One year ago (February 2017), UCL chose to give all of its teachers access to Wooclap. The aim was to stimulate interaction between teachers and students, using a digital tool. The idea is to give students the chance to answer questions using their smartphones, and the result is a great success. Close to 350 professors have used the app in almost 1300 classes, and by doing so, they achieved the university’s objective to establish a dialogue between teachers and their students, even in large classrooms.
Wooclap is a technological innovation that allows the instantaneous collection and analysis of students’ answers to a teacher’s question, by means of wifi/3G and text messaging. Classes are immediately made more dynamic and interaction between teachers students is greatly facilitated. The main benefits include allowing everyone, shy or outspoken, to express themselves, as well as analysing the aggregate of students’ replies, instantly. Should a teacher notice the results are unsatisfactory, they can adapt their course accordingly, since the percentage of correct answers gives them a clear image of their students’ grasp on discussed topics. Lastly, this real time online interaction causes students to be more involved in the debates their different answers occasionally spark.
After using the platform for a year, the results far exceed initial expectations: Wooclap was used in 1 259 classes by 324 professors, during which 9 389 interactions were created on the platform, and to which more than 220 000 answers were given by students of the UCL.
This buzz has encouraged UCL and Wooclap’s developers to expand their vision and collaboration in order to further improve the platform. New features have recently been implemented: a confusion indicator now shows how many students do not understand the class at any point in time, allowing the teacher to know exactly which topics are more difficult for the learners, and adapt the course content to the needs of every class.
Other types of questions have also been added, such as the prioritization (e.g.: which subjects would you like to discuss first?), the sorting (sort different elements in a certain order), and the brainstorming (in post-it form).
What do teachers and students think of it? Ingrid Bertrand, English teacher at UCL, says « Wooclap makes classes more dynamic by promoting interaction, both with and among students. Even less confident students take part in the online discussions, because everyone can share his or her arguments clearly and freely, meaning Wooclap also helps students improve their skills of communication and argumentation. »
According to Min Reuchamps, political scientist at UCL, _« Wooclap enables me to collect my students’ thoughts and opinions in an instant, and more importantly, it allows me to test their knowledge of new material. This is particularly useful in large classes._». Laurence Mundschau is professor of Communication at UCL, and shared the following, « _I can ask a student to clarify a certain issue and why his answer differs from that of his peers. This tool also gives me control of the class’ tempo; after a presentation, I try to make my students relax by asking them to take part in an exercise resembling a game, but which is still educational._».
As a student at the Louvain School of Management, Jean-François Ramault is excited about the new way classes are taught, «_My favourite classes are those that use Wooclap, because it makes classes more enjoyable, and answering questions during class lets me know how well I understand the class material. Wooclap requires me to be more actively involved, and consequently helps me pay attention._»
Finally, Sébastien Lebbe, co-founder of Wooclap, said _« The current collaboration with UCL is incredibly helpful for the development of our platform. We are regularly contacted by foreign universities, because they have heard of us through the Louvain Learning Lab, whose reputation is excellent._»