Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Classroom Salon: Creating Deep Discussions Over Course Materials

This demonstration features Classroom Salon, an environment supporting annotation
and deep discussions over course materials formatted as PDFs or YouTube videos.
Salon is an effective environment for "flipping" the classroom because it enables
teachers to seed rich discussions over course materials (readings and videos) before the
class meets. Students annotate the readings or videos under teacher prompts, or
unsupervised, and students can respond to each other's annotations and to their
responses, creating the potential for deep threaded discussions. For each class
session, teachers can assign a student (or students) the role of moderator, whose task it
is to keep the discussion lively, on track, and respectful prior to the class meeting and,
as desired, during the class meeting time. A suite of analytics allows everyone to track
the various threads as they unfold and "pulls in" students when their annotations and
responses are specifically addressed by other students. On balance, teachers use
Classroom Salon in discussion classes when they seek to ensure that everyone is
positively contributing to the classroom discussion in the hours leading up to the class
and during the class itself.

Kaufer, David
DC, English