In the following six-minute video from Nancy Grayum, a classroom service manager at Western Washington University, the clickers are presented as a panacea for some of the problems that the instructors may experience while teaching larges classes. Three problems mentioned in the beginning part of this video are related to the difficulty of: (1) understanding whether all students are following the lectures; (2) taking actions against the students who have the habits of manipulating the discussions and leaving the rest of the students unheard, and (3) seeking honest and anonymous answers from students on controversial topics. Integrating clickers into lectures can be realized by using a variety of question types (multiple choice, true/false, numeric, or short answer) in PowerPoint presentations. Classes with clickers are reported to be more dynamic and more participative.

KOLT has 160 clickers and all of them are available for use. In Fall 2012, clickers are used by seven instructors in undergraduate and graduate courses. The instructors who would like to experiment with clickers for the first time in their classes are provided necessary initial training and assistance. To increase the number of the faculty using clickers at KU undergraduate and graduate classes, KOLT Director Assoc. Prof. Murat Sozer offered two workshops in the Fall 2012 semester. In his presentation, Prof. Sozer listed the benefits of using clickers in class as follows:

  • They capture real-time assessment data to gauge student comprehension.
  • They promote student engagement in class.
  • Correct/incorrect answers and their distributions can be seen immediately after each question; or at the end of all questions.
  • Quizzes can be either anonymous or graded.
  • Anonymous voting allow immediate identification of the level of comprehension; and also determine the parts that have not been understood well by the students.
  • It may give you a chance to go over those material and emphasize it one more time.

Do you think using clickers in large classes is a good strategy to break the monotony in class and enhance student participation? In which courses do you think clickers can be used more effectively?