Smartphone with response card
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 10:08am

Starting this fall, UI students will have a more convenient way to provide instant response to professors’ polls and questions during class. Instead of bringing separate clicker devices to class as they have in the past, they’ll be able to use other wireless-enabled personal devices—like laptops, tablets, or cell phones.

  • Students who already own clickers—also called “student response systems”— need to turn them in at the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Bookstore the first week of class in exchange for a one-, two-, or three-year license for the new, cloud-based version of the software. In addition to the old clicker, students will need to bring their university ID.
  • Students who hadn’t purchased physical clickers for a previous course but will be using student response systems for a class can buy the license for $27.99, which covers up to a four-year term, from the IMU Bookstore or follow the instructions to purchase online at: http://its.uiowa.edu/srs
  • Instructors who use clickers in courses are asked to include this information in their syllabus.

Student response systems can make classes more interactive and fun, facilitate discussions, guide lectures, encourage peer instruction, and conduct polls. They’re used to review for quizzes and tests, direct classroom discussions, and provide feedback on course material.

“Most students come to campus with two or three devices,” says Instructional Technology Director Annette Beck of the Information Technology Services (ITS) Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology. “It will be handy for them to use devices they already carry to interact in the classroom setting.”

Use of clicker devices is declining as more schools transition to the bring-your-own-device model for student response systems.

The UI is making the change as the service contract for its existing clicker software (TurningPoint 5) comes to a close. The university is moving to TurningPoint Cloud, which offers enhanced security, new features, and integrations with Iowa Courses Online (ICON), along with the ability for students to respond using devices they already carry to class.

“Faculty surveyed as we were weighing the options indicated they wanted to avoid having to update slides and course materials as a result of a clicker service change,” Beck says. “Their input factored into our decision to remain with the vendor the UI has used for the past nine years.”

ITS expects an easy transition for students and instructors to use the cloud version, and more information is available at http://its.uiowa.edu/srs. Most students come to campus with multiple devices, but if a student does need one, instructors should contact their local IT director to make arrangements for the student to participate.

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