Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New i>clicker to replace Qwizdom devices at LSA

Students and faculty in LSA will find learning much easier this fall, with the adoption of the i>clicker. The new “clicker” tool is replacing Qwizdom as LSA’s audience response tool and includes many user-friendly features.

 
 

The new i>clicker will enable students to respond to presentations using websites, texts, audio and video clips and other software. (Photo by Jillian Bogater)

The i>clicker, which works with Macs and PCs, is easier for faculty to set up and for students to use, and will facilitate more innovative teaching, says Monika Dressler, senior manager for LSA Instructional Support Services (ISS).

Unlike Qwizdom, which limited faculty to PowerPoint presentations, the new i>clicker will enable students to respond to presentations using websites, texts, audio and video clips and other software.

Faculty will be able to repeat questions, follow a nonlinear order in their presentations and jump in and out of presentations and still collect “clicker” data.

“We are excited about the change to i>clicker,” Dressler says. ”Students and faculty will immediately see a significant improvement in reliability with the new clickers — no more lost grades or data.”  

Student and faculty groups were involved in the switch from Qwizdom to i>clicker and participated in discussion groups and surveys, Dressler says. LSA Student Government lobbied for the change and worked with LSA ISS throughout the process.

The i>clicker was developed at the University of Illinois by several physics faculty members as a tool to improve learning by engaging students during lectures, Dressler says. One of the inventors will be on campus in August to conduct a free workshop for faculty to explain technical aspects and demonstrate innovative teaching methods.

ISS will offer workshops throughout the summer. The workshop schedule and registration information is at www.umich.edu/~teachtec.

Using clickers has encouraged students reluctant to raise their hands because they are unsure of the answer to respond to questions anonymously, says Brenda Gunderson, a senior lecturer in statistics. By answering on their own, students get a more accurate assessment of what they do and don’t understand, she adds.

Gunderson used the i>clicker in her spring term classes for the first time and says the new device is easier to use than Qwizdom clickers, “with much fewer startup and usage issues.”

Clickers can be purchased at Computer Showcase in the Michigan Union or Pierpont Commons, which are handling new purchases and trade-ins, Dressler says. Later, as students sell back their i>clickers at the end of their classes, the Showcase will have used devices available at a discount.

“The trade-in subsidy provided by LSA and engineering for the fall semester will make the transition much easier for returning students who used Qwizdom clickers last year,” Dressler says. “If students save their receipts when they buy their new i>clicker units, they will be able to sell the clickers back to Computer Showcase when they finish their courses." 

Multiple students can also buy, register and share a single i>clicker device, if they are not in the same class. LSA is the largest user of i>clickers, mainly in classrooms, but other groups using them include LSA Advising, the Office of New Student Programs and the U-M Libraries.