In classrooms, an Audience Response System (ARS) allows students to answer or respond to audience questions posed by instructors with the use of remote controlled hand-held devices. Some ARS systems require specific clicker response devices communicating directly with a "receiver" connected to a presentation computer; other solutions allow responses to be submitted through any Internet-connected device, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
In educational settings, clickers help instructors determine if students understand the materials presented or are paying attention. Clickers can make the classroom a bit more interactive and engaging. An ARS system collects student answers and immediately displays results for all to see.
As of 2009 (and updated May 2011), the University of Utah established an "ARS Clicker Standardization" Plan with the intent to reduce the number of clicker variations that were appearing on campus.
Not only were faculty facing many ARS choices, but students, due to the level of technology at the time, were purchasing multiple types of clickers for different courses. The University Plan focused on the ARS solution offered by the company TurningTechnologies known as TurningPoint Polling Software. The intent of the Plan would allow a student to purchase a single clicker for his/her entire academic enrollment at the University, regardless of any course taken.
As of January 2016, the thinking from the governance committee concerned with teaching and learning technologies (Teaching & Learning Portfolio) recognizes that the underlying tech associated with ARS has changed in the last half decade. The use of cloud-based student responses using any Internet-connected device brought to the classroom is more prevalent than the need to purchase a separate clicker. Encryption and security surrounding cloud-based responses are greatly enhanced. As well, many faculty are finding other solutions for audience polling that are easy to use, inexpensive (or free), and that did not exist a few years ago.
Consequently, the Teaching & Learning Portfolio considers the need to have a standardization plan for the campus no longer to be as vital.
A separate meeting was called together on January 28, 2016, by inviting the three parties primarily responsible for the promotion, use and support of clickers on the University of Utah campus. Representatives were drawn from:
- Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT)
- Eccles Health Sciences Library (EHSL)
- University of Utah Campus Store
The summary notes from this meeting provided a clear snapshot of the state-of-the-campus with regard to clicker technologies. These points can be read in the following meeting minutes:
The solutions from Turning Technologies are still to be supported, along with its direct integration in Canvas, the University's online course management system. (Update July 2016: Eccles Health Sciences Library no longer will support clickers from TurningTechnologies, and will instead use the audience polling tool called Poll Everywhere.) However, other options may be preferred by teaching faculty. Please consult the following articles for additional information.
TLT Help Desk Phone Support 801-581-6112-option 2
TLT Email Support: [email protected]