The Backchannel

Just a quick post to look at the Backchannel.

The Backchannel is everything going on in the room that isn’t coming from the presenter.

The Backchannel is where people ask each other questions, pass notes, get distracted, and give you the most immediate feedback you’ll ever get.

Educators and Lecturers the world over are quickly learning that to effectively reach your audience, you are best to try and harness the power of the Backchannel, rather than ignore it.

The International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) has recently put forth a “Backchannel Code of Conduct:”

1) Be Nice

2) Be Clear (& simple & brief)

3) Be Open

The presenter/lecturer/teacher can use the Backchannel to:

  •  keep participants more engaged throughout the whole presentation
  • monitor comprehension and common misconceptions of the topic
  • pose questions at pre-determined times and solicit responses
  • provide ‘notes’ on the presentation in the form of a transcript of the backchannel

Participants can use the Backchannel to:

  • ask each other questions and answer the questions of others
  • put forth and clarify their thoughts
  • answer pre-written questions posed by the teacher
  • ask the presenter to slow down or to move on (respectively, of course)

There are many great (free) Backchannel providers including:

Here’s an example of just that!

As always, your comments are appreciated.


About mitchchampagne

I am a husband of one, and a father of three. I am am elementary teacher for the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District School Board and a part-time Faculty member at the School of Education and Professional Learning, Trent University.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Backchannel

  1. Alan Slavin says:

    A good article on using the backchannel for teaching to large classes is at


Please keep the discussion and learning going by leaving a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s