Engaging Students with iClickers

Card catalog

For the past several months, in classes and orientations, HSLS instructors have been using iClickers, a classroom response system, to engage students and promote communication and feedback.

Also known as personal or student response systems, it consists of software, a base unit, and a handheld transmitter for each student. The base unit connects to the computer via a USB port so it can be easily taken to any teaching location. The iClicker software works with any presentation application – PowerPoint, Excel, XML, etc.

Uses in a Library Setting
Instructors present a multiple choice question and ask students to select an answer on their individual transmitter. Results can be instantly displayed in a histogram allowing for discussion or clarification if the majority did not answer correctly. The results can later be exported into applications such as Excel. Some instructors also use them to poll student opinions and determine skill level before instruction. Since responses can be anonymous, students feel less intimidated to participate.

Uses in a University Setting
In addition to the above, student response systems can be used to take attendance, conduct quizzes (and quickly grade them), and gather demographic information of the class.

If you are a Pitt faculty member and are interested in including a classroom response system such as iClicker in your curriculum, go to the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education’s Web site for more information.

~ Linda Hartman

Posted in the 2008 Issue