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Student Response Systems (Clickers)

Clicker systems (also known as classroom response systems, electronic response systems, or personal response systems) are used in a classroom to rapidly collect answers to questions from every student, and, if desired, to graphically display summary data to the instructor and/or to all students. Clickers can be used to increase student engagement during class, to assess student preparation and learning, and to probe students' opinions or attitudes. Clickers have been shown to be especially useful for peer instruction, in which students are presented with a thought-provoking question and allowed to submit an individual answer; after the results are displayed, students discuss their answers and reasoning in pairs or groups. Because clickers can be associated with an individual student, they can also be used to administer low-stakes assessments and to record attendance. In 2009, Indiana University signed an agreement with Turning Technologies to facilitate the use of Turning Technologies products on any IU campus; as part of the agreement, Turning Technologies provides integration with Oncourse and Canvas through their software and through a tool that can be added to course sites. Clicker prices range from $28 to $50, depending on the clicker model and purchase options.

In the following Turning Technologies video, Central Michigan University Professor Michael Garver describes teaching his first course using clickers (run time 2:35).


Bruff, D. (2009). Teaching with classroom response systems: Creating active learning environments. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Supporting website and blog. This book provides an excellent overview of the types of questions and activities that are used with clickers and presents many examples and case studies from instructors in a variety of disciplines. Bruff is a prolific blogger, and the book’s supporting website and blog are frequently updated, making it a valuable resource for anyone exploring teaching with clickers.

Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia—Clicker Resources. This site includes links to videos that introduce and explore clickers as well as a wealth of additional materials. Especially recommended is the Instructor's Guide to the Effective Use of Personal Response Systems ("clickers") in Teaching, written to help instructors use clickers in the most comfortable and pedagogically effective manner. The guide includes a section on frequently asked questions about the use of clickers and several good examples of clicker questions.

Who is doing this at IUB?

Instructors from a wide variety of disciplines (for example, biology, business, chemistry, public health, mathematics, physics, and telecommunications) use clickers in their IUB classes. In the following video from a 2011 Turning Technologies User Conference, Eric Kinser, lecturer in the Kelley School of Business, recounts the history of his use of clickers and presents an interesting way he is now using them in his course (run time 42:33).

IU Knowledge Base documents

About IU's agreement with Turning Technologies
At IU, what options exist for student response devices?
How do I get started using Turning Technologies in my course?
Oncourse and Canvas Turning Technologies Tool

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