ITS-Teaching and Learning University o f North Ca Carol rol ina-C ina-Chapel hapel H Hill ill 2006-2007 Classroom Response System Evaluation This evaluation recommends a single classroom response system as a campus standard for those courses requiring students to purchase the devices themselves. For these courses, we recommend adopting eInstruction CPS. Its features, its ability to integrate with existing campus systems, and the quality of support provided by the vendor meet our selection criteria.
Background With an objective of increasing the interactivity of large enrollment courses, individual instructors and departments at UNC-Chapel Hill have been using classroom response systems. A response system is used by an instructor to pose questions to the class. Students use handheld devices, commonly referred to as clickers, to transmit their answers to a transceiver attached to the instructor’s presentation computer. Student’s answers to questions are tallied almost instantly. The instructor can choose to display to the class graphs of the collected responses. A few instructors began using these systems as early as the 2000-2001 academic year. Early Ea rly adopters struggled with reliability issues as the technologies employed by response systems have evolved. As various textbook publishers and other response system vendors continue to vie for individual instructors and departments as customers, some students have reported having hav ing to purchase as many as three different devices during the course of their undergraduate careers. Educational institutions who either agree to recommend a single vendor’s system as a standard or to purchase a certain number of student devices from a vendor receive discounted pricing on these products.
Objective The purpose of this evaluation was to recommend a single system as a ccampus ampus standard for those courses requiring students to to purchase the devices themselves. The recommended system strikes a balance between cost to students, quality and breadth of vendor support, and features making it an effective instructional tool.
Products As of Fall 2006, all competitive co mpetitive vendors offered radio-frequency devices. The five systems in our evaluation all use this technology, with equivalent reliability: TurningPoint, eInstruction, iClicker, Interwrite PRS, and Quizdom. (A product comparison c omparison matrix is included in this document.) During the Fall 2006 semester, TurningPoint, eInstruction, and iClicker were used in instructorled courses with large enrollments (75-400 students).
ITS-Teaching and Learning UNC-Chapel Hill
Selection criteria To develop and refine selection criteria, ITS-Teaching and Learning distributed an online survey to faculty currently using a response system and consulted with Student Government about the usability of the five devices and pricing models used by the vendors. ITS-TL also contacted other universities who had or were in the process of evaluating response systems themselves. The primary selection criteria are listed below. Refer to the product comparison matrix for detailed information about each product. Available question types. Of those eight faculty who responded to our faculty survey, four reported using a variety of question types (refer to comparison matrix for a description of these types). Ease of use for instructor. Both the usability of the product’s software and ease of student registration are factors. Ease of use for students. The largest factor for ease of use is the design of student devices, with LCD display being the most significant feature. When students earn course credit for the answers they submit, confirmation through the device that these answers were successfully received significantly increases students’ comfort in using the technology. Blackboard integration. Integration with a course management system facilitates both the registration of student devices with courses and data exchange from instructor’s software to an online enterprise system. Quality and range of support from vendor. In addition to providing text-based user guides, vendors should have weekday phone support, online help request forms, video tutorials, usercommunity discussion boards, and real-time, webcast tutorials. Cost and pricing options. With four of the systems, a student pays a flat fee for a device. With eInstruction, there are two fees: the cost for the device and the cost for device d evice registration. The cost to the student for device registration depends upon whether the student decides to pay a onetime fee or a semesterly fee (capped at three semesters). Therefore, a student pays only during du ring those semesters that he or she uses the clicker.
During the 2006-2007 academic year, Student Stores Textbooks received orders from instructors for two systems, eInstruction and iClicker. Standardizing on either of these systems would have permitted a buyback programs to be instituted more quickly, in this case by May 2007. With a buyback program in place at this time, the devices that students purchased this academic year, before the standardization agreement, could be used during Summer Session 2007 onward or could be resold to other Carolina students.
ITS-Teaching and Learning UNC-Chapel Hill
Information current as of Fe Feb b 1, 2007 2007;; subj ect to ch ange
Device registration fee Instructor transceiver
Types of discounts
---------$16 net $15 single semester, capped at three
Core question types (refer to
---------no (can run from USB key)
next page for categories)
no proprietary y es ----------
PowerPoint proprietary yes ----------
no open-source no ----------
Transmission band Power supply
2.4 GHz USB
2.4 GHz USB
900 MHz USB yes (student remote, reprogrammed)
none $525 $249 discounted prices on student devices and instructor transceivers, discounted prices on kits, kits free instructor transceiver
y es both for standalone client, PC only for PowerPoint plug in 1
Add. softw are required License PowerPoint add-in Instructor transceiver