College of Arts & Sciences

Technology and Assessment

Student Response Systems


Many instructors at UNCW are using Student Response Systems, i.e. clickers, to enhance student participation and engagement, including Rick Olsen and other faculty in Communications Studies, and Roger Lowery, Public and International Affairs, who presented a session on clickers at the National Technology and Social Science Conference in 2006.

Clickers are an effective way to quickly check for understanding, which helps pace instruction. Incorporating questions into a PowerPoint Presentation can provide valuable feedback and keep students engaged in the discussion. Student response systems can also be used to record formal quizzes. A recent study at the Ohio State University found that physics students who used clickers regularly scored an average of 10% higher on the final exam. The study also suggests that that clickers level the playing field between males and females in physics classes. At the University of Washington, student response systems were shown to increase attendance in large lecture classes. Some instructors report that their use cuts into lecture time. However, when used with questions that require higher-order skills such as application, evaluation, and synthesis, students can be engaged to work alone or in groups to solve problems and report back the outcomes of those efforts, which have positive effects on student understanding and retention. There are a number of systems available. UNCW ITSD supports the TurningPoint audience response system. A good "how-to" manual that can be used with any clicker system is Derek Bruff's (2009) Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments.

If you are interested in finding out more about clickers and ways they can be used to improve student engagement and formative assessment, see the information in this bibliography put together by Vanderbilt University.

Last modified February 18, 2013