Throughout the academic year, iTeach will pose questions to campus faculty concerning instruction and instructional technology.
The questions asked will relate very broadly to some aspect of education and teaching at UC Riverside. We hope that responses will provide insights into teaching strategies and will promote collaboration and sharing of instructional successes.
Throughout the Clicker pilot program, which has been ongoing since Spring 2004, Computing and Communications has been actively seeking feedback from our faculty partners in this project. Below, is a compilation of the feedback received to date:
What are 'clickers' - "
new low cost, incarnation of the older audience response systems that used to be very expensive, so I think what they are is a vehicle to get at information about a students knowledge and to make on the spot decisions about what you are actually presenting in class" Curt Burgess, Professor of Psychology
Use of statistical polling - "doing this verbal polling can be done verbally but the most common response is apathy- [audience response] might cause the student to actually take a physical action. - Force them to take an opinion on the issue and if they got it right they could feel good, if they got it wrong, they could worry." Robert Hanneman, Professor of Sociology
As a distraction to teaching style - "
it could be a distraction to my teaching style, but that's a semantic issue. I had to change some things in my teaching style. I could consider that as a distraction, but I wouldn't. Because whatever cost there is in using the clickers is very much offset by the additional information you get to use. Just in terms of where people's [student] knowledge [resides]
" Curt Burgess, Professor of Psychology
Use during lecture - "It really does break up some of the lecture it does energize the audience - the students learn better when there is some level of emotional arousal - the higher the energy, the greater the learning. These devices do seem to have that kind of positive effect on the energy of the room. The biggest problem you have is calming them down after having used the device, which is a greater problem than having to get them to pay attention." Robert Hanneman, Professor of Sociology
"Resounding yes! They [students] are going to have to be able to work with it. One of the caveats is that you cannot teach them a concept and test them immediately- that doesn't work with any system let alone clickers. They need time to digest it, you have to resist the urge to test immediately, unless there is some part of it that really is very straightforward, but I would definitely recommend it to all faculty to all sciences especially in these upper division courses, they are dry, dense- they're full of material. It's a really nice way to break up the lecture." Morris Maduro, Assistant Professor of Biology
"My advice would be to seriously consider using it. It definitely engages the students. By definition, when you ask a class to give a show of hands for some particular reason, if you want to find out how much of a class understands something, has heard something before, you don't get an accurate estimate for that, a lot of people don't want to raise their hands. A lot of people are embarrassed to say or state their answers in front of other people. Everyone needs to respond because you are getting at least some minimal credit for doing so. And it's anonymous, so my experience is that students love doing it."
Curt Burgess, Professor of Psychology
Any surprises - "The thing that surprised me the most was the way to get an instant survey of opinions, so much so that I devoted the very last lecture to non-credit, just show up and answer. It turned out to be the best-attended lecture. Only one student was missing and they all had their clickers." Morris Maduro, Assistant Professor of Biology
"The engagement of the students was fantastic, in the beginning of the quarter; they were all a little leery about it. They didn't like the idea of having this extra thing they had to buy- they had to use. But by the middle of the quarter, they were begging for more questions. I would ask the question they'd give the answer, they'd all go AH or OOH. They all respond. When I was finished, or started lecturing, sometimes they would yell out, could we have another question! So it was almost like a game, but it actually made them get involved in the class and think about the physics. And a couple times, I would do things where I knew most of them would get it wrong, and they actually enjoyed that. And they'd see they all got it wrong and I'd go explain it to them. Then I'd give them a real easy one and they'd think it was a trick question and it wasn't. So it was kind of a game. But they seemed to really get engaged that way and it was better than it would have been. The enthusiasm of the class was raised by the clickers." Jory Yarmoff, Professor of Physics