The following are frequently asked questions about clicker use at Ball State University:
What are clickers and why should I consider using them?
Clickers—or student response systems—are small handheld devices students use to respond to questions in class. The teacher has a base station and software to receive and track their responses. Clickers are used to engage students by having them answer conceptual questions throughout class. See the Instructional Uses of Clickers page for more details. Please note that "clickers" is a generic term for the technology, while "i>clicker" is a specific brand. [return to top of page] What kind of cost is involved in using clickers? i>clickers are purchased by students for around $34 from the campus bookstores. That same i>clicker may be used in multiple classes, so it's a one-time investment for the student. The teacher's base unit and software are free with 100 student clicker purchases. But even if you have a small class, other faculty adopting i>clickers in large classes means you'll still get the free base unit and software. Some departments may be interested in purchasing the clickers and handing them out to students during class, but that can be a logistical hassle, so we recommend the standard student-purchase approach. [return to top of page] How many Ball State faculty members are using clickers? Clicker use is increasing every semester, but here is some recent information:
[return to top of page] Do I have to use the i>clicker brand? No, you can use any brand of student response system you would like (like Turning Technologies or eInstruction). We are standardizing on i>clicker to streamline faculty and student support, and to decrease the chance students have to buy different clickers to use in different classes. We can offer you pedagogical support for using other brands of clickers—i.e., how to ask effective questions in class—but you are on your own for technical support, which you will probably be able to get directly from those other companies. [return to top of page] How do I get started using clickers? The best way to get started is to attend one of our introductory workshops—usually offered around the middle of the semester. See our Workshops page for a schedule. If those workshops don't match your schedule, we may be able to arrange individual support. [return to top of page] Is someone available to help me get started? OEE has arranged to have an experienced clicker-using faculty member support new clicker users, and our staff can offer you some assistance as well. Because our resources are limited, however, we ask that you attend our scheduled workshops to get started. Then we can provide personal support if you still require it. [return to top of page] Can I try out clickers with my class before I commit to having students buy them? Yes. We have a small number of i>clicker loaner kits you can use with your class to see how clickers work for you. These kits only contain 15-20 clickers, though, so students may have to share clickers for the trial period. Some students may also have their own clickers from other classes, which will supplement the kit we provide. Contact us to see if we have a kit available for loan. [return to top of page] What can I do to secure student data? While i>clicker does not collect any sensitive student data, it will record student responses that may be part of their grades. In light of that, we encourage faculty members to consider ways of securing the data stored on your flash drive. We are currently working with UCS to devise a simple way you can encrypt all data on that flash drive, and we will make that information available as soon as possible. On a related note, we encourage you to regularly back up the i>clicker files on your hard drive to another secure location, such as your office computer; flash drives are small and can be easily misplaced. [return to top of page]
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