Over the course of about two weeks, we studied college students and teaching assistants (TAs) at the University of Washington. First we performed contextual inquiries to learn how TAs plan for the sections. Then we performed fly-on-the-wall observations of sections to gain insight on the TA-student dynamic. Finally, we debriefed several students in an attempt to get to know more of their needs. Through this extensive research, here is what we identified.
Provide a platform in which students can anonymously ask questions and have the most popular questions be sent to the instructor.
Give students a way to mark a lecture slides importance and difficulty so that they can later look back and see what is most pertinent for them to study.