Promoting learner engagement in large cohorts is a well-documented problem. One solution adopted in the lecture space is ‘backchannel’ software which in its simplest form provides an online chat facility that operates alongside lecture delivery. This provides an opportunity for learners to interact and ask questions without the fear of speaking out in front of a large group. Similarly backchannel software can be used outside the lecture space to enhance engagement; however this use has not been fully explored.
Accordingly the aim of this work is to evaluate the benefits of backchannel software to promote engagement inside and outside of the lecture space. This was achieved using the TodaysMeet backchannel service to collect 2 022 messages from 185 learners undertaking a second semester first year programming module at Queens University Belfast. Subsequently the findings support continued use of backchannels for promoting learner engagement inside and outside the lecture space.