In many college classrooms, students are passive spectators and the transmittal model of teaching is prevalent in most classes. In contrast, Vygotsky's social-constructivist view emphasizes the importance of making students become active learners. Many active learning techniques have been developed, primarily focused on making students active participants in various kinds of in class activities like discussion, writing and talking. However, there is evidence that the typical university classroom setting presents some obstacles for realizing maximum effectiveness of class wide discussion. These obstacles include the effects of production blocking, the hierarchical power structures within the classroom and the lack of sense of community. Having realized the great potential of Web 2.0 social software in meeting these challenges, the objective in the proposed research is to build an active learning environment by bring backchannel discussion up front using CMC tools. A design based research method will be used to explore effects of using this tool in classes.