A future direction for clickers?

Clickers are routinely used to survey class on their understanding of topics or test their knowledge with quizzes, and as technology has developed, there have been clever ways of doing this (See: The Rise and Rise…). One issue that arises is that as lecturers, we don’t have a convenient way to know what individual students think, or what their answer is. Enter this recent paper from BJET,¬†An Augmented Lecture Feedback System to support Learner¬†and Teacher Communication. This paper describes a clicker-based system, but instead of (or as well as) a lecturer viewing a chart of responses, the lecturer sees the…

Class Sizes and Student Learning

A recent discussion on an ALT email circulation raised the interesting question of whether there was a threshold for class sizes, above which student learning experience diminished. Unfortunately, what followed was lots of “in my experience” Higginbotham-esque replies (with the exception of details of an interesting internal survey at NUIG), despite the original query specifically requesting evidence-based information. A clackety-clack into Google Scholar throws up some interesting results on this topic. Unsurprisingly, the general trend is that increasing class size diminishes students’ educational experience, although the extent to which this happens seems to be luke-warm. There are two issues to…

Implementation of Research Based Teaching Strategies

The traditional, almost-folkloric, based approach to teaching science is a stark contrast to the evidence-based research approach scientists consider in their everyday research. The quote by Joel Michael* highlights the contrast: As scientists, we would never think of writing a grant proposal without a thorough knowledge of the relevant literature, nor would we go into the laboratory to actually do an experiment without knowing about the most current methodologies being employed in the field. Yet, all too often, when we go into the classroom to teach, we assume that nothing more than our expert knowledge of the discipline and our…

The rise and rise of clickers in chemistry

As recently as 2008, a review of clickers in Chemistry Education Research and Practice had difficulty finding reports of their use in chemistry lecture rooms. In the intervening years, the increase in usage has been nothing short of meteoric. It’s interesting to survey the recent literature to consider how clickers are used in chemistry. Simple response The first category is those who use clickers in a simple check of the class’ understanding of a topic – do they know x? King (JCE, 2011, doi: 10.1021/ed1004799) describes the use of clickers to allow a class to identify the ‘muddiest point’, with…