In classrooms, an Audience Response System (ARS) allows students to answer or respond to audience questions posed by instructors with the use of remote controlled hand-held devices. Some ARS systems require specific clicker response devices communicating directly with a "receiver" connected to a presentation computer; other solutions allow responses to be submitted through any Internet-connected device, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
In educational settings, clickers help instructors determine if students understand the materials presented or are paying attention. Clickers can make the classroom a bit more interactive and engaging. An ARS system collects student answers and immediately displays results for all to see.
As of 2009 (and updated May 2011), the University of Utah established an "ARS Clicker Standardization" Plan with the intent to reduce the number of clicker variations that were appearing on campus.
Not only were faculty facing many ARS choices, but students, due to the level of technology at the time, were purchasing multiple types of clickers for different courses. The University Plan focused on the ARS solution offered by the company TurningTechnologies known as TurningPoint Polling Software. The intent of the Plan would allow a student to purchase a single clicker for his/her entire academic enrollment at the University, regardless of any course taken.
As of January 2016, the thinking from the governance committee concerned with teaching and learning technologies (Teaching & Learning Portfolio) recognizes that the underlying tech associated with ARS has changed in the last half decade. The use of cloud-based student responses using any Internet-connected device brought to the classroom is more prevalent than the need to purchase a separate clicker. Encryption and security surrounding cloud-based responses are greatly enhanced. As well, many faculty are finding other solutions for audience polling that are easy to use, inexpensive (or free), and that did not exist a few years ago.
Consequently, the Teaching & Learning Portfolio considers the need to have a standardization plan for the campus no longer to be as vital.
A separate meeting was called together on January 28, 2016, by inviting the three parties primarily responsible for the promotion, use and support of clickers on the University of Utah campus. Representatives were drawn from:
- Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT)
- Eccles Health Sciences Library (EHSL)
- University of Utah Campus Store
The summary notes from this meeting provided a clear snapshot of the state-of-the-campus with regard to clicker technologies. These points can be read in the following meeting minutes:
The solutions from Turning Technologies are still supported, along with its integration with Canvas, the University's online course management system. However, other options may be preferred by teaching faculty.
Use the following links to learn more about other possible solutions for audience polling.
Poll Everywhere is a solution gaining traction both on the University of Utah main campus and the health sciences campus. The polling software operates as follows:
- Ask you audience a question with the Poll Everywhere app
- Audience answers in real time using mobile phones, Twitter, or web browsers (no separate clickers to purchase)
- Responses are displayed live on the web or in a PowerPoint presentation
The University of Utah currently has no enterprise plans to offer the campus, but faculty and instructors are free to sign up for for higher education accounts that start at no charge for 40 or fewer participant responses and at a charge for other plans (see Poll Everywhere Higher Education Pricing Plans).
All support for Poll Everywhere is handled through the company's website:
However, for the University's health sciences campus, the Eccles Health Sciences Library does offer assistance to its faculty for Poll Everywhere:
i>clicker utilizes an environment they call REEF Polling. With REEF Polling, instructors can present with anything, utilize a floating toolbar, view a participant list, and send images of questions to student devices. Students respond to polling questions with any device, receive correct and incorrect answers, and can review session history as a study guide outside of class. REEF Polling is also a hybrid product, allowing students in the same classroom to use their smartphone, tablet, laptop or an i>clicker remote.
All support for i>clicker is handled through the company's website: