Using iClickers

Friday, Jan 13, 3-4:30 pm in S45
A discussion amongst CCSF faculty on the best practices, strategies, and techniques for the use of iClickers.

Discussion goals:

  1. Share strategies and ideas about teaching with iClickers
  2. Come away with some ideas to try out in Spring
Sheri Miraglia, Biology
Susmita Sengupta, Biology
Joe Cannon, Biology
Agnes Leong, Nursing
Rosemary Bergin, Nursing
Sam Bowne, Computer Networking
Carla Grandy, Earth Sciences
Chris Lewis, Earth Sciences
Katryn Wiese, Earth Sciences

Summary of discussion:
    There were a variety of methods to handle grading.
    • Some instructors use the iClickers only for attendance (it isn't part of students' calculated grades, but it does affect their status in the class -- they could be dropped).
    • Some score only participation and make that part of their grade (so it doesn't matter whether the answer was correct or not, as long as it was answered).
    • Others grade the correctness of the answers and make it worth a significant part of the class grade.
    We discussed the strategies and tips folks use to handle logistics when students forget an iClicker:
    • iClicker software allows instructors to loan an iClicker to a student for one class, however that can cause a logistical nightmare when students forget them on a regular basis.
    • Some folks NEVER allow loans -- it is student responsibility and that's that.
    • Others give students one free pass or loan.
    • To avoid students forgetting the iClickers, some folks let students store them in a locked drawer in the classroom
    • Some instructors let students borrow a neighbor's (so that two students work together with one device for that class).
  • COST
    Strategies discussed to handle include:
    • Make iClicker more popular across campus so students feel better about investing up to $40 for a device that they will continue to use.
    • iClicker app on phone is only $10 (but requires reliable wireless internet access in classroom)
    • The bookstore will buy back an iClicker, saving on the total cost
    • Some departments use grants to purchase a set of iClickers and then label each one. Each student grabs an iClicker at the start of class and returns it at the end. One instructor puts them in special grooved crates, so that each iClicker has a particular location and students know which one is theirs and where to get it and return it. Others make students leave an ID for the iClicker and then use that ID to give a grade at the end of class -- top performers only. It becomes a contest.
    iClicker questions can be used in many ways with many goals. Here are some of the ways that we use them in our class:
    • Assess understanding of a concept during lecture and to allow students to build on basics.
    • Follow iClicker questions with discussions, some of which might include misunderstandings of the question and hence ultimately leading to better questions.
    • Review
    • Determine pre-knowledge to decide how much to review new material
    • Teach new concepts -- but within a group
    • Facilitate group work
    • Check SLOs across multiple sections of the same class
    • Drills (multiple questions in a row)
    Each of these ideas was contributed by at least one participant
    • Use them regularly in class (from every 7 minutes, to every 2-3 slides)
    • Students really liked them embedded into the class and found themselves more engaged
    • Students indicate that it's tough not to be able to review a grade that has no paper version and that it's often hard to respond quickly enough, which can be solved if the iClickers are more regularly used (so they're ready and at hand).
    • Use them in groups -- so always they can consult each other before answering. Thus they work together and teach each other.
    • Feedback from students is quite good!

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