“Classroom response systems, or “clickers,” are instructional technologies that enable teachers to rapidly collect and analyze students’ responses to multiple-choice and free-response questions during class.”
-Derek Bruff

Derek Bruff’s Clicker Blog – “Agile Learning”

Derek’s blog has great tips for instructors who are interested in using Clickers in the classroom.  Check out his blog for helpful tips on questions and activities that maximize the potential usage of Clickers to help your students learn productively.

“Clickers are wireless personal response systems that can be used in a classroom to anonymously and rapidly collect an answer to a question from every student; an answer for which they are individually accountable.”

CWSEI clicker resource website


Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best-Practice Tips

Caldwell, J.E. (2007). Clickers in the large classroom: Current research and best-practice tips. Life Sciences Education,  6(1), 9–20


Audience response systems (ARS) or clickers, as they are commonly called, offer a management tool for engaging students in the large classroom. Basic elements of the technology are discussed. These systems have been used in a variety of fields and at all levels of education. Typical goals of ARS questions are discussed, as well as methods of compensating for the reduction in lecture time that typically results from their use. Examples of ARS use occur throughout the literature and often detail positive attitudes from both students and instructors, although exceptions do exist. When used in classes, ARS clickers typically have either a benign or positive effect on student performance on exams, depending on the method and extent of their use, and create a more positive and active atmosphere in the large classroom. These systems are especially valuable as a means of introducing and monitoring peer learning methods in the large lecture classroom. So that the reader may use clickers effectively in his or her own classroom, a set of guidelines for writing good questions and a list of best-practice tips have been culled from the literature and experienced users.

Clickers in the Classroom

(Full article must be accessed through Penrose Library)

Kenwrigth, K. (2009). Clickers in the Classroom. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 53(1), 74-77


The article evaluates the use of audience response systems (ARS) or clickers in classroom instructions. ARS are handheld devices as small as calculators which can be used in class participation, perform instructor or course evaluation, and record attendance. In previous studies, the use of ARS was associated to the increase in student attendance and improves class interaction and grades of some students. However, there were problems regarding the length of time to set up and learn the ARS system, the cost, and limitations on questions integrated to the device. It suggests purchasing the recent version of ARS system and download software to develop questions in advance time. It concludes that further study is needed to evaluate if the ARS can improve student learning.

Using student response systems (clickers) in the history classroom

Britten, T. (2011). Using student response systems (clickers) in the history classroom. Teaching History: A Journal of Methods. 36(1), 14


Teaching United States history surveys as part of the core curriculum requires college-level historians to ask themselves many questions. What information should we leave in or pull out? Should we emphasize content or process? How can we engage students in a subject that many regard as simply a “hoop” to jump through en route to graduation? One of the challenges for historians who take teaching responsibilities seriously is to create a stimulating learning environment that actively engages students and makes course material relevant. At the same time, of course, we need to deliver to students a meaningful introduction to the major themes and personalities in American history. We can measure success in accomplishing this feat by gauging the quantity and quality of student involvement in class. Class participation indicates that students are engaged, that they feel comfortable asking or answering questions, and that they care about what is occurring in the classroom. From the instructor’s perspective, class participation provides critical feedback on student attention and comprehension and gives a strong indication of student investment in the learning process. But that raises another question: How can instructors objectively, fairly, and efficiently measure and assess participation, particularly in large classes with fifty or more students.



Contrary to popular belief, clickers are a functional and effective tool for all class sizes.Here are some ways professors have incorporated this technology in small classes:

Facilitationg Peer Reviews

Prof. Hacker & Derek Bruff. (2010). “Using Clickers to Facilitate Peer Review in a Writing Seminar.The Chronicle of Higher Education.

  • This article shows how clickers helped foster a safer learning environment in a writing seminar that enabled students to share their opinions freely during a peer assessment exercise.


Assessing Comprehension

Clickers in the Classroom: Improving Students’ Comprehension, Attentiveness, and Participation.Center for Teaching and Learning, DU.

  • DU political science professor, Tom Knecht, shares some of the benefits of clickers in class of 15-25 students.


Engaging Each Student

Joss Ives. 2011. “Why I Use Clickers in Small Courses.Science Learnification blog.

  • This blog shares some ideas of why clickers in small classes are still valuable, namely the encourage students not to “hide.”

Leave a Reply