Clickers in College Physics

Long time classroom response system advocate and physics professor Catherine Jahncke uses the i>clicker system in her non-majors introductory physics course daily.

Prof. Jahncke polls her students (approximately 30 health science majors) to review concepts at the start of class and facilitate peer instruction. It lets the students know where they stand and allows prof. Jahncke to observe students working through the problems together.

It’s never about right or wrong and then move on. Prof. Jahncke uses distributed responses as an opportunity for discussion and peer instruction. After an initial poll, she will allow time for students to convince their neighbor why their response is correct.

Prof. Jahncke admits that without the clickers it is hard to get a response. When the clicker question is asked, participation is near 100%. “Making the decision and responding to a clicker question is just the first part in the learning process” she says, “I need to at least have them think about it and respond, right or wrong, before we can begin to discuss it.”

Students have an opportunity to earn 5% towards their final grade if they consistently participate during clicker questions. Students receive 1 point for responding and 1 point for a correct answer. When questions are re-polled, students have an opportunity to achieve 75% of the total points even if they have responded incorrectly initially.

Prof. Jahncke also enjoys the flexibility of polling students spontaneously (i.e., no pre-planning is required to poll).  Student feedback is positive and the students have requested an all clicker question review for the final exam.

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