Clickers in the Classroom

Amy Sanders and Shakir Hussain

Course: Media & Society, NU-Q
Students: 63

Download the PDF – Sanders and Hussain: Clickers in the Classroom

Context

We wanted to find ways to increase student and faculty interaction and quickly evaluate student learning in our 60-plus person Media and Society course at NU-Q.

Project

The clickers were distributed to the students on the first day of classes, with a session run by Shakir on how to pair them to their Canvas accounts. Pairing the clickers to the Canvas
accounts allowed Amy to match responses to students, while all results displayed in class were anonymous. Once the clickers were paired to students, a matched list was then available within the TurningPoint Software. Using Canvas allowed the responses to be used for formal evaluation of student learning (assigning grades) as well as basic administrative tasks such as attendance.

Objectives & Outcomes

We employed the clickers for rote functions such as attendance as well as in-class polling, evaluation of reading comprehension and monitoring of command of in-class material. Use of the Clickers allowed the instructor to simultaneously gauge overall learning and evaluate individual student learning across the semester. Additionally, it allowed students to assess their learning in comparison to their classmates. We also used the Clickers to conduct in-class quizzes that were graded automatically and entered into Canvas. This provided students with near real-time assessment of their learning instead of incurring a delay while a faculty member graded 60-plus quizzes by hand.

Results

Overall, we were pleased with the implementation of clickers in the classroom. We will be further introducing them in a smaller summer course with an enrollment of about 20. The clickers allowed the professor to engage students throughout lecture, ensuring that a majority of students were attentive and responsive during class. It also kept students interested as they wanted to see how their classmates responded to queries.

Lessons Learned

The students were highly engaged with the clickers. However, several slight challenges were encountered that are being revisited by the instructor and technologist. One consideration we are trying to address is the difficulty with short answer questions; students would be more efficient using QWERTY-style keyboards instead of the traditional 12-key tactile keypad. Another challenge that was faced was when students forgot their assigned clicker. In the future, we are also going to try to implement more spontaneous use of clickers for “spur of the moment” polling in addition to planned queries.