Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics > Teaching Methods > Classroom Response Systems > How to Teach with a Classroom Response System > Classroom Implementation > Timing of Questions

Timing of Questions

Here are the most common timing strategies for questions

1. Insert questions throughout class. Adopting a mini-lecture format in which material is presented in 10 to 15 minute intervals then followed by one or two clicker questions is a common way to use the technology. The question format can vary from the traditional "Did you get that?" multiple choice, think-pair-share, or any other preferred method. Use of clicker questions throughout at class has been shown to improve student learning.

2. Quiz at the start of class. To encourage reading and preparation before class, ask one or more clicker questions at the very beginning of class. The questions should be directly related to the assigned reading material. Basic questions such as definitions are best. Presumably the class time will be used to present applications or develop more advanced areas of content.

One instructor follows this procedure for his class. He arrives about 10 minutes before class and gets all of the technology (web page, PowerPoint, clickers, etc.) ready so that he can start class on time. As soon as everything is loaded and functioning properly, he displays a clicker question. Students can initiate their clickers and start thinking about the question. Promptly at the start of class, the instructor starts the question timer and allows one minute for students to submit their responses.

3. Quiz at the end of class. To encourage attendance for the entire period and to gauge student comprehension, ask one or more clicker questions at the very end of class. The questions can be more complex and application-based since they are a review of what was presented in class. Please consider a cautionary note. Since it will be the end of class, students may not be as interested in the explanation of answers or any follow-up from the question. Some will be content just to submit answers then leave class. Those students may be a distraction to those who want an explanation.

The questions can be valuable tools to determine what needs to be done at the start of the subsequent class period. The instructor can use the time in between class periods to revise the presentation to address particular areas.

When the question is displayed, some instructors prefer to read the question and answer choices to the students. Others like to remain silent and allow students to read themselves. Some instructors prefer to minimize talking and sharing of information while others allow, or even encourage, students to discuss the question and answers.


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