Center for Learning and Teaching

Student Response Systems

Student Response System Pilot

The CLT conducted a pilot of several SRS options in the Spring 2016 semester. The final report is available online

Using a student response system (AKA classroom response system, polling software, or clickers) is a quick way to assess student knowledge and/or opinion of questions presented by the instructor. Binghamton’s ITS currently supports the i>clicker system. The i>clicker system allows instructors to pose multiple-choice questions to the students. Students submit the answer using a handheld remote purchased at the campus bookstore. Student responses can be viewed in real-time, and instructors can adjust their teaching based on students’ needs.

Best Practices

  • Keep slides short to optimize legibility. Ensure font is large enough to readable by the back of the room (around 32 pt).
  • Do not use the SRS to just keep attendance. No matter what students pay for their SRS, students will resent it if instructors use them only to record attendance. Do use the SRS often and in different ways to engage students and keep their attention.
  • Assign course credit for SRS use. The best results are typically obtained when points are awarded for participation irrespective of whether students have provided "correct" answers. Being flexible about assigning points also makes your students a bit more relaxed about using the SRS!
  • For multiple-choice questions, limit the number of answer options five or less.
  • Allow sufficient time for students to answer questions. Some general guidelines:
    • Classes of less than 30 students: 15 seconds or more per question.
    • Classes of 30 to 100 students: 30 seconds or more per question.
    • Classes of more than 100 students: 1 minute or more per question.
  • Allow time for discussion between questions. Encourage active discussion with the class.
  • Do not ask too many questions; use them for the key points. A common mistake is to use too many clicker questions during a class. On average, it is suggested that clicker questions should be spaced at 10-20 minute intervals to bring students back to attention! That means 3-4 per typical class session. Position the questions at periodic intervals throughout the presentation.
  • Include an "answer now" prompt to differentiate between lecture slides and interactive polling slides.
  • If available, use a "correct answer" indicator to visually identify the appropriate answer.
  • If available, increase responsiveness by using a "countdown timer" that will close polling after a set amount of time.
  • On the actual day of the session, allow time to set-up the presentation.
  • Prior to the session, rehearse actual presentation to make sure it will run smoothly.
  • Provide clear instructions on how to use the SRS to the students. Allow for ample practice time prior to graded sessions.

Resources

Attributions

Adapted from Using Clickers in the College Classroom, Purdue University North Central & Student Response Systems (SRS): the UW-System clicker project, Learning Technology Center, UW-Milwaukee. 

Last Updated: 3/1/17