Tips and Suggestions

"I'll do anything in the classroom twice." Cecil Bohanon, Ball State University

Cecil says this because he knows the first time may not go as planned. If he tries something a second time and it still doesn't work he then abandons or significantly alters the idea. Your experience with clickers may not be entirely smooth the first time but please give it at least two semesters before you make your final decision.

If you choose to adopt a classroom response system, it is strongly recommended that you use it regularly. Asking questions throughout the class period is preferred. If students have to guess or wonder if they'll need their clicker on any given day the system will be much less effective and participation will drop. Create an environment and expectation that clickers will be used every day so that students will create a habit of bringing their transmitter every day.

Be consistent but take care not to be methodical or predictable. If you choose to use the system more like a quiz, change the number and style of questions. Asking two multiple-choice questions at the start of every class period will become boring to you and students.

Be creative. It's easy, especially at first, to implement multiple-choice questions only. While these can be highly effective, overuse may eventually generate diminishing returns. Most multiple-choice questions from test banks can be easily converted into multiple answer, think-pair-share, or numeric questions.

Many instructors find weighing clicker questions about 10 to 15 percent of the course grade an appropriate amount to strongly encourage use and attendance but not strong enough to induce excessive cheating or other negative behavior. Other instructors have found it unnecessary to grade clicker questions if students are convinced that active participation is the class norm and that it improves learning and their grades.

Update student scores regularly. Many challenges and errors can be caught and corrected early if students see their scores at least weekly. Some instructors post daily clicker points. Once you get familiar with the technology, it should only take a few minutes to grade the answers and upload the scores to a Learning Management System such as Blackboard.