Instructors and Presenters

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 that contains
      • Getting Started guides
      • the official Western versions of the TurningPoint software
      • access to other instructors and presenters using clickers at Western
  2. Download and install the official Western version of the TurningPoint software from the OWL site
  3. If you are presenting with PowerPoint, launch TurningPoint, create your slides or convert existing slides, and add TurningPoint questions
  4. If you choose to use ResponseWare for virtual clickers, set up your ResponseWare account
    1. You will receive an email with setup details after completing the Clicker Adoption Form below

For the 2016-2017 school year, Western will be using TurningPoint 5.3.1 as its official version.

Please note: TurningPoint 5.3.1 only works with Microsoft Office 2013 for Windows and Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac.

Technology

What is a clicker?

NXT ResponseCard Clicker

Clickers are small, portable audience response devices used to send feedback responses from members of the audience to the presenter. It is one component of an Audience Response System.

Presenters ask structured questions in class and students or audience members respond by pressing the appropriate buttons on their clickers. The responses from the audience are transmitted to the presenter's computer to be aggregated together and displayed as a graph on the screen for each question. “Click records” from each respondent can be maintained and exported in various types of reports for analysis or posting online.

Western uses the Turning Technologies ResponseCard NXT device. The ResponseCard NXT has a cellphone-style text-entry numbered keypad for participants to answer with letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation, True/False, and short answer responses. The NXT also has a backlit LCD display that indicates when a response has been received by the presenter's computer.

For more detailed information about the ResponseCard NXT device, please take a look at the ResponseCard NXT User's Guide.

What is a Virtual Clicker?

A "virtual clicker" is a mobile app or a website viewed on a mobile device, and is used to take the place of a physical clicker. At Western, we use the term "virtual clickers" to differentiate ResponseWare—a product from Turning Technologies—from physical clickers, such as the ResponseCard NXT device. The ResponseWare website simulates the functionality of a physical clicker.

Western hosts its own ResponseWare system at https://virtualclickers.uwo.ca/

The TurningPoint Clicker System

Although a growing number of clicker technologies are available, often marketed by publishers as ancillary technologies supporting specific textbook adoptions, Western only provides central ITS and Classroom Technology support for the TurningPoint system from Turning Technologies. This system has a wide range of features, supports integration with PowerPoint presentation software, runs on Windows and Mac, and has free access to ResponseWare virtual clickers. All instructors and presenters who are interested in using clickers are encouraged to adopt this standard. Please complete the clicker adoption form at the bottom of this page to get started.

In the classroom, the clicker system has five components:

  1. Computer: Windows or Mac laptop or the classroom's built-in computer
  2. Projector: built-in classroom or portable
  3. Software: TurningPoint software installed on the computer
  4. Receiver: connected to the computer via USB connection
  5. Clickers: can be purchased at the Bookstore at Western or connect virtually with a mobile device

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

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Costs

There are no costs to presenters or instructors opting to use clickers using classroom computers. If you wish to use your own laptop to present, you will need to purchase a TurningPoint USB receiver to receive responses or "clicks". Visit the "PressWestern User Group" worksite in OWL to ask for more information.

Students and audience participants can purchase clickers (about $60 per clicker) in the Bookstore at Western. They can use their clickers in multiple classes or presentations.

To reduce the cost for students or audience participants, they can use ResponseWare virtual clickers on their mobile devices.

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Training & Support

Getting Started guides are available in the "PressWestern User Group" worksite on OWL.

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 presenters. Instructors can get assistance with TurningPoint from the Instructional Technology Resource Centre. Faculty training is available through the Teaching Support Center.

For online assistance, check out:

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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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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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Clicker Adoption Form

Registering below provides you with access to:

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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).
Western University Information Technology Services Instructional Technology Resource Centre Turning Technologies Canada Teaching Support Centre