Using Clickers to Give a Short Quiz in Class (Dr. Lynch)
Dr. Lynch also uses clickers to administer short quizzes. These quizzes may only consist of three to five questions, and can also be used to take attendance.
These types of quizzes are announced, and will count as a minor part of a student’s grade. They can be given at any point during a class session, but are generally given early in the session. Feedback can be provided immediately following the quiz. Student responses are saved, automatically graded, and uploaded to Blackboard after the class session.
What’s the value of this approach? These types of quizzes provide a winsome amount of accountability and have proven to improve student performance in laboratory research. Used in conjunction with immediate feedback, they also carry the learning value that student constructed responses with immediate feedback provides.
An Example: Pre-Exam Review Questions
Dr. Kerry uses clickers during her pre-exam reviews. She will develop two or three questions relating to each of the lectures included in the exam, and distributes them through the review session. There end up being between 20 and 30 questions for the entire review. She will ask the question, everyone responds, and then she provides feedback explaining why the correct answer is the right one, and why the others aren’t.
What’s the value of this approach? Generally in review sessions, we ask students questions and they think of the answer without having to really produce one. We provide feedback, and students nod in affirmation. The problem is, students often get a sense they know things that they don’t.
This approach—using clicker questions—has students produce a specific answer and then receive feedback instantly. It solidifies the memory of correct answers, and also helps the student accurately identify areas of weakness.
Questions That Take Attendance (Dr. Lynch)
Dr. Lynch takes attendance at his lectures (even though it isn’t mandatory) and he uses clicker questions to do it. Shortly after the lecture session begins, he will ask a clicker question (fashioned after USMLE STEP I questions) that relates to the prior 30 minutes of lecture. Students respond, and Dr. Lynch presents the student response results and provides feedback. He may ask two to four questions during the class session.
Near the end of the lecture, he asks another clicker question, presents the results, and provides feedback.
He uses the responses to the first and final questions to capture attendance by saving the file and exporting it to Blackboard.
What’s the value of this approach? From a learning perspective, it is always good to have students construct answers and then receive feedback. Using the same type questions they will see on the STEP I exam has obvious value. From an administrative perspective, it is a relatively painless way to account for student attendance—it takes zero additional class time.