When we first dreamt of Kannu, we imagined an online learning platform that would make it easy for students to collaborate, view and critique each other’s work, and ultimately learn from one another—in addition to their teachers. When peer-to-peer learning is organized and effectively structured, student work can flourish, and classroom culture can become one that is focused on sharing, constructive feedback, and mutual growth. The idea to create an online student gallery space on Kannu to facilitate this peer-to-peer interaction was highly inspired by a digital learning classroom built at California Institute of the Arts: an innovative configuration known as the N2N Learning Space.

Instead of the traditional classroom setup consisting of the instructor at the helm and the students around them (one-to-many, or 1-to-N), the N2N Learning Space consists of individual work stations set up in a circle (many-to-many, N-to-N). Each student station has a large-scale digital display that students can plug their laptops into. This configuration gives each student visual and aural access to the activities of all of their peers. The N2N setup was designed to augment peer interaction, increase productivity and experimentation, and to facilitate student sharing of projects.

Layout of the N2N Learning Space (courtesy of Ge Wang (Stanford University) and Ajay Kapur (California Institute of the Arts))

Writing code, designing CAD drawings, working in Photoshop, or any other type of “computer” assignment is typically a private experience . When these same projects were displayed on the N2N’s large-scale monitors, students could help troubleshoot their peers’ efforts and self-assess their own progress in the course.

From N2N Learning Space to Digital Student Gallery

As innovative as the N2N Learning Space is, there are also drawbacks to this model: individual monitor stations for each student can be expensive to install and maintain, and placing each student in front of a computer can distract from valuable face-to-face class time. Inspired by the potential for collaborative learning and feedback provided by the N2N Learning Space, we built an online student gallery space inside of Kannu.

The Galleries (which can be course-specific or global for the entire platform) achieve a similar learning model by having students submit work and engage in discussions entirely online—from the comfort of their school library, home, uber ride, or coffee shop. The Kannu student galleries are designed to leverage all positive aspects of N2N learning (peer-to-peer interaction, feedback, and sharing) while simultaneously resolving the other drawbacks by moving online. Students can engage with materials at their own pace, give and receive feedback from their personal devices and even continue their discussions outside of class.

Learn more about the Galleries on Kannu and other collaborative tools here