FAQs About the Clicker Evaluation

Why the need for a clicker evaluation?

UNC Charlotte has supported clicker technology from Turning Technologies over the last 6 years. Recent changes in the cost to our students, the software, and the process of using the software have occurred requiring a review of the technology. It is important that we remain current with our instructional community as we support the intentional use of technology in the classroom.

A recent survey sent to faculty, staff, and students has indicated a desire from the university community to evaluate our present clicker response system. Changes in the cost of the device and introduction of a subscription model by the vendor has necessitated an evaluation. The committee will also review the clicker system and develop a strategy to encourage and support standardized clicker use on campus.  This list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and associated resources seek to guide the campus to make informed decisions when choosing clickers (student response systems) for classroom and administrative use.

 

What is a Clicker?

Clickers (or student response systems) are small hand-held remote controlled devices that use infrared or radio frequency technology to transmit and record student responses to questions.  Clickers can be used to ensure students understand fundamental concepts; getting the answer right is less important than identifying a knowledge gap or misconception. Faculty—across all disciplines—use these devices to help keep their students motivated and engaged in what’s going on in class.

 

Is the purpose of the committee to change the present clicker solution?

At this time, the committee is going to evaluate with an open mind the review of the present clicker solution. The committee will be examining the use of clicker response systems in the classroom, criteria for its use, choices in the marketplace, costs associated with the technology, compare with our present solution, and make the best decision to stay or change the vendor and the technology.

 

If there is a change, will the change take place immediately?

Absolutely not. The clicker technology is used by approximately 9,000 students and 125 faculty/staff (per semester) in courses and meetings across the university. The aim would be to take at least a two semester period where both systems are running simultaneously, to ensure a smooth transition.

 

Who comprises the committee members and how were they chosen?

The committee members were drawn from faculty and staff that use clickers in their teaching and work. A survey was sent to the faculty to guage their satisfaction with the present clicker solution and ascertain the willingness for change or to stay. All persons who were given the survey were invited to be a part of the committee. Based on those that volunteered to be members they were added to the committee. Other persons on the committee comprise academic and administrative units that support the clicker technology, and students of the Student Government Association (SGA). 

 

Does the committee know what the university community think about clickers?

A survey was sent to faculty, staff, and students to acsertain their throughts and satisifaction and to see whether the community was willing to stay or change. The results of the surveys will guide the committee in their delibrations.

 

Will multiple clicker solutions be researched? Will the university consider supporting multiple solutions?

During the evaluation, committee members will review the various solutions in the marketplace to see what are the other possibilites. At the end of the evaluation period, only one solution will be considered. At this time, the committee will be seeking to make the best decision to stay or change the vendor and the technology. To provide strong and reliable support, the university has always standardized to one particular clicker brand. The benefits of clicker standardization is to reduce costs and increase the usability of clicker devices in the classroom.

 

During the evaluation, will the committee consider the use of smartphones and mobile-ready devices as part of the clicker solutions?

Everything will be evaluated to ensure the best interests of all students are taken into consideration. The committee will give great thought to students having access to wireless smart phone or laptop instead of purchasing a remote control device. When we reach the point of demoing different clicker solutions, testing of the technologies and feedback from faculty, staff, and students will guide the evaluation. 

 

Who can I speak to about the clicker evaluation?

We have encouraged the committee members to share all information back to their colleges and departments for additional discussion. Please speak with your colleagues from your college and units who are on the clicker evaluation committee to give them feedback or to ask questions about the progress of the committee's work.  Being on the committee allows each college, department, and administrative unit to have a voice in the evaluation of the technology.