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Classroom Response System (CRS)

Classroom Response System (CRS)

29 May, 2016

  • Other terms: Classroom Response Technologies, Classroom Polling Systems, Clickers or Student/Audience Response Systems.
  • CRSs, such as i>clickers, comprise of individual remotes that students use to answer questions and a handheld transmitter that gathers the student response data. Other classroom response technologies are web-based and students can use cell phones or other personal mobile devices to answer questions.
  • With this technology, lecturers can create multiple-choice questions for students to answer anonymously using a remote device. In addition to multiple-choice questions, some web-based classroom response software like Poll Everywhere allow for questions that need text responses, and Learning Catalytics allows for even more question types, such as those that require text, sketch, and mathematical expression responses.
  • Responses are rapidly tabulated via the transmitter, or online for web-based technologies. The instructor can view responses in real time and can also share this visual with students using a projector.

Advantages of classroom response systems

In conjunction with good question design, classroom response systems can:

  • Enhance student engagement and classroom interaction.
  • Facilitate peer learning and class discussion.
  • Check student learning efficiently on an ongoing basis.
  • Measure student opinions in a confidential manner on sensitive topics.
  • Identify students’ background information and prior knowledge on a subject.
  • Help students determine gaps in their own learning.

Integrating CRS technology into a course

  • Consider how this technology might improve your class. Would you like more classroom interaction? Do you need to measure students’ prior knowledge? Do you want to see if students are learning?
  • Add information on the CRS in the syllabus, including how they will be used, why you are using them, what policies and rules you are putting in place for their use, when remote technology should be brought to class, and if/how you will grade students’ responses.
  • Be aware that if you have your students buy and register the technology, they will expect them to be used regularly throughout the course.
  • Students may need some time to get remotes and register them; you may not want to use them in the first class or two.
  • If your CRS needs web-enabled mobile technologies, consider whether or not all of your students have these devices already.
  • There are several ways to use data gathered from the CRSs to contribute to a student’s grade, such as taking attendance and giving points for correct answers. Consider the pros and cons of using the data for grading before deciding if and how to do so. It is advised that the technology not be used for “high stakes” grading.
  • Correct question design is critical when integrating CRS questions. Design questions that are in line with the class learning outcomes and that reinforce important material, or derive questions from student discussion sections, questions asked during office hours, or items frequently missed on exams.
  • CRSs will give you immediate feedback from students, and you may uncover student misconceptions or lack of understanding that require clarification, feedback, or future learning activities.
  • CRSs can be used to facilitate collaborative learning by, for example, first posing a question, then letting students time to think about their answers independently, and finally having them work in pairs or small groups to reach a consensus on the answer.