in higher student engagement. How-ever, as mentioned by [BBW04, AAS+04, KKG09], this study also showedconcerns about possible distractions from games and the Internet. Nev-ertheless, they also suggested that increasing students? self-monitoring byeducating them about the inappropriate use of the iPad in classroom couldhelp control and even solve the problem.The literature indicates that the iPad is an overall satisfactory experiencefor students and instructors. Most of the students involved in studies usingiPad were not interested in going back to the traditional classrooms [MP11,201.3. MotivationHOS11, THM12]. The majority of the research was conducted on smallgroups of participants and surveys determined the ways iPad could assiststudents and instructors. However, the direct impact of iPads on learninghas yet to be studied. There are more than 20,000 education and learningiPad applications [App13b] developed specifically for K-12 and universitylevel. However, in contrast to the earlier tablets, there is not as yet asimilar application to DyKnow, CP, and etc. which can assist the Activeand Collaborative Learning on both the students? and instructor?s end.1.3 MotivationThe literature suggests that tablets are highly used for CollaborativeLearning. However, most of the discussed applications only provide a betterin-class student-instructor collaboration and do not improve the in-class andon-line student-student interaction and on-line student-instructor collabora-tion. These applications are mostly used for content delivery, annotating,and presentation tools where students can only contribute to multiple choiceand open-ended questions. The goal of the present work was to propose anapplication to better use the tablet?s features fulfilling the gaps mentionedabove.1.4 OverviewIn this thesis, I propose a real-time web-based application for Collabora-tive Learning, assisting instructor-student and student-student in-class andonline collaboration. I also describe the developed prototype focusing onthe student-student interaction (Chapter 2). During the prototype develop-ment, I encountered a technical challenge regarding developing a real-timeweb-based application due to the limitations of the Web. Chapter 3 detailshow I solved this technical challenge. Moreover the prototype is studiedand analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of the application (Chapter 4).Finally I will conclude with describing the potential future work (Chapter5).21Chapter 2A Mobile Application forCollaborative Learning(MACL)The applications discussed in Section 1.2.2 are not compatible with thenewer generation of tablets. They also are mostly limited as a content andslide delivery tool with the ability of sharing annotations. Most importantlythey only support student-instructor collaboration and not student-studentcollaboration.The vision for MACL focused on student-student collaboration to bringa higher level of Active and Collaborative Learning to classrooms. UsingMACL, instructors can design and create customized in-class and home ex-ercises, distribute them to the students? groups, observe their developmentindividually and as a group, and give them instant feedback. Students canalso collaborate with their teammates in real-time, in class or from home,watch other students? work, and submit their work to the instructor.2.1 Design ElementsMACL includes 2 main components: the instructor view and the stu-dent view. Each of these components is further discussed in the followingsubsections.222.1. Design ElementsTT TT BXComplete the structure of the substance |TFigure 2.1: Using MACL, instructors can create customizable exercises.2.1.1 Instructor ViewAs shown in Figure 2.1, instructors from different fields can design andcreate customized exercises. For instance,? a biology instructor can create a molecule exercise and ask the studentsto create a substance,? an English literature instructor can create an open-ended question andask the students to write the answer,? a computer science instructor can create a flowchart and ask the stu-dents to solve it.232.2. PrototypeThe instructor then delivers the exercises to the students in real-timefor them to solve in groups or individually, in-class or from home. Whilestudents are working on the exercises, the instructor can monitor each stu-dent?s and the group?s progress and development in real-time. This can helpthe instructor detect the students? weaknesses and guide them with instantfeedback. The instructor can also view each student?s contribution.Similar to the applications discussed in Section 1.2.2, MACL enables theinstructor to annotate on the exercises and content. Students can see theannotations on their tablet in real-time. Moreover, the instructor can alsosolve the exercise or project the students work on a big screen for wholeclass.As soon as the students submit their answer, MACL can help the in-structor mark the exercises. For simple exercises with a solid answer suchas a flowchart or multiple choice questions, MACL can generate an exactmark. However, for more complex exercises such as open-ended questions,it can assist the instructor by grouping similar answers.2.1.2 Student ViewStudents must login to MACL using their tablet and then receive exer-cises from the instructor as soon as they log into MACL using their tablets.Then, they start solving the exercises individually or collaboratively withother students in real-time. Any change a student in the group makes willbe updated on other students? and the instructor?s tablet in less than 100milliseconds. This enables each student to collaborate with the instructorand other students in the group with an equal opportunity of contributingto the exercise.2.2 PrototypeIn the present research a prototype of MACL?s student view was de-veloped and studied. The objective of this thesis was to develop a proto-type of MACL?s student view by adapting the PDA system previously built242.2. Prototype[Las09, PL10] for the iPad. Instead of a native application, our system iscross-platform and web-based. Thus it can be easily extended to any mobiledevice and Smartphone.2.2.1 Flowchart ExerciseThe current prototype enables students to solve a flowchart exercise. Af-ter log in, students are assigned to a class group and are led to a full screeninteractive user interface shared by all members of the group. The cur-rent prototype has 3 different functionalities: dragging an existing elementaround the screen, drawing an arrow from one element to another element,and deleting an existing arrow. Each student?s identity is associated witha unique color so that updates can be recognized as belonging to a specificstudent.As illustrated in Figures 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4, the activity of students A,B, and C is represented respectively by the colours blue, green, and red,respectively. In Figure 2.2, student A (blue) is drawing a line. In Figure2.3, student B (green) is dragging a component. And in Figure 2.4, studentC (red) is deleting a line. Elements and arrows are presented in the colourrepresenting the last person who recently moved the elements or drew thelines. These elements will remain in the student?s colour until they are beingused by a different student.Taping the Arrow button enables each student to draw an arrow bytouching the starting element and moving their finger around the screen.As soon as they end their touch on another element, an arrow will be drawnbetween the starting and the ending component. They can also reorganizetheir flowchart by moving the components around using the Drag button.When the Delete button is touched, a cross then appears on the end pointof each arrow on the screen. The arrow is deleted by touching the cross onthe lines. All the buttons and touchable components are implemented in areasonable size so that they can be easily touched [App13c].In order to prevent conflicts such as a component being dragged by 2 ormore students, a component which is already been dragged by one student,252.2. Prototypeis locked. The locked component is specified by the lock icon that appearson the top left corner of the component (See Figure 2.5).2.2.2 ImplementationAs any other web-based application, MACL includes client-side andserver-side. The client-side is implemented in HTML5 and JavaScript touse the great flexibility and functionality of the HTML5s canvas elementand prompt a rich mobile user interface. The server-side is also written inJavaScript. For the system to be usable, student updates must be pushedto the other students as they occur (e.g. in less than 100ms, see Figure2.6), to prevent flickering shapes, which could also lead to user frustration.To respond to the immediate communication demands of the application, Iused the most current technology of Web-Socket [Car13b]. The process ofchoosing the best technique is further discussed in the following chapter.262.2. PrototypeSend out invitationsResearch location for ceremonyShop bridemaids? dressesLocation has music?Rent extra chairsShop wedding dressLocation available?Announce your engagementDecide a wedding budgetAgreed on ceremoney locationFinalize the reservationCreate a guest listSelect a wedding dateHire a DJLocation has enough chairs?NoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesCall to reserve the locationFigure 2.2: Student A (blue) is drawing a line. For the coloured version ofthe picture please refer to the on-line copy.272.2. PrototypeSend out invitationsResearch location for ceremonyShop bridemaids? dressesLocation has music?Rent extra chairsShop wedding dressLocation available?Announce your engagementDecide a wedding budgetAgreed on ceremoney locationFinalize the reservationCreate a guest listSelect a wedding dateHire a DJLocation has enough chairs?NoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesCall to reserve the locationFigure 2.3: Student B (green) is dragging an element. For the colouredversion of the picture please refer to the on-line copy.282.2. PrototypeSend out invitationsResearch location for ceremonyShop bridemaids? dressesLocation has music?Rent extra chairsShop wedding dressLocation available?Announce your engagementDecide a wedding budgetAgreed on ceremoney locationFinalize the reservationCreate a guest listSelect a wedding dateHire a DJLocation has enough chairs?NoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesCall to reserve the locationFigure 2.4: Student C (red) is deleting a line. For the coloured version ofthe picture please refer to the on-line copy.292.2. PrototypeShop wedding dressFigure 2.5: A display showing an element is locked for other students asone student is already dragging it.ServerUpdate 1Update 1Update 1Update 1Update 2Update 2Update 2Update 2Client 3Client 2Client 1Client 4Figure 2.6: A display showing that updates are broadcasted to the otherclients as soon as they occur.30Chapter 3What Data DeliveryTechnique Should Be Used?As described in Section 1.2.2, most of the applications being used inthe literature are native applications and not web applications. Native ap-plications are platform dependent and designed for a specific device andoperating system. For instance, if an application needs for use on iOS(iPad), android-based tablets (Samsung tablet), and windows-based tablets(Microsoft Surface), 3 different versions of the application need to be devel-oped. In contrast, web applications such as MACL are cross-platform andcan be developed to be used on any device (any tablet or personal computer)that has a web browser. Despite the flexibility of web applications, it canbe very challenging to implement real-time applications that require verylow-latency data delivery.MACL is a dynamic web application that requires faster and double-sided client-server communication to deliver the data from the server tothe clients as soon as they occur. However, the existing Internet used theHTTP protocol where the client opens a connection to the server by issuinga request and the server closes the connection as soon as it has responded tothe client. This classical model, called REST, does not create a persistentconnection between client and server [FT02, BMD09]. Therefore, there isno possibility for a server to push data to the client without a client request.However, social networking web pages, chat applications, auction websites,multi-user games, and other such applications require a change in the client?suser interface as soon as an update occurs on the server side. MACL, asa collaborative multi-user real-time application, also requires a very fast313.1. Dynamic Data Transferdata delivery technique. Such technique should be capable of receiving theupdates from other clients as soon as they occur without having to refreshthe browser. The existing techniques are discussed and compared in thefollowing sections in order to select the one most appropriate for MACL.3.1 Dynamic Data TransferSeveral techniques exist for transferring data dynamically from the serverto the client. All these techniques are built based on the existing HTTPInternet protocol. Some of these protocols achieve their goal by extendingthe existing API of popular internet services such as Google [BJ05], someare trying to introduce newer architectures [Poh10], and most of them areusing techniques like long-polling, Ajax, server push or other such methods.3.1.1 Dynamic Data Transfer TechniquesHighly interactive web applications are generally implemented by thepull style [BMD09] in which a client contacts the server for new updateswithin fixed time intervals. This approach is the easiest one in terms to im-plement [BMD09, She13]. Server push is an alternative for such an approach,where the server initiates a request to the client based on a publish/subscribemodel. In contrast to the pull style, implementing a server push is muchmore complex, due to the HTTP protocol?s nature [BMD09].In this chapter I compare the existing technologies for server push basedon the literature with the objective to determine which technology is theclosest to real-time (i.e. has the lowest data latency). Push and pull tech-niques will be explained in detail in the following sections.3.1.2 Real-time ConceptThe most significant performance measure for the client-server modelis the response time in getting data from the server [KD98]. This responsetime should be minimal for highly-interactive web applications that are beingused in real-time. Since the term ?real-time? does not have a concise and323.2. HTTP Pullspecific definition in the literature, the question arises for real-time do wemean exactly in the same instant, less than a second or within a few seconds?Consider the following use-cases:1. in a Facebook page the notifications appear on a user?s wall withoutthe user refreshing the page,2. in an auction website, a page gets updated as soon as a new bid ismade,3. in a multi-user game, the other clients? interfaces are changed imme-diately after a player updates the coordinates,4. in an educational collaborative applications, each student?s contribu-tion should be instantly updated on the other students? devices.Each of the named use-cases needs real-time interaction in communica-tion between the server and the clients. The word real-time can be defineddifferently in each case. A new notification can be considered as real-timewithin a few seconds, a bid update with a delay of more than a secondcould be inaccurate, and a delay of one second on a multi-user game or acollaborative application may result in user frustration.3.2 HTTP PullAs depicted in Figure 3.1(a), in the HTTP protocol, a client pulls datadown from the server. The client-server connection is closed as soon as theserver responds to the client.In order to fetch new updates from the server, the client has to initiateanother request to the server. By looping this process at a defined inter-val known as Time to Refresh (TTR) [BMD07], the client gets the recentupdated data from the server. This approach is called HTTP Pull (see Fig-ure 3.1(a)). The vital problem with this concept is that the updates onthe server do not happen in the same fixed interval. Two further problemscan be associated with fixed intervals. First, more than one data change333.2. HTTP Pull1. In a Facebook page the notifications appear on a user?s wall without the userrefreshing the page,2. in an auction website, a page gets updated as soon as a new bid is made,3. in a multi-user game, the other client?s interfaces are changed immediately aftera player updates the coordinates.Each of the named use-cases needs real-time interaction in communication betweenthe server and the clients. The word real-time can be defined differently in each case.A new notification can be considered as real-time within a few seconds; a bid?s updatewith a delay of more than a second could be inaccurate, and a delay of one second ona multi-user game may result in user frustration.ClientServerTimeTimeClientActivityServerProcessingDataTransmissionClientActivity ClientActivityServerProcessingData TransmissionData Transmission DataTransmission(a)ClientServerAjax request #1Response (no data)Event 1Event 2 TimeTimeAjax request #2Ajax request #3Response (no data)Response ( with data)(b)Figure 1: a) Traditional client-server model based on Pull. b) Classic Pull as a serverPush using Ajax requests.5Figure 3.1: a) Traditional client-server model based on Pull. b) ClassicPull as a server Push using Ajax requests.may occur within an interval of which the client is not aware. In order toavoid such a condition, the pulling incidence has to be high [BMD07], suchthat each update is detected individually. This is obtained by having theclient send requests in smaller intervals of times than the updates incidences.However, this process may result in high network traffic and redundant mes-sages. Second, several intervals might end up with no changes to send tothe client. This risk is increased as the pulling incidences become higher.Unfortunately, it is impossible to ensure that one and only one request isinitiated for each update [BJ05]. Adaptive TTR [BDK+02] is a modifiedversion of HTTP pull (static TTR), where the server is allowed to change343.3. AJAXthe time interval dynamically based on the previous data change rate. Thismethod is more efficient than static TTR [SLR98].HTTP pull is frequently used due to its easy implementation [BMD07,HJ99]. Nevertheless, it is not an efficient scheme for highly-interactive andreal-time collaborative web applications such as real-time multi-user onlinegames which require extremely short response time.In the same way, suppose 2 users are working face-to-face on the sameapplication, each with their own screen. While one user drags a shape,another user observes this action simultaneously on his/her own screen. Theuse of HTTP pull may result in late update times and flickering shapes.3.3 AJAXAjax [Gar13] is an acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML andgroups several web development techniques such as XHTML, CSS, Docu-ment Object Model and XMLHttpRequest. As shown in Figure 3.2, unlikethe classic HTTP protocol, in Ajax, the communication between the clientand the server is not direct. The browser sends a request to the serverthrough the Ajax engine. This engine enhances client-server interactionspeed by reducing the ?start-stop-start-stop? characteristics of communi-cation in the Web [Gar13, AB06]. Using Ajax, web applications can senddata to or retrieve data from the web server asynchronously and withoutrefreshing the browser. This feature enables the web browser to update partof a web page without needing to reload the whole page, which preventsadditional load on the web server and a busy bandwidth. For instance,during the client-server communication, the client?s request goes into theAjax engine in form of a JavaScript call, then, if the request is a simpleprocess (e.g. validating data) which does not need the server to be involved,the Ajax engine will perform the response. Otherwise, the engine sends thesame request to the server asynchronously without freezing the user interface[AB06].In February 2005, this novel technique was called Ajax for the first timein Jesse James Garrett?s article , Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applica-353.4. Server PushClientServerData TransmissionServerProcessingData TransmissionServerProcessingDataTrans mission Data Transmission Data TransmissionServerProcessingInputDisplay InputInputDisplayDisplayTimeAjax EngineData TransmissionClient ActivityTimeBrowserFigure 2: Ajax web application model.3 HTTP PullAs depicted in Figure 1, in the HTTP protocol, a client pulls data down to the server.The client-server connection will be closed as soon as the server responds to the client.In order to fetch new updates from the server, the client has to initiate another requestto the server and get the updates. By looping this process at a defined interval knownas Time to Refresh (TTR) [5], the client gets the recent updated data from the server.This approach is called HTTP Pull. The vital problems with this concept is that theupdates on the server do not happen in the same fixed interval. Two further problemsassociated with fixed intervals can be seen in the following two cases. First, more thanone data change within an interval may occur that the client was not aware of. Inorder to avoid such a condition, the pulling incidence has to be high [5], such that eachupdate is detected individually. This is obtained by having the client sending requestsin smaller intervals of times than the updates incidences. However, this process mayresult in high network traffic and redundant messages. Second, several intervals mightend up with no changes to send to the client. This risk is increased as the pullingincidences gets higher. Unfortunately, it is impossible to ensure that one and onlyone request is initiated for each update [7]. Adaptive TTR [4] is a modified versionof HTTP pull (static TTR), where the server is allowed to change the time intervaldynamically based on the previous data change rate. This method is more efficientthan static TTR [18].HTTP pull is frequently used due to its easy implementation [5, 16]. Nevertheless,it is not an efficient scheme for highly-interactive and real-time collaborative webapplications such as real-time multi-user online games which entail extremely highresponse time.In the same way, suppose two users are working face-to-face on the same applica-tions on their own screens. While one user drags a shape, another user observes thisaction simultaneously on his/her own screen. The use of HTTP pull may result in lateupdate times and flickering shapes.6Figure 3.2: Ajax web application model.tions [Gar13]. Google was a pioneer in using Ajax, as most of the Googleapplications, namely, Gmail, Google maps, Google Suggest, Google Groupsand others made use of this technology since 2004. The features of Ajaxare making it useful for real-time data delivery where it is known as reverseAjax or Comet (see Subsection 3.4.3).3.4 Server PushThe concept of push (called dynamic document) was first introduced byNetscape in 1992 as HTTP streaming [Net13]. In contrast to the concept ofpull, the server sends the updates directly to the client. This push can beachieved by various methods, for instance, Piggyback, Comet, Long Polling,etc. Typically the connection, which was initiated by a client request, isnot terminated after the response data has been sent from the server. Thispermanent connection launches new updates to the web-browser immedi-ately after an event occurs. However, server push can not be implementedas a re push and generally appli s a p iodic pull or simil r concept[Poh10, FZ98]. Server ush performs better using the Ajax and Comet363.4. Server Pushtechnologies [Rus13] but still deals with the classic HTTP protocol. Usingpush techniques increases the data coherency and network performance, butuses more CPU cycles in comparison with pull. Moreover, the demand ofimplementation is significant [Poh10]. This section explains different pushtechniques and compares their performance in data latency and scalability.3.4.1 PiggybackPiggyback is a method for pushing data from the server to the client.This method is the same as HTTP pull with 2 significant differences. Thefirst difference is that rather than using time intervals which results in un-necessary requests, the request is initiated whenever the client wants. Thesecond difference is the way that the server responds to the client, whichis divided into 2 steps: 1) reply to the requested data, and 2) update anyother data, if any is available [Car13b].Piggyback is easy to implement. However, Piggyback is not efficientenough for applications that need low-latency updates on the client side,as soon as any change occurs on the server side and not just when a clientrequests it. In addition, similar to HTTP Pull, as the number of clientsmounts, the server has to respond to more sequential requests. This canadd to response time and increase the data latency, thus, Piggyback doesnot scale for a large number of clients.3.4.2 HTTP StreamingHTTP streaming is a fundamental push method which has the same con-cept as Netscape?s dynamic document? [Net13]. This streaming method canbe divided into 2 approaches namely, Page Streaming and Service Streaming[BMD07].Page StreamingPage Streaming streams server data in response to a long-lived HTTPconnection that is made by an initial page load. As soon as the server detectsthe occurrence of an event, it pushes the updates to the client and flushes373.4. Server Pushthe stream without actually closing the connection. This connection is keptopen by running a long loop, during which it waits for new updates.Service StreamingService Streaming is another HTTP streaming technique that performsbetter than Page Streaming but does not work with all browsers. UnlikePage Streaming, Service Streaming uses a XMLHttpRequest object to pro-vide a long-lived connection in the background. In this method, the lengthand frequency of connections are more flexible. Thus it is possible to chooseto load a page normally and then start to stream when a button is clicked orto load a page while simultaneously streaming. Additionally, it is possibleto specify the length of the connection, so that it can be reset periodically.3.4.3 Comet or Reverse AJAXPull and Piggyback are not very useful for real-time, highly-interactiveweb applications, since they do not scale and do not provide low-latencydata delivery. As illustrated in Figure 3.3, Comet or Reverse Ajax [BMD09],enable the client to receive updates from the server without the client explic-itly requesting them. In this method, the connection opened by the client iskept alive until it times out or an event occurs on the server [Car13a]. Theconnection is closed after the server replies and completes the request, thenanother Ajax request will be initiated (see Figure 3.4). Currently Cometis using HTTP/1.1 which provides persistent connection between the clientand the server. Prior to HTTP/1.1, the long-lived connections were estab-lished by keeping the TCP connections alive. So, for each new request, anew TCP connection had to be created which could cause huge jammingon the network [BMD09]. Moreover scalability was a challenge for infre-quent events since the server had to deal with frequent open connections[MD08]. HTTP/1.1 prevents unnecessary TCP connections from being ini-tiated and closed, and reduces memory usage and CPU time for routers andhosts [BMD09]. However, as the number of clients increases, the reliabil-ity of receiving messages decreases [MD08]. It is worth pointing out that383.4. Server Pushimplementing the Comet technique is not as easy as Piggyback and HTTPpull. Moreover, it needs some modifications on the server side for managinglong-lived connections [Car13a].ClientServerLong-lived request #1Event 1Event 3TimeTimeClient request #2ResponseLong-lived request #1 completesLong-lived request #2Long-lived request #2 completesLong-lived request #3ResponseEvent 2Request issuspendedRequest issuspendedFigure 3: Reverse-Ajax or Comet: A server push technique.be created which could cause huge jamming on the network [6]. Moreover scalabilitywas a challenge in infrequent events since the server had to deal with frequent openconnections [19]. HTTP/1.1 prevents unnecessary TCP connections from being ini-tiated and closed, and reduces memory usage and CPU time for routers and hosts[6]. However, as the number of clients increases, the reliability in receiving messagesdecreases [19]. It is worth to point out that, implementing the Comet technique is notas easy as Piggyback and HTTP pull. Moreover, it needs some modification on theserver side for managing long-lived connections [8].ClientServerDisplayEventComet ClientTimeBrowserEventComet EventsTimeServer ProcessingEventEventEventEventEventEventConnection InitiatedD ata TransmissionD ata TransmissionD ataTransmis sion D ata TransmissionData TransmissionD ata TransmissionDataTransmissionDispla yDisplayDisplayDisplayDisplayFigure 4: Comet web application model.The most significant advantage of the Comet technology is that there is always aconnection between the client and the server. Therefore, the client can be aware of9Figure 3.3: Reverse-Ajax or Comet: A server push technique.The most significant advantage of the Comet technology is that there isalways a connection between the client and the server. Therefore, the clientcan be aware of any event happe ing on the server side except duri g thetime when the request is completed and the connection is closed. When thc nnection is closed, th server is not abl to send further updates to theclient. The follo ing technologies will help to solve the problem.Comet using HTTP StreamingIn Comet, using HTTP streaming, a persistent connection is opened byan initial request and never gets closed (see Figure 3.5). Thus, updates arepushed to the client via the same connection as soon as they appear in theserver. The challenge with this approach is that clients need some way toseparate the responses via the same connection [Car13a] since all responsesare passing through the same connection. Comet using HTTP Streaming393.4. Server PushClientServerLong-lived request #1Event 1Event 3TimeTimeClient request #2ResponseLong-lived request #1 completesLong-lived request #2Long-l ived request  #2 completesLong-lived request #3ResponseEvent 2Request issuspendedRequest issuspendedFigure 3: Reverse-Ajax or Comet: A server push technique.be created which could cause huge jamming on the network [6]. Moreover scalabilitywas a challenge in infrequent events since the server had to deal with frequent openconnections [19]. HTTP/1.1 prevents unnecessary TCP connections from being ini-tiated and closed, and reduces memory usage and CPU time for routers and hosts[6]. However, as the number of clients increases, the reliability in receiving messagesdecreases [19]. It is worth to point out that, implementing the Comet technique is notas easy as Piggyback and HTTP pull. Moreover, it needs some modification on theserver side for managing long-lived conn ctions [8].ClientServerDisplayEventComet ClientTimeBrowserEventComet EventsTimeServer ProcessingEventEventEventEventEventEventConnectionInitiatedD ata TransmissionData TransmissionD ataTransmis sion Data TransmissionData TransmissionData TransmissionDataTransmissionDisplayDisplayDisplayDisplayDispla yFigure 4: Comet web application model.The most significant advantage of the Comet technology is that there is always aconnection between the client and the server. Therefore, the client can be aware of9Figure 3.4: Comet web application model.can be implemented in 2 ways: 1) using forever iFrames; and 2) XMLHttpobjects.iFrame Generally, HTTP streaming sets up a persistent connection byopening a hidden iFrame element, which is also known as forever iFrame.Via this persistent connection, chunked data is pushed to the client incre-mentally and rendered by the browser [BMD09, Sch13]. This technique issupported with the most common browsers and it is fairly simple to imple-ment [Car13a]. However, there is no way to detect when the connection isbroken between the browser and the server [Car13a].Multi-part XMLHttpRequest Multi-part XMLHttpRequest is a methodof reduce the number of requests from the client to the server by bindingthe data, sending them through a single request and separating them oncethey get to the server. This method can be used with HTTP Streaming to403.4. Server PushClientServerLong-lived request #1Event 1Event 3TimeTimeClient action #2ResponseEvent 2Request issuspendedResponseResponseResponseClient action #3ResponseFigure 5: Comet using HTTP streaming.any event happening on the server side except during the time when the request iscompleted and the connection is closed. When the connection is closed, the server isnot able to send further updates to the client. The following technologies will help tosolve the problem.5.3.1 Comet using HTTP StreamingIn Comet, using HTTP streaming, a persistent connection is opened by an initialrequest and never gets closed (see Figure 5). Thus, updates are pushed to the clientvia the same connection as soon as they appear in the server. The challenge withthis approach is, since all responses are passing through the same connection, clientsneed some way to separate the responses via the same connection [8]. Comet usingHTTP Streaming can be implemented in two ways: 1) using forever iFrames, and 2)XMLHttp objects.iFrameGenerally, HTTP streaming sets up a persistent connection by opening a hiddeniFrame element, which is also known as forever iFrame. Via this persistent connection,chunked data is pushed to the client incrementally and rendered by the browser[6, 23]. This technique is supported with the most common browsers and it is fairlysimple in terms of implementation [8]. However, there is no way to detect when theconnection is broken between the browser and the server [8].Multi-part XMLHttpRequest10Figure 3.5: Comet usinf HTTP streaming.provide a more reliable pu h techn que. The client sends a request to thes rver, then the serv r responds and keeps the connection open to provi ea long-lived connection. Then, as an event occurs on the server, a multi-part response will be sent to the client through the connection. In contrastto the forever iFrame technique, the process is more complex on the serverside. It is necessary to first send a multi-part response and then suspendthe connection for later events. On the one hand, si ce there is one openconnection per client, th bandwidth usage is low. On the other hand onlyf w browsers support multi-part flag, and chunking the data may result inhigh data latency.Long PollingIn a Long Polling approach, the browser initiates a new request to theserver that is kept open until an update becomes available. The connectionis closed as soon as the server sends a complete response to the client.Immediately after, the client sends a new request to the server. Cometalways performs better than pull. In comparison with pull, Comet Long413.4. Server PushPolling always consumes less bandwidth (more scalable) and provides lowerdata latency [BMD07]. Long Polling can be implemented using 2 approachesnamely, XMLHttpRequest and Scrip tags, which are described below.XMLHttpRequest Long Polling uses XMLHttpRequest just like HttpStreaming with the exception of sending data in a multi-part way. A requestis sent to the server and waits for the response. As soon as a response isavailable, the server sends it through the suspended connection and closesit. The client then opens another suspended connection by resending a newrequest to the server.Script tag Similar to HTTP Streaming using forever iFrame, Long Pollingwith script tag uses HTML tags to execute the script. The server suspendsthe connection until an event occurs and then sends the data back to thescript and reopens another HTML tag. As with iFrame, it is not possibleto detect any error in the connection.3.4.4 Web-SocketWeb-Socket is a new and advanced technology compared to Comet andAjax. The complexity of managing bi-directional connections is simplifiedby this approach. Web-Socket creates a full-duplex, bi-directional socketconnection between the client and the server to ferry the messages sent bythe client or the server (see Figure 3.6). The client sends an Http requestcalled a Web-Socket handshake to the server. Then the client subscribes foran event through Web-Socket server and the server sends the updates backas soon as the event occurs. Web-Socket server is an Event Machine thatsupports Web-Socket.This technique is supported by many browsers since the HTML5 Web-Socket provides an API that allows web pages to use Web-Socket. UsingWeb-Socket reduces bandwidth usage(more scalable) and data latency sig-nificantly since they create fewer requests. Unlike Comet, with Web-Socketit is possible to handle errors more easily. Moreover, Web-Socket is more423.4. Server PushClientServerWeb-Sockethandshakesocket.send()sock et.onmessage()socket.send()Event 1Event 2TimeTimeFigure 6: Comet using Web-Socket.Socket creates a full-duplex, bi-directional socket connection between the client andthe server to ferry the messages sent by the client or the server (see Figure 6). Theclient sends an Http request called Web-Socket handshake to the server. Then theclient subscribes for an event through Web-Socket server and the server sends the up-dates back as soon as the event occurs. Web-Socket server is an Event Machine thatsupports Web-Socket.This technique is supported by many browsers since the HTML5 Web-Socket pro-vide an API that allows web pages to use Web-Socket. Using Web-Socket, reducesbandwidth usage(more scalable) and data latency significantly since they create fewerrequests. Unlike Comet, with Web-Socket it is possible to handle errors easily. More-over, Web-Socket is more scalable compared to the other push techniques. However,the implementation of Web-Socket on the server is challenging [9].5.5 Which Technique Is The BestWhich push technique is the best to use is dependent on the problem to solve. Table1 compares different Push techniques from different aspects. As illustrated in thetable, since implementing Web-Socket is challenging it is worth to use other Pushtechniques for most of the web applications. However, Web-Socket provides the lowestdata latency since the server pushes the updates to the clients as soon as they occur.It also scales better because there is only one open connection per client. Thus,Web-Socket is convenient for highly interactive real-time applications. Sometimes it isworth to choose Long Polling instead of Web-Socket, even though Long Polling doesnot scale as much as Web-Socket but implementing Web-Socket needs more effort andknowledge. For instance, Web-Socket is always the best choice for real-time highlyinteractive web games but Long-Polling could be satisfiable for a social networkingwebsite?s notification.The study of E. Bozdag et al. [6] compared data latency and scalability of HTTP12Figure 3.6: Comet using Web-Socket.scalable compared to the other push techniques. However, the implementa-tion of Web-Socket on the server is challenging [Car13b].3.4.5 Node.jsJavaScript is popular as a client-side programming language while mostof the server-side programs are written in PHP or ASP.Net. Now, it ispossible to write the server-side with JavaScript as well, which has manyadvantages over the previous approaches. This new concept was introducedby Rya Dahl as a JavaScrip framework called Node.js [nod13]. Node is aset of server-side JavaScript libraries built on top of Google?s high perfor-mance Version 8 JavaScript engine. V8 in erprets the JavaScript optimallyon Google Chrome but can be used for any other application as well. Nodehas some significant features, which make it different from other traditionalmethods. Since Node utilizes the most optimized methodologies, it pro-vides high scalable applications using the Event-Driven model. One of themost important features that Node provides is handling concurrency usingonly one thread. In contrast to Java applications, Node eliminates multi-threading by using an eve t loop. In multi-threading, one thread is needed433.4. Server Pushfor each concurrent connection. As the number of threads grows, manag-ing and switching between them becomes a challenge. Furthermore, Event-Driven model helps Node to use callback. Callback is a function that canbe passed to a method. Then, as soon as the relevant event occurs on theserver side the callback will be executed.Node claims that it never blocks for an I/O call so it provides a non-blocking and asynchronous I/O stream [nod13]. For example, in a block-ing approach, the program idles for a slow process that can be a databaserequest. Then, as soon as the database request is completed, the pro-gram will resume execution. However, non-blocking means that during thedatabase process the other parts of the program continue to execute. Allof theses features make Node fast, unique, easy to code, maintain and read[Glo13, GJ13, Abe13].3.4.6 Socket.ioSocket.io is a client JavaScript framework. It was first developed forNode.js to provide faster communication between the client and the serverbut now Socket.io also supports other languages such as Java. As men-tioned in the previous sections, implementation of a real-time web applica-tion is complex and requires wide knowledge of different web aspects. SinceSocket.io is an abstraction library, it reduces the implementation complexitysignificantly. This novel framework has a common API, and uses differentpush methods including Web-Socket, Flash-Sockets, Long-Polling, stream-ing, and forever iFrames [Car13c]]. Using these features, Socket.io tries todetect the best technique based on the browser capability. Socket.io is sup-ported by almost all of the web browsers. Using a combination of Node.jsand Socket.io, it is possible to write a real-time web application with lowlatency data (e.g. multi-user real-time web games, see Subsection 3.1.2).3.4.7 Which Technique Is The Best for MACL?Answering the question of which data delivery technique is the best touse, depends upon how fast the data needs to be delivered. Web-Socket443.4. Server Pushprovides the lowest data latency since the server pushes the updates to theclients as soon as they occur. Web-Socket also scales better because thereis only one open connection per client. Thus, Web-Socket is convenient forhighly interactive real-time applications such as MACL. Moreover, node.jsand socket.io were used to minimize the implementation difficulties and chal-lenges of web socket.45Chapter 4EvaluationThe usability and effectiveness of the prototype needed to be evaluated.The evaluations of the usability including the speed and ease of use wasconducted during 2 pilot studies and the main study. Moreover, the effec-tiveness of the prototype was evaluated during the main study.4.1 First Pilot StudyThe first pilot study was conducted in the very early prototyping stagemainly to test the application?s speed and students overall reaction to theapplication. Twelve students from an education class with average age ofabout 28 participated in the study. The participants were placed into 6groups of 2. The participants in each group were given an iPad and asked tosolve the flowchart in collaboration with their teammate. The participantswere generally satisfied and comfortable using the application, especiallywith the speed. They also quickly learned how to use the application?scapabilities.The participants were equally engaged and were collaboratively dis-cussing the possible actions prior to completing them. Participants of oneof the groups were complaining about the other participant changing theirprevious action rather than discussing the possible solution.4.2 Second Pilot StudyThe second pilot study was conducted just prior to the main studyto evaluate the materials being used. It was very important to design 2flowchart problems with similar difficulty levels, therefore, the second pilot464.3. Main Studystudy was provided to observe the completion time of both flowcharts onpaper and tablet. Seven students (6 women, 1 man, average age of 21, agerange of 19-24 years) of the University of British Columbia Okanagan Cam-pus participated in the pilot study. The participants were divided into 2groups of 2 and 1 group of 3. All of the groups were asked to solve bothflowcharts in collaboration with their teammates using paper and tablet.While solving the flowchart using tablet, each student in the group was givena tablet. Similarly, while solving the flowchart using paper, each student inthe group was given a pencil and an eraser. In this case, students had toshare the paper-cut flowchart elements and a big paper sheet so they couldplace the flowchart elements on the paper sheet and draw lines between theelements. The groups of 2 solved flowchart A using paper and flowchart Busing the tablet while the group of 3 solved flowchart A using the tablet andflowchart B using paper. Based on the observations both flowcharts wererevised to be of similar difficulty (See Appendices A.2 and A.3) by ensur-ing that 1) they have relatively the same number of elements and 2) theyhave elements that can be placed in various orders (more than one correctanswer) to ensure discussion in the group.4.3 Main StudyAfter conducting the 2 pilot studies, the system was evaluated for itsefficiency. The study aimed to answer the following research questions.? How differently the students react to touch screen mobile devices VS.pen and paper when problem solving individually, in a face-to-facegroup, and on-line groups?? How engaging is the visual appearance of MACL?? How can students be best engaged?? How does MACL affect the collaboration level in face-to-face group,and on-line groups?474.3. Main Study(a) Group A (b) Group B(c) Group CFigure 4.1: Participants were differentiated into 3 groups (a) Group A:individual, (b) Group B: face-to-face, and (c) Group C: on-line4.3.1 MethodAs illustrated in Figure 4.1, the system was evaluated in 3 group types:1) individual (group A), 2) face-to-face (group B), and 3) on-line (groupC). Twenty-one students (10 women, 11 men, average age of 25, age range19-45 years) from the University of British Columbia Okanagan campusparticipated in the study. Participants? age, sex, programs, and programlevel distribution is illustrated in Figure 4.2.ProcedureAll 3 groups had the opportunity to solve 2 different flowchart prob-lems with similar levels of difficulty, one using paper and the other using a484.3. Main Study0246819-20 21-25 26-30 31-35 36-41(a) Age distribution of the participants.52%48%F M(b) Sex distribution of theparticipants.Science Education Engineering Arts38% 29%19%14%(c) Program distribution of the participants.38%62%UnderG Grad(d) Program level distri-bution of the participants.Figure 4.2: A visual distribution of the (a) age, (b) sex, (c) program, and(d) program level of participants494.3. Main Studytablet and MACL. Participants in group A worked on the problems individ-ually while groups B and C members were arranged in teams of 3. Teamsin groups B and C collaborated on solving the problems by sharing theirindividual work either via the tablet or via paper. Both groups B and Ccompleted the problem solving via paper face-to-face. For problem solvingusing the tablet, members in group B worked in a face-to-face environmentwhile members in group C were physically apart, simulating an on-line col-laborative environment. Participants of groups B and C sat around a table.Therefore, some of them had the correct orientation (correct upright view)and some of them had the opposite orientation toward the paper (invertedview). When all of the participants were given a tablet, they all had (correctupright view) on their tablets.Recruitment The participant pool included graduate and undergradu-ate students from the UBC Okanagan campus. The call for participation(see Appendix B.3) included a brief description of the study and contactinformation that was attached to the bulletin boards around the campus.Moreover, an email (see Appendix B.1) was sent to faculty members regard-ing permission to recruit participants from their classes. Five to 10 minutesof 2 faculty member?s class time was spent describing the purpose of thestudy, distributing a consent form (see Appendix C) and answering ques-tions. Interested students were sent an email (see Appendix B.2) about theiravailability. Since some students needed to be present in groups, they werelater contacted with the exact study date and time.Study Components and Flow The study sessions were a maximum of105 minutes. This time varied between the group types (individual groupstook less time than face-to-face and on-line groups). The sessions included8 parts in the following order:1. Consent form: Participants were asked to read and sign the consentform (see Appendix C).2. Ice breaker session: Only participants teammates were asked to com-504.3. Main Studyplete a 5-10 minute ice breaking session to become familiar and morecomfortable with other participants in the team. This session was es-sential since participants were required to work in collaboration withtheir teammates and many of them did not know the other partici-pants.3. Flowchart training: Ten-15 minutes training session was given to par-ticipants on the use of flowchart and its basic elements (oval, dia-mond, and rectangle). During the training session, the participantsalso solved a simple flowchart problem (See appendix A.1) using theapplication to learn the basic principles of flowchart diagrams and getfamiliar with the application. No data was collected during this ses-sion.4. Demographics and background pre-questionnaire: Participants com-pleted the first pre-questionnaire (see Appendix D.1) for basic demo-graphic information (age, sex, education, and flowchart knowledge),and academic experiences relevant to the focus of the study. Thequestionnaire also included questions assessing the participants prob-lem solving skills and working preferences (individual versus collabo-rative and face-to-face versus on-line). This questionnaire was used tohelp characterize the samples.5. Computer self efficiency and computer anxiety pre-questionnaires: Par-ticipants completed 2 questionnaires designed to assess their anxietyabout using computers [HCGK87, DH02] (see Appendix D.2) and theirconfidence in their abilities to use computers effectively [DH02] (seeAppendix D.3). Participants were asked to rate, using a 5-point Likert-type scale, how much they agree that each item describes their atti-tudes and experiences with computers and their beliefs about theirabilities to use computers (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree).6. Solving flowchart on paper: After completing the pre-questionnaires,participants started solving one of the flowcharts on paper individually(group A) or collaboratively (groups B and C).514.3. Main Study7. Solving flowchart on tablet: After solving one of the flowcharts on pa-per, participants started solving the other flowchart using their iPadsindividually (group A), collaboratively face-to-face (group B), and col-laboratively on-line (group C).Designing 2 flowcharts with roughly the same difficulty level was chal-lenging. Thus, the interaction tool (paper, tablet) and order in whichflowcharts were solved by the participants had to be balanced to min-imize the biased effect of learning process during the first flowcharton the second flowchart (see Table 4.1). However, it was no longerpossible to balance the order of tablet and paper regardless of theflowchart exercise Therefore, the participants always had to first solvea flowchart on paper and then solve the other one on tablet.Table 4.1: The interaction tool (paper, tablet) and order in which flowchartswere solved by the participants had to be balanced.Group Paper Tablet1 Flowchart A Flowchart B2 Flowchart B Flowchart A3 Flowchart A Flowchart B4 Flowchart B Flowchart A... ... ...8. Post-questionnaire: Finally, participants completed the post-questionnaire,which used a numerical rating system, with options for anecdotal re-porting, to assess each subject?s perception regarding? the ease of operation of physical features of the tablet,? the ease of navigation through the tablet interface? the ease of utilizing MACL,524.3. Main Study? the effectiveness of MACL as applied to a collaborative problemsolving task,? the ease of using paper for solving flowchart problems,? the effectiveness of using paper for solving flowcharting problemcollaboratively.Observation and Data Recording Data was recorded during the ses-sions by observation, using MACL, and the questionnaires. One, 2, and 3observers were present during Group A, Group B, and Group C sessionsrespectively. To minimize the inconsistencies in the observation data, sameobservers collected the same data during the sessions. An observation guidewas developed based on the research questions to help the observer recordthe data more easily and in a structural manner. The observations focusedon the way the participants collaborated and interacted with the prototype.The study did not aim to assess the effectiveness of MACL on learningbut how the system could facilitate collaboration among the users. To thisend, the following parameters were monitored either by the observers orusing the iPads:? the amount of time each participant spent problem solving individu-ally or discussing the possible solutions with teammates. As [MW04,PGG03] suggested, discussion time can be a good measure to identifythe level of collaboration.? the total time spent on problem solving using each interaction tools(paper, tablet),? the number of tasks (moving an element, drawing a line, and deletinga line) accomplished by each participant. Studying the distribution ofactions between the participants in a group can help to identify howmuch each participant contributed to the group work in comparisonto the teammates [MW04, PGG03]? interaction difference among students (such as body position of par-ticipants) for each interaction tool. Participants body position to the534.3. Main Studyinteraction tool can have an effect on the level of collaboration. Forinstance, participants with an inverted view to the paper could con-tribute differently to the paper than participants with the correct up-right view [MW04]. It was also interesting to see how participantsreacted during tablet sessions where there was no orientation limita-tion.? the amount of eye-to-eye contact in Group B. It was anticipated thatthe participants were likely will make eye-contact while collaborating.This item was removed as a measurement since it was clear that theparticipants were discussing and collaborating even without makingany eye-contact.4.3.2 Background of the ParticipantsBased on the pre-questionnaires, 90% of the participants reported hav-ing used flowcharts occasionally or rarely. Moreover, all of the participantsuse at least one of the following technologies daily or weekly: Skype, Chatroom, text messaging and touch. However, only 45% of them reported usingtouch devices daily or weekly. Moreover, almost half of the participants pre-ferred working in a group rather than alone and thought that working in agroup was better than working alone. Eighty-one percent of the participantspreferred working collaboratively face-to-face rather than in an on-line en-vironment. However, 50% of them didn?t mind working collaboratively inan on-line environment. Moreover, 67% of them didn?t mind working alonein an on-line environment.For better assessing the participants? computer efficiency, the questionsof the Computer Self Efficiency pre-questionnaire (see Table 4.4) are orga-nized in beginner, intermediate, and expert groups. Participants were thenlabelled as beginner, intermediate, and expert based on the minimum valueobtained in each category. To be an expert, a participant must have allanswers above 3 in all categories. Participants were labelled intermediateif all answers in the beginner and intermediate categories were above 3 andat least one answer from the expert category was below 3. Participants544.3. Main Studywho did not satisfy the above conditions were placed in the beginner group.Based on the mentioned data coding and analysis, 24%, 33%, and 43% ofthe participants were beginner, intermediate, and expert computer usersrespectively.The pre-questionnaires suggests that all of the participants were technol-ogy users but in diverse levels. For better understanding the participants,mean and standard deviation of pre-questionnaires (See tables 4.2, 4.3, 4.4,4.5) are calculated for all participants and groups A, B, and C.554.3.MainStudyTable 4.2: Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of De-mographics and background pre-questionnaire (1 = Stronglydisagree, 7 = Strongly agree)All groups Group A Group B Group CM SD M SD M SD M SD1 I prefer working with others in a group ratherthan working alone4.57 1.33 5.33 1.53 4.33 1.12 4.56 1.512Given the choice, I would rather do a job whereI can work alone rather than doing a job whereI have to work with others in a group3.95 1.88 3.00 1.00 4.11 1.83 4.11 2.203 Working with a group is better than workingalone4.29 1.71 5.33 0.58 3.89 1.62 4.33 2.004Given the choice, I would rather do collabora-tive work face-to-face then through an on-linechannel6.00 1.61 6.67 0.58 5.89 1.76 5.89 1.765 I don?t mind working alone in an on-line envi-ronment5.14 2.10 3.67 2.08 5.00 2.50 5.78 1.56564.3.MainStudy6 I don?t mind working collaboratively in an on-line environment4.38 1.63 4.33 1.15 4.00 2.06 4.78 1.30574.3.MainStudyTable 4.3: Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of De-mographics and background pre-questionnaire continued (1= Daily, 2 = Once a week, 3 = Once a month, 4 = occasion-ally, 5 = Rarely)All groups Group A Group B Group CM SD M SD M SD M SD1 Flowchart (on paper or on software) 4.38 0.80 4.33 0.58 4.67 0.50 4.11 1.052 Skype 2.62 1.24 4.00 1.00 3.00 1.12 1.78 0.833 Chat room 3.71 1.45 2.33 1.53 3.89 1.45 4.00 1.324 Tablet or touch technology (iPad, iTouch, ...) 2.90 1.84 2.33 2.31 3.44 1.88 2.56 1.745 Text messaging (on small devices such as cellphone)1.67 1.32 2.33 2.31 1.56 1.01 1.56 1.33584.3.MainStudyTable 4.4: Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of Com-puter self efficacy pre-questionnaire (1 = Strongly disagree,5 = Strongly agree). Question were organized in 3 levels ofexpertise: Beginner (B), Intermediate (I), and Expert (E)All groups Group A Group B Group CM SD M SD M SD M SDB 1Working on a personal computer (microcom-puter).4.71 0.53 5.00 0.00 4.67 0.50 5.00 0.00B 2 Getting software up and running. 4.14 0.80 4.33 1.15 4.22 0.83 4.44 0.53B 3 Uses the users guide when help is needed. 4.04 1.00 3.67 0.58 4.00 0.87 4.56 0.53E 4Understanding terms/words relating to com-puter hardware.3.21 1.10 3.67 0.58 3.22 1.20 3.78 0.83594.3.MainStudyE 5Understanding terms/words relating to com-puter software.3.50 1.00 3.67 0.58 3.67 1.00 4.00 0.87I 6Learning to use a variety of programs (soft-ware).3.89 0.96 4.00 0.00 3.89 1.17 4.22 0.97I 7Learning advanced skills within a specific pro-gramme (software)3.61 1.07 3.33 0.58 3.33 1.22 4.33 0.71E 8 Writing simple programmess for the computer. 2.61 1.55 3.00 2.00 2.78 1.56 3.00 1.80B 9 Using the computer to write a letter or essay. 4.79 0.42 5.00 0.00 4.67 0.50 4.67 0.50I 10Describing the function of computer hardware(e.g. keyboard, monitor, disc drives, computerprocessing unit)3.54 1.07 5.00 0.00 3.56 1.01 3.78 0.83E 11Understanding the 3 stages of data processing:input, processing, output3.14 1.24 3.67 1.15 3.22 1.09 3.44 1.33604.3.MainStudyI 12 Getting help for problems in computer system. 3.54 0.79 3.33 0.58 3.44 0.73 3.89 0.93E 13Explaining why a programme (software) willor will not run on a given computer.2.75 0.97 2.67 0.58 2.78 0.97 3.11 1.17B 14 Organizing and managing files. 4.25 0.80 4.33 1.15 4.44 0.73 4.22 0.83E 15 Troubleshooting computer problems. 3.21 1.03 3.33 0.58 3.11 1.05 3.67 1.12Table 4.5: Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of Com-puter Anxiety pre-questionnaire (1 = Strongly disagree, 5 =Strongly agree)All groups Group A Group B Group CM SD M SD M SD M SD614.3.MainStudy1 I do not think I would be able to learn a com-puter programming language.1.71 1.01 1.67 0.58 1.56 1.01 1.89 1.172 The challenge of learning about computers is ex-citing.3.95 0.80 3.67 1.15 4.00 0.87 4.00 0.713 I am confident that I can learn computer skills. 4.52 0.68 4.33 1.15 4.56 0.73 4.56 0.534 Anyone can learn to use a computer if they arepatient and motivated.4.29 0.72 4.67 0.58 3.89 0.78 4.56 0.535Learning to operate computers is like learningany new skill, the more you practice the betteryou become.4.71 0.46 5.00 0.00 4.56 0.53 4.78 0.446I am afraid that if I begin to use computers moreI will become more dependent upon them andlose some of my reasoning skills.1.81 0.81 2.33 0.58 1.89 0.60 1.56 1.01624.3.MainStudy7I am sure that with time and practice I will beas comfortable working with computers as I amin working by hand.4.29 0.85 4.33 0.58 4.44 0.73 4.11 1.058 I feel that I will be able to keep up with theadvances happening in the computer field.4.05 0.86 4.33 0.58 3.89 0.93 4.11 0.939 I would dislike working with machines that aresmarter than I am.1.81 1.12 2.33 1.53 1.67 1.12 1.78 1.0910 I feel apprehensive about using computers. 2.55 1.19 2.67 1.53 2.50 1.31 2.56 1.1311 I have difficulty in understanding the technicalaspects of computers.2.38 0.97 2.33 0.58 2.67 1.22 2.11 0.7812It scares me to think that I could cause the com-puter to destroy a large amount of informationby hitting the wrong key.2.14 1.11 1.33 0.58 2.33 1.22 2.22 1.09634.3.MainStudy13 I hesitate to use a computer for fear of makingmistakes that I cannot correct.1.62 0.80 1.33 0.58 1.89 1.05 1.44 0.5314 If given the opportunity, I would like to learnmore about and use computers more4.33 0.66 3.67 0.58 4.44 0.53 4.44 0.7315You have to be a genius to understand all thespecial keys contained on most computer termi-nals1.71 0.78 1.33 0.58 1.67 0.87 1.89 0.7816 I have avoided computers because they are un-familiar and somewhat intimidating to me.1.43 0.75 1.00 0.00 1.56 0.88 1.44 0.7317 I feel computers are necessary tools in both ed-ucational and work settings4.57 0.75 4.67 0.58 4.44 0.88 4.67 0.71644.3. Main Study4.3.3 ResultsBefore analyzing the main data, it is necessary to determine if the twoflowcharts were of the same difficulty level. Therefore, the task completiontime for groups B and C were submitted to a paired-samples t-test [LFH10].The results suggest that regardless of the interaction tool (tablet or paper)there was no significant difference in the completion time between flowchartA and flowchart B (t(8) < 1). Therefore, the flowcharts were fairly similarregarding their difficulty level.Three paired-sample t-tests were conducted on the completion time forthe different group types (A, B, and C). The first t-test results showedthat the completion time of group A during tablet sessions was significantlylonger in comparison to the completion time during paper sessions (M =13.67 and 7.33 min for tablet and paper sessions; t(2) = 4.75, p < .05).In contrast to group A, the second t-test showed that there was no signif-icant difference between completion time during paper and tablet sessionsfor group B (M = 17 and 13.33 min for tablet and paper sessions, respec-tively; t(2) = 1.24, p > .3). Similarly, the third t-test showed that there wasno significant difference between completion time during paper and tabletsessions for group C (M = 17.33 and 11 min for tablet and paper sessions,respectively; t(2) = 1.93, p > .1). This can be because some of the objectmovements of groups B and C during paper session were due to a lack ofreadability (inverted view VS. correct upright view) whereas this issue nolonger existed during tablet sessions. Additionally in contrast to paper ses-sions, it was not possible to move multiple elements at once during tabletsession. However, groups B and C could move 3 elements at once (1 peruser), whereas individual user (group A) would not have had that opportu-nity.For this study, the level of collaboration was measured using the amountof time spent on discussion and the number of performed actions (drag-ging an element, drawing and deleting lines between elements). These twomeasures can identify if the system could facilitate collaboration duringtablet sessions in comparison to paper sessions [MW04, PGG03]. A mixed654.3. Main StudyANOVA [LFH10] experiment was designed. The between-subject variablewas group-type with 3 levels: individual, face-to-face, and on-line. And thewithin-subject variable was the interaction-tool with 2 levels: paper andtablet.The time spent on discussions for groups B and C was submitted toa mixed ANOVA analysis. The results showed that discussion time wassignificantly greater during tablet than paper sessions (M = 16.6 and 10.94min for tablet and paper sessions, respectively; F (1, 16) = 22.01, p < .0001).It was anticipated that participants sitting in one room (group B) wouldspend more time discussing than students sitting in different rooms (groupC). However, no significant effect of group-type on the amount of time spenton discussion was found (F (1, 16) < 1, p > 0.05). This can mean that on-line audio chat (Skype was used) can be as effective as face-to-face chat ingenerating discussion during tablet sessions.The number of performed actions by each participants were recorded bythe application during the tablet sessions and by the observer during thepaper sessions. The same observer attended all sessions to keep the datacollected during paper sessions consistent. However, due to the differentnature of tablet and paper, it is impossible to conclude that the numberof actions recorded during those sessions were completely accurate. For in-stance, during the paper sessions, participants could move multiple elementsat the same time which was counted as one action whereas the same actionsare counted as multiple actions during the tablet sessions. Moreover, some-times the participants were performing the actions so quickly that the ob-server couldn?t collect all individual actions. However, the observer focusedon recording the ratio of actions through the paper sessions (i.e. maintainthe ratio of actions among participants in the group, and conserve the ratioof the type of actions executed by the group).Given that not all actions were captured during the paper sessions, thedata were normalized to allow for a more accurate assessment of contribu-tion in groups B and C. Accordingly, for both tablet and paper sessions,the number of actions captured for an individual was divided by the totalnumber of actions captured for the group, which yielded two contribution664.3. Main Studyratios for each subject, one for tablet contributions and the other for papercontributions. This normalized data was then submitted to a correlationalanalysis to determine if the participants? performance varied as a functionof whether they were working face-to-face or on-line in the table session.The correlation of the normalized data for groups B and C was thenseparately studied. The results showed that the number of actions for groupB during paper and tablet sessions strongly correlated (Pearson Correlation= .704, p < .05). This means that the participants of group B behavedrelatively similarly during paper and tablet sessions (range of 25% fewerto 20% more actions,4 fewer, 4 more, and 1 no difference). In contrast togroup B, group C did not show a correlation in participation contributionsas a function of the interaction type (Pearson Correlation = .560, p > .1).Specifically, the lack of a significant correlation coupled with an inspectionof the data shows that contribution was generally modulated when partici-pants were using the tablet on-line (range of 23% fewer to 28% more actions,5 fewer, 4 more). This might be explained by an individual?s social domi-nance during the face-to-face paper session which would no longer be presentduring the on-line environment.It is also interesting to explore the effect of the participants view to thepaper (correct upright or inverted) on the amount of time spent discussingand number of performed actions. In this analysis there was no need touse the normalized data since only the number of actions performed duringpaper sessions were used. During the study, 7 participants (1 of 3 from 5groups and 2 of 3 from 1 group) from groups B and C had inverted viewto the paper. Independent-samples t-tests of time spent on discussion sug-gested that the inverted view does not have a significant effect on the amountof time spent on discussion (t(16) = 1.418, p > .05). However, the numberof performed actions by students with the inverted view to the paper is sig-nificantly lower than the number of performed actions by students with thecorrect upright view to the paper (t(16) = 2.190, p < .05). These resultsare consistent with the data collected during the observations where partici-pants with the inverted view were complaining of not seeing all elements andproblem-solving process but were still equivalently involved in discussions.674.3. Main StudyIt is anticipated that as the number of participants per group increases theorientation will also have a negative effect on the amount of time spent ondiscussions.To better analyze the effect of the orientation on level of collaborationand to explore if using tablet can provide higher engagement, 2 pairedsamples t-tests compared the number of performed actions (normalizeddata) and time spent discussing during tablet and paper sessions. The re-sults suggested that participants with inverted view to paper performedmore actions (M = .23 and .35 for tablet and paper sessions, respectively;t(6) = 2.568, p < .05) and spent more time discussing during tablet ses-sions (M = 14.71 and 9.14 min for tablet and paper sessions, respectively;t(6) = 3.580, p < .05). This suggests that inverted view during paper sessionwas limiting students? collaboration.684.3.MainStudyTable 4.6: Means (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) of post-questionnaire (1 = Strongly disagree, 7 = Strongly agree)All groups Group A Group B Group CM SD M SD M SD M SD1 The tablet was motivating to work on the task 5.71 1.15.045.67 1.53 5.67 1.22 5.78 1.092 The tablet is fun to work with 6.14 1.11 6.67 0.58 5.44 1.33 6.67 0.503 The touching capabilities of the tablet detractedfrom the task experience2.81 1.75 1.67 0.58 2.67 1.58 3.33 2.064 I found it easy to access the flowcharting soft-ware5.71 1.27 5.67 1.53 5.56 1.33 5.89 1.275 I found it easy to log into the flowcharting soft-ware6.33 1.11 7.00 0.00 6.11 1.36 6.33 1.006 I found the flowcharting software difficult to use 2.14 1.59 2.00 1.00 2.44 2.01 1.89 1.367 It was easy to tab an element from the toolbox 5.57 1.72 6.00 1.00 5.33 2.06 5.67 1.66694.3.MainStudy8 It was difficult to connect the elements of theflow chart using arrows3.25 2.20 4.00 3.06 3.89 2.32 4.67 1.809 It was easy to drag and drop the flowchart ele-ments5.95 1.24 5.67 0.58 5.78 1.72 6.22 0.8310 I was solving the flowchart on my own insteadof collaboratively with my teammates2.33 1.52 NA NA 2.56 1.51 2.11 1.2711 I used the chat room to converse with my team-mates6.56 3.32 NA NA NA NA 6.56 0.5312 The chat room was difficult to use with thetablet1.33 0.93 NA NA NA NA 1.33 1.0013 It was useful to share a common screen in real-time for solving the problem at hand6.29 2.72 NA NA 6.00 1.41 6.56 0.7314 The flowcharting software highlights how thetablet can enhance collaborative work5.72 2.39 NA NA 5.44 1.67 6.00 0.8715 I prefer using paper to solve a flowchart collab-oratively instead of using the tablet3.33 2.52 NA NA 3.78 2.68 2.89 2.15704.3.MainStudy16 I prefer using paper to solve a flowchart individ-ually instead of using the tablet3.57 2.36 3.33 2.52 2.67 2.24 4.56 2.3017 I was more engaged in solving the flowchart us-ing tablet than paper5.17 2.56 NA NA 4.89 2.42 5.44 1.3318 I found the system helpful in collaborativelysolving a problem6.00 2.43 NA NA 5.89 1.45 6.11 1.0519 It is difficult to work collaboratively with otherstudents in the group on paper3.22 1.84 NA NA 2.44 1.01 4.00 1.6620 It is difficult to contribute to the problem usingpaper3.28 2.04 NA NA 2.11 0.78 4.44 1.81714.3. Main StudyAll participants found the tablet motivating to work on and 19 of themalso agreed that it is fun to work with. However, 5 participants reportedbeing distracted with the touch capability of the tablet. Additionally, theparticipants were generally comfortable and satisfied using MACL. Only 3participants found it difficult to use and 1 participant had a problem withthe drag and drop feature. Although the application was simple, 8 partic-ipants had problems connecting the elements using arrows. They requiredmore control on drawing the lines to avoid line overlaps and a better or-ganized flowchart. The current prototype draws the arrows automaticallydepending on the components? position. For example, an ?L? shape arrowwill be drawn if the ending component appears on the bottom right of thestarting component. The students wanted to be able to specify the exact(top, bottom, right, and left) start and end point of the arrow.Sixteen (out of 18) participants from groups B and C believed thatMACL helped them better collaborate with their teammates. Although15 of the participants found the tablet more engaging than paper, only 4 ofthem agreed that it was difficult to contribute on paper. It is also notewor-thy to mention that 3 of the 4 had inverted view to the paper. Moreover,one of the participants commented that only one participant tended to domost of the actions during the paper session.The observations and the participants? comments suggested adding somefeatures to the application in order to improve ease of use. These featuresinclude an undo button, a grid system, and a zooming feature. The zoomingfeature would also enable having more complex flowcharts in the limited areaof the tablet screen.Participants figured out easily how to use the application?s capabilitiesand were satisfied with the speed of the updates on their devices. However,users? observation suggested some changes to the interface. For instance,while student A was drawing an arrow, student B was trying to control A?sincomplete arrow without noticing that it was being drawn by student A. Tosolve such confusion, any arrow in-progress could have a lock sign so otherstudents will notice that the arrow is locked by another student and thatthey cannot control its action. Students also wanted to have more control724.3. Main Studyon the way that the arrows were drawn. To provide this functionality in atactile device, there must be a wide selection area at the top, bottom, right,and left of each component in order to detect where the arrow needs to startand end.73Chapter 5ConclusionIn this thesis I identified a large community has been studying Collabo-rative Learning and the tablet?s effectiveness in assisting with this effectivelearning and teaching technique. Based on the literature, the existing appli-cations were found to be effective, but limited to Collaborative Learning tostudent-instructor in-class interaction and mostly multiple and open-endedquestions. In this work, I proposed an application called MACL to improvethe effectiveness of such systems by providing student-student and student-instructor in-class and on-line collaboration. This final chapter summarizesmy contributions and suggests future improvements.5.1 Summary of ContributionsMACL is a real-time web-based mobile application that provides real-time student-student and student-instructor in-class and on-line collabora-tion. MACL also enables instructors from different fields to create cus-tomized questions, collect students individual and group work, reply instantfeedback to students, observe students in real-time, and present individualand group work on bigger screens. Using MACL students can work on exer-cises individually, in face-to-face and on-line collaboration. For collaborativework, the changes any student makes on the tablet screen is automaticallyupdated in real-time (less than 100 ms) on the other students? in the groupand the instructor?s tablet.To evaluate how MACL could assist collaborative work and its usability,a prototype was developed and studied. Achieving the low data latency wasa challenge because of the nature of the web. A latency of less than 100 mswas achieved using node.js and socket.io. During the studies, participants745.1. Summary of Contributionswere asked to solve 2 similarly difficult flowchart problems using paper andthe prototype on tablet in 3 groups A (individual), B (face-to-face), and C(on-line).The parameters collected to measure how MACL can facilitate the col-laboration were eye contact, the amount of time spent discussing, and thenumber of actions accomplished by each participant. Since the participantswere not making many eye contacts while they were clearly collaborating bydiscussing and performing actions by the end of the observations eye-contactwas eliminated as a measurement parameter. Even though the participantswere assigned randomly to groups based on their availability, some of themknew each other previously. Although there was an ice-breaking session inthe beginning of the studies, it was anticipated that the familiarity of somestudents within a group could affect the level of collaboration. It is also im-portant to mention that in contrast to general classrooms, during the study,participants faced each other rather than looking towards the board. Thisarrangement may also provide a more convenient situation during papersessions.The results suggest that the participants working individually were sloweron the tablet than on paper. Two reasons might explain this result. Dur-ing observations, many objects movements from groups B and C during thepaper sessions were related to the lack of readability (inverted view VS.corrected upright view). The necessity of these actions disappeared duringthe tablet session. Furthermore, the possibility of moving several objects atonce in the paper session was not available during the tablet session. How-ever, groups B and C could move 3 elements at once (1 per user), whereasindividual user (group A) would not have had that opportunity.The correlational results suggested that the participants in group B per-formed similar amount of actions during paper and tablet sessions. However,the amount of performed actions by participants of group C were relativelydifferent during those sessions. This might be explained by an individual?ssocial dominance during the face-to-face paper session which would no longerpresent during the on-line environment.The amount of time participants spent discussing the possible solutions755.2. Future Workwith their teammates was higher during the tablet sessions. More specifi-cally, participants with inverted view to paper spent significantly more timediscussing during tablet session. Moreover, no significant difference betweenthe number of actions performed during the tablet and paper sessions wasfound. However, students with inverted view to paper during paper sessionperformed significantly more actions during tablet session. They also per-formed significantly less actions in comparison to the students with correctupright view to paper.The participants were generally satisfied and found the system very use-ful as a collaboration tool. However, the observations suggested changes tothe interface, especially the way arrows were drawn.According to the participants, using MACL on tablet is motivating, fun,and more engaging than paper. MACL provides easy to use tools for stu-dents and instructors to enhance level and depth of student-student andstudent-instructor interaction. Based on the results, MACL facilitates col-laboration among students and removes some limitations inherent to class-room settings such as inverted views. Therefore, it is hoped that MACLwould also facilitate learning, especially as it is perceived as fun and engag-ing. However, its effect on learning should be studied in more detail overthe course of actual class and more comprehensive studies.5.2 Future WorkMACL?s interface can be improved and more interaction features can beadded and studied. Based on the usability results, the improvements shouldinclude a more convenient and flexible way to draw lines, a grid layout, anundo button, and zooming and panning features. During this thesis theprototype of MACL for flowchart problem solving was developed and stud-ied. The prototype can be developed to include the other proposed featuressuch as instructor?s view with flexibility of extending to other disciplinesand creating customized problems. The extended prototype can then bestudied in a real classroom and during the course of the semester to assessthe effectiveness of using MACL on learning and real student-student and765.2. Future Workstudent-instructor interaction. 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Flowchart BA.3 Flowchart BSend out invitationsResearch location for ceremonyShop bridemaids? dressesLocation has music?Rent extra chairsShop wedding dressLocation available?Announce your engagementDecide a wedding budgetAgreed on ceremoney locationFinalize the reservationCreate a guest listSelect a wedding dateHire a DJCall to reserve the locationLocation has enough chairs?94Appendix BRecruitment Emails andAdvertisementB.1 Faculty EmailTablet Technology (REB - Protocol number: H11-01267)Dear <faculty name>,My graduate student Salma Kheiravar is looking to conduct her MastersThesis research on software tools for Collaborative Learning. More specifi-cally, the research will examine the effects of touch based tablet technology(specifically iPad) on collaborative group work. I am writing to you in hopesthat we might be able to address your classes to recruit individuals to takeplace in the study. I hope you will allow me or her to come to your classfor only 5-10 minutes of time to explain the study and recruit individuals.You decide when will be the most convenient time for you (end or beginningof class). No other class time will be used for the purpose of the researchstudy.I would be happy to have a chat with you to provide more details of theproject and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to give mea call at 807-9502 or send me an email and I can give you a call back.95B.1. Faculty EmailThank you in advance for your help, I look forward to hearing from you.Patricia Lasserre,Associate Professor,Computer Science, Unit 5IRVING K. BARBER SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES96B.2. Student EmailB.2 Student EmailDear <participant name>,Thanks for accepting to participate in our study.Please click <doodle link> to select your availability. You can select morethan one time slot but you will be asked to only participate in one session.Please enter your full name and then select ?yes?, ?(yes)?, or ?no? if you aresure that you will be available, you will be available but not prefer, or youare not available respectively. I will contact you as soon as the time isfinalized based on your availability.Please note that the time slots are initialized to be 2 hours including tran-sition time in between sessions but no more than 105 minutes of your timewill be taken.Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns, questions, or if noneof the time slots won?t work for you.Thanks for your cooperation,Salma Kheiravar97B.3. AdvertisementB.3 AdvertisementParticipants WantedforUBC Study Tablet Technology(REB Protocol number: H11-01267)We would like to invite you to participate in our study. It will take maximumof 105 minutes of your time. In this study you will be asked to complete aset of problem-solving tasks using an iPad individually, or within an on-lineor face-to-face group. Prior to the study and at the end, you will need to fillout a questionnaire. Moreover, at the very end we will ask for your feedbackabout the application. It is anticipated that the results of our study will bea benefit to the educational community and students.Participate and take a chance to win one of the iPads used in the study.The draw will be held on March 31st, 2013.For more information please contactSalma Kheiravar (salma kheiravar@yahoo.com)orPatricia Lasserre (patricia.lasserre@ubc.ca),the Principal Investigator of the study,Associate Professor,Computer Science, Unit 5IRVING K. BARBER SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES.Please note that for participating in this study you should be 19 years ormore and a UBC?s Okanagn campus student.98Appendix CConsent FormFaculty of Education and,Irving K. Barber School of Arts and SciencesPsychology and Computer Science3333 University WayKelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7Consent FormExamining Tactile Attributes and Collaborative LearningEnvironments Available with Tablet TechnologyPrincipal Investigator: Dr. Patricia Lasserre, Associate Professor ofComputer Science, UBC Okanagan, 250-807-9502Co-Investigators: Dr. Robert Campbell, Associate Professor ofEducation, UBC Okanagan, 250-807-9170Salma Kheiravar, MSc. student, UBC OkanaganPurpose: As human actions are increasingly becoming mediated by com-puters there has been a considerable body of research undertaken in the areaof human-computer interaction (HCI). Devices such as the Apple iPad, andother similar tablet technologies, can provide learners with a wide array ofinteractive attributes. On-screen tactile interaction like that provided by theiPad, which includes manipulation of objects as well as zooming capabilities,when used discretely or in combination with other media modes, is an area99Appendix C. Consent Formthat is under-researched in the fields of HCI and Educational Technology.Moreover, how on-screen tactile interaction on an iPad can be facilitatedcollaboratively in an on-line learning environment is an area in which verylittle or no research at all has been undertaken.The objective of the present study is to explore the application of theon-screen tactile display capabilities of an iPad used by learners individuallyor collaboratively to problem solve with flowcharting software. It is antic-ipated that the results of this study will be published in a peer-reviewedprofessional journal. A summary of the results will be available from Dr.Patricia Lasserre after May 30, 2013.Study Procedures.To participate in this study, you must be at least 19 years of age. Inaddition, you must be fluent in English.Participation in this study will involve completing individually or col-laboratively a series of problem-solving tasks using both paper and a toolwith tablet technology. It will also involve to respond to pre- and post-questionnaires. Dates for conducting the study will be fixed with the selectedparticipants based on their availability and the researchers? constraints (i.e.,Dr. Lasserre and Salma Kheiravar only). All participants use of the soft-ware will be monitored during the problem-solving tasks. The monitoringis useful to analyze how each participant interacts with the tablet technol-ogy, and how the tablet technology influences (or not) interaction duringcollaborative tasks.The observer will also be there in case of technical difficulties duringthe session. Pre- and post-study questionnaires will be administered bothprior to and after the problem-solving tasks. The pre-study questionnairewill assess personal demographics (such as gender, age, and education) andyour attitude and confidence with technology. The post-study questionnairewill assess your experience using the tablet for problem-solving. Please notethat there are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions. We areinterested in your honest answers to help us evaluate the benefits (if any)of such technology. It is anticipated that this study will take a maximum of105 minutes of your time.100Appendix C. Consent FormPlease note that if you do not wish to be observed during the problem-solving task session (i.e., no one can collaborate with you on the task, or noresearcher should be in the room with you) then you should not participatein this project.Although there is no financial compensation for your participation inthis research, all participants will be eligible to participate in a draw for oneof the iPads used in the study. The draw will be held on March 31st, 2013.Potential Risks: There are no known risks associated with participatingin this study.Potential Benefits: There are no direct benefits associated with partici-pating in this study. However, it is anticipated that there will be benefitsto the educational community and to students if the tablets are proven auseful tool for learning.Confidentiality: Your participation will be kept confidential by the re-searchers. However, there will be limited confidentiality for the participantswho take part in a collaborative problem-solving session. Although we en-courage participants of a collaborative session to respect the privacy of otherparticipants and refrain from disclosing any of the information arising fromthe session, because it is a group process, we cannot guarantee that all groupmembers will maintain confidentiality.All information you provide will be kept confidential. The informationthat you provide will not be anonymous. That is, the researchers will knowwho provided what information. Only the researchers will have access to theinformation that you provide. All information will be stored on password-protected computer files/folders. All information obtained about you willbe identified only by a research number in these files. Documentation ofconsent will be stored separately in a locked file cabinet located in PatriciaLasserres office.Please be aware that we will not identify you, or connect your name withyour responses, to anyone not directly involved in the project. Moreover, inall publications and presentations of the research findings, no informationthat would allow someone to identify specific participants will be released.Contact for information about the study: If you have any questions101Appendix C. Consent Formor desire further information with respect to this study, you may contact Dr.Patricia Lasserre (telephone: 250-807-9502; email: Patricia.Lasserre@ubc.ca).Contact for concerns about the rights of research subjects: If youhave any concerns about your treatment or rights as a research subject, youmay contact the Research Subject Information Line in the UBC Office of Re-search Services at 1-877-822-8598 or the UBC Okanagan Research ServicesOffice at 250-807-8832.Consent: Your participation in this study is strictly voluntary. At any timeduring the study, you are free to stop your participation without penalty.If you wish to stop your participation after you have submitted your ques-tionnaires, please email Patricia Lasserre (patricia.lasserre@ ubc.ca ) andindicate that you would like to withdraw from the Tablet Technology study.All data that pertains to you will then be destroyed.If you agree to participate, check the box I consent. This will indicatethat you have read and understood the above information and have con-sented to participate in this study. Also provide the contact information forthe scheduling of the research study session.Please complete and sign the form below. Return the bottom portion toPatricia Lasserre and keep the description and explanation of the study foryour records.102Appendix C. Consent FormConsent Form: Examining Tactile Attributes and CollaborativeLearning Environments Available with Tablet TechnologyI consent.Please, use the nickname for any reference to me inthis study.Date:Name:Signature:103Appendix DD.1 Demographics and BackgroundPlease answer the following questions regarding your personal demo-graphics and background in the space provided. sex: male female age: yearof study: graduate undergraduate program:Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the state-ments listed below using the following 7 point scale, where 1 = stronglydisagree and 7 = strongly agree. (Note: NA= Not Applicable)StronglydisagreeStronglyagreeI prefer to work with others in a grouprather than working alone.1 2 3 4 5 6 7Given the choice, I would rather do ajob where I can work alone rather thandoing a job where I have to work withothers in a group.1 2 3 4 5 6 7Working with a group is better thanworking alone.1 2 3 4 5 6 7Given the choice, I would rather docollaborative work face-to-face thenthrough an on-line channel1 2 3 4 5 6 7I don?t mind working alone in an on-line environment1 2 3 4 5 6 7104D.1. Demographics and BackgroundI don?t mind working collaboratively inan on-line environment1 2 3 4 5 6 7105D.2. Computer AnxietyD.2 Computer AnxietyPlease indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the state-ments listed below using the following 5 point scale, where 1 = stronglydisagree and 5 = strongly agreeI feel confident .. StronglydisagreeStronglyagree1. I do not think I would be able to learn acomputer programming language.1 2 3 4 52. The challenge of learning about computersis exciting.1 2 3 4 53. I am confident that I can learn computerskills.1 2 3 4 54. Anyone can learn to use a computer if theyare patient and motivated.1 2 3 4 55. Learning to operate computers is like learn-ing any new skill, the more you practice thebetter you become.1 2 3 4 56. I am afraid that if I begin to use computersmore I will become more dependent uponthem and lose some of my reasoning skills.1 2 3 4 57. I am sure that with time and practice I willbe as comfortable working with computersas I am in working by hand.1 2 3 4 5106D.2. Computer Anxiety8. I feel that I will be able to keep up with theadvances happening in the computer field.1 2 3 4 59. I would dislike working with machines thatare smarter than I am.1 2 3 4 510. I feel apprehensive about using computers. 1 2 3 4 511. I have difficulty in understanding the tech-nical aspects of computers.1 2 3 4 512. It scares me to think that I could cause thecomputer to destroy a large amount of in-formation by hitting the wrong key.1 2 3 4 513. I hesitate to use a computer for fear of mak-ing mistakes that I cannot correct.1 2 3 4 514. If given the opportunity, I would like tolearn more about and use computers more1 2 3 4 515. You have to be a genius to understand allthe special keys contained on most com-puter terminals1 2 3 4 516. I have avoided computers because they areunfamiliar and somewhat intimidating tome.1 2 3 4 517. I feel computers are necessary tools in botheducational and work settings1 2 3 4 5107D.3. Computer Self EfficacyD.3 Computer Self EfficacyPlease indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the state-ments listed below using the following 5 point scale, where 1 = stronglydisagree and 5 = strongly agreeI feel confident .. StronglydisagreeStronglyagree1. Working on a personal computer (micro-computer).1 2 3 4 52. Getting software up and running. 1 2 3 4 53. Users the users guide when help is needed. 1 2 3 4 54. Understanding terms/words relating tocomputer hardware.1 2 3 4 55. Understanding terms/words relating tocomputer software.1 2 3 4 56. Learning to use a variety of programmes(software).1 2 3 4 57. Learning advanced skills within a specificprogramme (software)1 2 3 4 58. Writing simple programmes for the com-puter.1 2 3 4 5108D.3. Computer Self Efficacy9. Using the computer to write a letter or es-say.1 2 3 4 510. Describing the function of computer hard-ware (e.g. keyboard, monitor, disc drives,computer processing unit)1 2 3 4 511. Understanding the 3 stages of data process-ing: input, processing, output1 2 3 4 512. Getting help for problems in computer sys-tem.1 2 3 4 513. Explaining why a programme (software)will or will not run on a given computer.1 2 3 4 514. Organizing and managing files. 1 2 3 4 515. Troubleshooting computer problems. 1 2 3 4 5109D.4. Post-QuestionnaireD.4 Post-QuestionnairePlease answer the following questions regarding the tasks you just com-pleted. Answer honestly, there is no right or wrong answers.Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the state-ments listed below using the following 7 point scale, where 1 = stronglydisagree and 7 = strongly agree. (Note: NA= Not Applicable)StronglydisagreeStronglyagreeThe tablet was motivating to work onthe task1 2 3 4 5 6 7The tablet is fun to work with 1 2 3 4 5 6 7The touching capabilities of the tabletdetracted from the task experience1 2 3 4 5 6 7I found it easy to access the flowchart-ing software1 2 3 4 5 6 7I found it easy to log into the flowchart-ing software1 2 3 4 5 6 7I found the flowcharting software diffi-cult to use1 2 3 4 5 6 7It was easy to tab an element from thetoolbox1 2 3 4 5 6 7It was difficult to connect the elementsof the flow chart using arrows1 2 3 4 5 6 7It was easy to drag and drop theflowchart elements1 2 3 4 5 6 7110D.4. Post-QuestionnaireI was solving the flowchart on myown instead of collaboratively with myteammatesNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7I used the chat room to converse withmy teammatesNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7The chat room was difficult to use withthe tabletNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7It was useful to share a common screenin real-time for solving the problem athandNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7The flowcharting software highlightshow the tablet can enhance collabora-tive workNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7I prefer using paper to solve a flowchartcollaboratively instead of using thetabletNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7I prefer using paper to solve a flowchartindividually instead of using the tablet1 2 3 4 5 6 7I was more engaged in solving theflowchart using tablet than paper1 2 3 4 5 6 7I found the system helpful in collabo-ratively solving a problemNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7It is difficult to work collaborativelywith other students in the group on pa-perNA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7It is difficult to contribute to the prob-lem using paper1 2 3 4 5 6 7111D.4. Post-QuestionnaireIf you wish to provide more details about your responses, please write themin the space below.112

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