NIU to Conduct Review of Classroom Response Systems

clickersFive years ago, at the request of faculty and teaching staff, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center facilitated a search for classroom response (“clicker”) systems, in order to standardize their use at Northern Illinois University. At the time, some students had been required to buy and use multiple systems as part of their class materials, which faculty and instructors found untenable. At the end of that search, faculty chose Turning Technologies as the officially-recognized clicker system vendor at NIU.

Because of faculty and staff feedback, rapidly changing technology in this sector, as well as the recent adoption of competing clicker systems on campus once again, we surveyed faculty and instructors who have experience using clickers. Of those who responded, the majority (63%) have three of more years of experience with clickers. Check out the infographic below for interesting results that came out of that survey.

Some key findings:

  • Physical Devices: dedicated response devices – clickers – were once the primary tool used for classroom response systems. However, 71% of faculty reported that they currently allow students to use laptops or mobile devices instead of a physical clicker, and 100% reported that they would allow students to do so if it would decrease costs to students.
  • Blackboard Integration: Blackboard integration was considered very important. Currently, 53% of respondents report using the integration, and 74% indicated it is Critical or Important.
  • Multiple Polling Options: Respondents also indicated that they appreciate having multiple options for polling. 74% use polling embedded in PowerPoint, 58% use polling over other applications, and they were both among the top 5 critical features identified in the survey.

NIU clicker use stats 2016

The responses also indicated a strong desire among the faculty to conduct a fresh review of systems, to ensure that NIU uses the system that best suits their and students’ needs, and the Faculty Development Advisory Committee, comprised of faculty representatives from each college, agreed. During March and April, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center will be facilitating a new round of product demonstrations and reviews from multiple response system providers. Following the reviews, we will also facilitate group discussions among faculty to determine which product to adopt as the centrally-supported clicker system. The faculty who attend the demonstrations will make a formal recommendation to be presented to the Faculty Development Advisory Committee in April, and implementation would begin in fall 2016.

Product demonstrations will take place from March 22, through April 7. The following vendors will present their products from noon to 1pm on each of the following days. The process is open to faculty, instructors, teaching assistants, or staff members at NIU, and your feedback will be important for guiding the future direction of clicker usage and support at NIU moving forward.

March 22 – Poll Everywhere

March 30 – by Chuck Downing

March 31 – Turning Technologies

April 5 – Top Hat

April 7 – i>clicker

If you plan to attend, you may register for one or more of the sessions in our registration system, so that we will have an estimate of how many people will attend, and so that you will receive reminders about the upcoming sessions. However, walk-ins are welcome.

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  1. I like the niuresponse becuase I sincerly think it helps us students to save money as well as having our internal is a excited thing. The niuresponse is also a efficient system there may be a little issue comeout but I am sure we will imporve until it is perfect.

  2. Although I did not have a problem with my Turning Technology clicker in OMIS351 in the Fall 2015 semester, the Turning Technology company had a difficult time accepting the clicker registration in my UBUS310 class that same semester. Turning Technolog, Professor Godambe, and myself shared numerous emails, and I spent quite a bit of time on the telephone with Turning Technology trying to resolve the issue. After almost two weeks my clicker finally showed as registered for UBUS. The used in Professor Downing’s class, on the other hand, was quick and easy to log in on my tablet, especially when arriving to class at the last minute.

  3. I was in Downing’ class last year when he developed the, it worked perfectly and was really convenient for students.

  4. I was in Chuck Downing’s OMIS 351 class in Fall 2015. NIU Response is extremely simple and easy to use. Most of all, it is free! You can use your smartphone or computer. It is rare that in 2016 that someone doesn’t have a smartphone so it is very accessible to people. If there is an issue with anything Chuck will do his best to quickly fix the bug.

  5. NIU Response was simple and easy to use. Chuck is the man and will always help with any problem you are having with the program.

  6. I believe Downing’s clicker system should be implemented at the university. It is reliable and works efficiently. His version of a clicker system helped students save money and convenient for those students who had to run a little late to class.

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