Students at far-flung campuses can now participate simultaneously during lectures with the push of a button.
The University of British Columbia recently completed a trial of a new satellite polling system by i>clicker, which sells student-response systems. The new system allowed students on three campuses, all part of the university’s Distributed Undergraduate Medical Program, to respond to questions in a simulcast lecture . I>clicker hopes to make the product widely available by January 2010.
Clickers allow teachers to electronically “poll the audience” (as in TV game shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). They first appeared in classrooms about five years ago as a means to increases student participation in large lecture courses. The company claims that this is the first time that such devices have been used to bridge multiple locations.
Kathy Gaul, an associate professor in the medical program at the University of Victoria, one of the three campuses that tested the product, said it was a way for students to gauge their understanding and for professors to “take the pulse” of the classrooms in real time.
Now, she said, professors have the ability to “assess immediately at all sites if students have grasped the concepts.”