Doctoral Thesis: Enhancing Online Collaborative Learning: Designs for Effective In-Situ Discussion and Engagement in Large-Scale Learning Environments.

Tuesday, April 16
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


By: Jumana Almahmoud

Supervisor: David Karger


  • Date: Tuesday, April 16
  • Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Category:
  • Location: Zoom
Additional Location Details:


The challenge of scaling online discussions in education persists, with many platforms struggling to maintain meaningful engagement and effective moderation as course sizes increase. This often results in diminished discourse quality, making it difficult for students to identify relevant threads and for instructors to guide conversations. The new Nota Bene (NB) platform introduces a curated reading experience to tackle these issues by leveraging the design affordances of social annotation tools. Designed to curate and elevate meaningful discourse, NB aligns established pedagogical theories with innovative technology, enhancing collaborative learning through annotations and discussions. It encourages an environment of inquiry and community among students. NB addresses specific educational challenges by integrating features such as multi-layered visibility, real-time interactions, and curated comment prompts. Findings suggest that improving the user experience on NB with these features significantly improves students’ engagement with each other, the reading material, and discourse quality, supported by pedagogical principles such as social constructivist learning theories.


Thesis Committee: Hal Abelson, Justin Reich