Faculty

 

Faculty

Getting Started

If you would like to use clickers in your class at Western, getting started is easy:

  1. Fill out the Clicker Adoption Form at the bottom of this page
    1. You will be added to the new OWL PressWestern Group site
  2. Download and install the official Western version of the Turning software from the OWL site
  3. If you are teaching with PowerPoint, launch TurningPoint, create your slides or convert existing slides, and add TurningPoint questions

For the 2013-2014 school year, Western will be using TurningPoint 5.2.1 as its official version.

Pedagogy

Higher education is vigorous in the promotion of interactive learning models that provide opportunities for bi-directional communication, rapid responsiveness, performance feedback, and reflection. However, only one side of this exchange of ideas, information, and feedback is supported by traditional classroom technologies designed primarily for "pushing" a lecture from one instructor to many students. Fortunately, the new generation of clicker technologies now support a complementary "pull" of attention and information from many students to one instructor. Interactive pedagogies resulting in more effective feedback, increased engagement, and improved conceptual learning are now easier to establish, particularly in large classes.

Although engaging lectures can be provided without the use of clickers, these devices can make old strategies easier and provide opportunities to support learning in ways simply not possible in the past. Instructors often try to gauge the level of understanding in the classroom by asking a question, then mentally noting response quantity and frequency. Clickers enable instructors to gather a response from everyone in the room quickly and anonymously. Displaying the distribution of answers allows instructors to discover the quality of understanding at the same time as students locate their knowledge relative to course expectations and their peers. The use of clickers tends to create "teachable moments". When a class is engaged with material, they become curious about the diversity of responses, willing to discuss issues with their peers, and open to refine their understanding of that topic.

By recording the responses of individual students, at least two new tools become available in very large classes: the first being the ability to give credit for participation, supporting students who invest in coming to class prepared. Secondly, it is likely that honest answers and thoughtful questions will accumulate quite early in the term, sketching the trajectory of academic success in the course.

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Technology

Clickers are hand-held radio-frequency transmitters that resemble a cell phone. Instructors ask structured questions in class and students register their answer by pressing the appropriate button. Answers are detected by a receiver and compiled by computer software for display and saving. “Click records” for individual students can be maintained and exported in various types of reports for analysis or posting online.

Although a growing number of clicker technologies are available, Western only provides central ITS and Classroom support for the TurningPoint system from Turning Technologies. All faculty members who are interested in using clickers are encouraged to adopt this standard. You can find an adoption form at the bottom of this page.

In the classroom, the clicker system has five components:

  1. Computer: Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop or the classroom's built-in computer
  2. Projector: built-in classroom or portable
  3. Software: TurningPoint or TurningPoint Anywhere software installed on the computer
  4. Receiver: connected to the computer via USB connection
  5. Clickers: students purchase these units in the Bookstore at Western

TurningPoint provides the tools for building class lists, constructing questions, running classroom sessions, storing click records, generating reports, and operating in tandem with PowerPoint.

Consult Western's Classroom Management Group's page about clickers to view a list of classrooms on campus that currently have TurningPoint installed.

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Administrative

Adoption of clickers in a course (particularly for marks) raises some important administrative concerns. Clicker questions are prepared on slides as part of a PowerPoint lecture using the TurningPoint software. Students will need to be educated on the technical and pedagogic use of the technology and the Course Outline will need to explain "the rules" of acceptable use. For each lecture in which click records are recorded, session data is generated. This data can then be brought into any type of "Gradebook" the instructor is using in the course. Students are understandably interested in checking the clicker questions against their responses, and this data can be posted online.

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Costs

There are no costs to the course or instructor for opting to use clickers. Students purchase clickers (about $50 per clicker) in the Bookstore at Western. A single clicker can be used in all of a student's courses where the instructor is using clickers.

Unlike previous clicker systems at Western, instructors do not need any additional technology other than a computer to use the software. If the classroom has a built-in computer, the University will install the TurningPoint software and receiver.

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Training & Support

Training, Video Tutorials, User’s Guides, and Tech Support are available from Turning Technologies. Locally, the ITS HelpDesk in the Support Services Building provides on-campus tech support for students and instructors. Instructor can get assistance with TurningPoint from the Instructional Technology Resource Centre. Faculty training is available through the Teaching Support Center.

User guides may require Adobe Reader or another pdf reader to view.

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Clicker Adoption Form

There are several clicker technologies currently available, often marketed by publishers as ancillary technologies supporting specific textbook adoptions. Rather than having students buy different clickers for different courses, Western has opted for a campus-wide standard technology using the TurningPoint system provided by Turning Technologies. This system has a wide range of features, supports integration with PowerPoint presentation software, and runs on Windows and Mac.

Please fill out the following form to begin the instructor registration process.

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The PressWestern project is supported by Western University, Information Technology Services (ITS), the Instructional Technology Resource Centre (ITRC), Turning Technologies, and the Teaching Support Centre (TSC). Site credits.
Western University Information Technology Services Instructional Technology Resource Centre Turning Technologies Canada Teaching Support Centre