Response systems (clickers) developed in the 1960's and have been in use at OSU for about 15 years. Clickers allow educators to use software to poll students who respond via a remote, either a dedicated device or a mobile device. Students responses may be immediately viewed as a histogram. At OSU clickers are used to check learner comprehension, credit class participation, stimulate discussion, solve math problems, take quizzes, and administer exams.
Clicker technology is in constant change and new products enter the market frequently. Most major response system vendors have web-app based clickers. The centrally supported response system at OSU, Turning has an web-app based clicker that will operate alongside the hardware clickers. We are investigating this capability and need to overcome some concerns before it becomes a viable option. Our primary concerns are:
- Some classrooms on campus are cell-phone dead zones.
- We do not yet know whether the wireless network can handle 2000 clicker hits simultaneously.
- Some instructors do not allow students to use phones during class. If the student's phone is their clicker, such a policy creates a conflict.
- Many instructors use clickers to administer quizzes and exams. With a web app clicker system the student will have Google, Wikipedia, and texting at their fingertips.
- A student may login to the web app from bed to answer questions for attendance credit (just a hypothetical).
These issues are common to many clicker-using schools. We are working to solve them.