University of California, Riverside


Faculty Testimonials

Throughout the pilot program which has been ongoing since Spring 2004, Computing and Communications has been actively seeking feedback from our faculty partners in this project. Below, is a compilation of the feedback received to date:

What are 'clickers'?

…new low cost, incarnation of the older audience response systems that used to be very expensive, so I think what they are is a vehicle to get at information about a student's knowledge and to make on the spot decisions about what you are actually presenting in class.

Curt Burgess, Professor of Psychology

Use of statistical polling

doing this verbal polling can be done verbally but the most common response is apathy- [audience response] might cause the student to actually take a physical action. - Force them to take an opinion on the issue and if they got it right they could feel good, if they got it wrong, they could worry.

Robert Hanneman, Professor of Sociology


Use during lecture

Resounding yes! They [students] are going to have to be able to work with it. One of the caveats is that you cannot teach them a concept and test them immediately -- that doesn't work with any system let alone clickers. They need time to digest it, you have to resist the urge to test immediately, unless there is some part of it that really is very straightforward, but I would definitely recommend it to all faculty to all sciences especially in these upper division courses, they are dry, dense -- they're full of material. It's a really nice way to break up the lecture.

Morris Maduro, Assistant Professor of Biology

It really does break up some of the lecture – it does energize the audience - the students learn better when there is some level of emotional arousal - the higher the energy, the greater the learning. These devices do seem to have that kind of positive effect on the energy of the room. The biggest problem you have is calming them down after having used the device, which is a greater problem than having to get them to pay attention.

Robert Hanneman, Professor of Sociology

My advice would be to seriously consider using it. It definitely engages the students. By definition, when you ask a class to give a show of hands for some particular reason, if you want to find out how much of a class understands something, has heard something before, you don't get an accurate estimate for that, a lot of people don't want to raise their hands. A lot of people are embarrassed to say or state their answers in front of other people. Everyone needs to respond because you are getting at least some minimal credit for doing so. And it's anonymous, so my experience is that students love doing it.

Curt Burgess, Professor of Psychology

Any surprises?

The thing that surprised me the most was the way to get an instant survey of opinions, so much so that I devoted the very last lecture to non-credit, just show up and answer. It turned out to be the best-attended lecture. Only one student was missing and they all had their clickers.

Morris Maduro, Assistant Professor of Biology

The engagement of the students was fantastic, in the beginning of the quarter; they were all a little leery about it. They didn't like the idea of having this extra thing they had to buy -- they had to use. But by the middle of the quarter, they were begging for more questions. I would ask the question they'd give the answer, they'd all go AH or OOH. They all respond. When I was finished, or started lecturing, sometimes they would yell out, could we have another question! So it was almost like a game, but it actually made them get involved in the class and think about the physics. And a couple times, I would do things where I knew most of them would get it wrong, and they actually enjoyed that. And they'd see they all got it wrong and I'd go explain it to them. Then I'd give them a real easy one and they'd think it was a trick question and it wasn't. So it was kind of a game. But they seemed to really get engaged that way and it was better than it would have been. The enthusiasm of the class was raised by the clickers.

Jory Yarmoff, Professor of Physics

More Information 

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

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