University of California, Riverside

Clickers



Background


In the later part of the Winter 2004 quarter, interest in a PRS surfaced at the instigation of a faculty member in the Psychology Department. Partnering with that faculty member, Michael Erickson, Computing & Communications provided infrastructure support (mounting and wiring of the receivers) for deployment in a single general assignment classroom (Humanities 1501). The involvement of C&C in this primarily departmental (Psychology) initiative of a PRS deployment in a psychology class (Psych 112) for Spring 2004 was to monitor its use and offer technology support. The funding and acquisition of the system from the vendor and its subsequent in class utilization was done by the instructor, as was the evaluation of the results of its use. The instructor provided his own computer (Macintosh PowerBook) and did his own roster generation.

During the second session of summer 2004, C&C partnered with a second psychology faculty member, Curt Burgess. He used the same PRS equipment initially obtained by Professor Erickson and he used it in a Psychology 12 class during Summer Session II. This second pilot required a second installation of receivers in a different general assignment classroom (Humanities 1503). Rather than dismantle the existing receiver installation in Humanities 1501, C&C purchased two additional receivers for installation in HMNSS 1503. C&C collaborated closely with this instructor providing personalized instructor support for setup and subsequent evaluation of results. This support included the loan of a PC laptop that facilitated the use of the PRS technology in this room since HMNSS 1503 was not equipped with a computer and the instructor only had an older Macintosh PowerBook which was not compatible with the data acquisition software.

Concurrently, during this same summer 2004 period, the Physics department, which was in the adoption process of a new textbook for all introductory physics courses, invited C&C to consult and participate in the adoption process. In the evaluation of the textbook and its associated technology, the Physics department decided that the new adopted textbook also required new methods of teaching Physics. The Physics department decided to pursue widespread implementation of PRS technology. The adoption of PRS technology was deemed appropriate due to the potential for student engagement with the concepts of Physics while in the class. An additional incentive was the possible subsidized support of student purchase of PRS clickers (H-ITT) by the textbook publisher (Pearson). So the adoption of the Physics textbook coincided with the availability of a clicker subsidy program available between the publisher (Pearson) and the fortuitously previous and ongoing campus pilots of H-ITT PRS technology (Spring/Summer 2004). Physics requested a large pilot beginning in the Fall 2004 for its main teaching venue (Physics 2000) as part of the new textbook adoption for the introductory Physics classes (Physics 002A, 002B, 002C 040A, 040B, 040C). Note: that the combined student enrollment for the Physics classes for Fall 2004 is over 1300 students. This student population size would constitute a large pilot that would test all aspects of a PRS project.

In light of the major interest by Physics, the growing awareness and interest in using the technology in Psychology as well as in other departments (Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Statistics, Biology, Sociology), C&C began a series of meetings to assess PRS vendors, PRS as a technology, and potential deployment strategies. These meetings were intended primarily to establish initial specifications and standards for campus wide deployment of PRS technology. The result of these meetings led to the subsequent purchase and installation of the H-ITT PRS into three additional general assignment classrooms (GA) for the Fall 2004 quarter to satisfy the immediate requests for PRS technology by Physics and Psychology. Three GA rooms were chosen, Bourns B118, Physics 2000 and Bourns A125, from an initial first round pool of 15 potential GA classroom candidates.

In the first two pilots, the instructor handled clicker distribution. With the significant increase in students for the Fall 2004 quarter, that mechanism was no longer an appropriate option. To facilitate the distribution of the clickers to the students, Computing and Communications met with Scott Campbell (Manager, Campus Bookstore) to discuss distribution of the clickers and the bookstore was invited to be the primary distribution mechanism of the clickers. The bookstore enthusiastically agreed to distribute the clickers and also become the liaison with the publisher in obtaining clicker subsidy coupons. Based on the possible number of courses adopting the technology for the Fall 2004 quarter, C&C recommended the purchase of an initial complement of 2000 clickers from the vendor (HITT). As part of its negotiations with H-ITT, the bookstore was able to negotiate a 90-day no cost return policy. The bookstore is also working directly with the publisher representative to obtain the subsidy coupons to help defray the cost to the students.

C&C has also developed a clicker registration website (clickers.ucr.edu) which will be the primary mechanism for student registration the clickers. Students will authenticate with their Webmail account information at this web site, register their individual clicker ID and rosters generated for instructor use. Students will also be able to unregister from a clicker ID as well as re-register replacement/new clicker IDs. The instructor of a class utilizing PRS technology will be able to utilize this same website and via authenticated access, download a roster file containing the registered clicker IDs for his/her class. This downloadable file (CSV) would then be uploaded to the H-ITT acquisition program that is used to acquire the responses from the student clickers.

During Summer 2005, all UCR General Assignment classrooms were outfitted with PRS technology. In addition to the greatly expanded number of classrooms that have PRS capabilities, C&C has created this Clicker resource website to assist faculty members in taking advantage of this exciting new technology.

Click to view a detailed Clicker History at UCR.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Computer Support Group
Computing & Communications Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-3555
Fax: (951) 827-4541
E-mail: helpdesk@ucr.edu

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