Using Student Response Systems

There’s an interesting post by James Lang over here, giving an honest and really practical account of how to use student response systems in class.  While Lang doesn’t intend the post to be technical, it offers some very practical ways of how to implement their use.

icon-student-appIn most cases, universities and classes have gone away from whole-sale purchasing ‘clicker’ devices, and relegated access to such services to a platform internet service (such as Polleverywhere or Socrative) and the use of student’s own laptop or mobile devices.  Most of these services provide a free level of service that can change the way conversations and some instruction happen in just about any course.

It’s not quite fair to post an article or even refer to a really good one and not tried this myself – and I have. In my experience, I’ve tried using PollAnywhere – at the free level – just to see what kinds of responses and interactions might improve the teaching and learning in my context.  In many cases, its really opened up the depth of conversations we have – allowing me to prod students to ask – “Why?” and “What conclusions can you make?” inquiries.  In most of my experience before, too many of my students were all too happy to just sit back and ‘take in’ the whole class – and essentially ‘participate’ by saying ‘I agree’ or providing a minimal head nod once in a while.

While use of student response systems (or any technology for that matter) is not the one all to be all and save all – it’s another method that can assist and support what you’re already doing in your course.

If you’d like to try using some kind of SRS, or just want some direction on where to go with this concept, contact Dave Eveland with the Department of Online Education.

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Data Informs Instruction

Ever teach an online course? Those who have know it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s going on with the students taking the course.  After all there’s “no way” to engage face to face with them, or maybe there is.

In any case having a pulse on if students are engaging in the course and how they’re engaging can be key.  Knowing when to what degree and in what ways students are engaging with course material and each other can help improve the outcomes of the course and help you (the instructor) help students meet with success more often.

One tool available to you in our course site is the Statistics tool.  This tool brings together an extensive amount of log data – and some of it in ready-packaged easy to use diagrams and visual models. You an even run custom reports using the Reports tab:

reporttabinstats

Here are just a few of the tables/graphs you can see just by selecting the tool:

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To use the tool, just select it from the tool set. The tool merely reports data – it won’t change anything, but it could help you change how you help your students succeed in your class.