Overview of course
i>clicker Pedagogy Case Study
Lori Morin, PhD
College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, School of Pharmacy
The University of Montana
Pharmacy Practice I and II (Pharmacy 309 and 310)
Course Enrollment/Student Information:
The courses are taught in the fall and spring
semesters, respectively, and each has an enrollment of 65 first-year pharmacy students. Course Structure:
This is a two-course sequence. The first course has a significant pharmacy
law component; the second has a major emphasis on career opportunities. The primary method
of instruction is lecture, two or three times a week, for 50 minutes each. I co-coordinate each
semester with another faculty member in the pharmacy practice department, but have no other
help with either course. Course/Student Challenges:
Both courses have writing assignments that involve reporting on
interviews they have conducted with elderly people (a senior over 65 years of age). These
interviews not only improve their writing and interviewing skills, but also help students hone
their empathy skills. Each course has quizzes—some announced, others not—and exams. There
are a myriad of other assignments throughout the sequence.
Since a fair amount of the first course is related to pharmacy law, the students struggle with new
terminology. Most students lack pharmacy practice experience, and as a result the concepts seem
abstract. COURSE GRADING POLICY Final Exam:
The final exam could be worth up to 200 points and will cover the key aspects of
the entire course including the lab. ASSIGNMENTS
The +/- system may be used when assigning final grades.
Grading Scale (percentage = points earned divided by total possible points):
92 and above = A 84 to 91 = B 76 to 83 = C
The final grade will be derived by taking a student’s total points earned from all assignments, plus the exam, plus i>clicker points earned (let’s say 100 possible i>clicker points for this example) and dividing them by the total points possible for the class. For example, 352/380 = 92.6% = A.
Class Participation and i>clicker Questions:
I announce at the beginning of the course that
i>clicker will play a vital role in influencing students’ grades, but the overall i>clicker point total
is not announced until later in the semester. This varies, depending on course assignments and
activities. See below in the “Implementation” section for more details.
The i>clicker system works well for a variety of classroom responses. I ask some questions to
get students used to the system and to illustrate to me their grasp of the material. I also use some
questions for actual quiz questions. And, yes, sometimes I just use i>clicker to take attendance.
The clickers are used throughout both courses as follows:
∗ All quizzes and tests are i>clicker format. The students complete the quiz/test on
paper and then i>clicker their answers into the system. It takes very little time to give the students instant feedback as they know their score immediately. I then post them in our course supplement program after class (currently, this is Blackboard, but soon it will be Moodle). There are very few mistakes made using this method of testing/grading/posting. I also tell the students that I can verify every “click” so they must put their paper answer into the system.
∗ I also use i>clicker during class sessions to test their knowledge of the subject
matter—sometimes before I lecture and sometimes during the lecture (see example questions below).
∗ Guest lecturers pose “on-the-fly’ questions to the students or use the system to get a
feeling of students’ perspective on a particular topic.
∗ The system is also used to vote on particular issues.
∗ Sometimes I use the system to take roll.
Sample i>clicker Questions and Quiz Items: The image shown here is part of an in-class i>clicker PowerPoint lesson, with the possible
answers displayed to the right of the picture.
The following is a sample i>clicker quiz:
Match the following brand names with their likely origin or reason:
MOTIVATION FOR USING i>clicker
i>clickers keep the students accountable for the entire course. From doing the reading
assignments, to actually attending class, to testing, students know they must participate.
i>clickers have made it very easy for everyone to participate, whether they are vocal or not; they
get their same due. They are not afraid to “click” their opinion where they might be afraid to
“voice” their opinion. Students learn more when they are engaged, and i>clicker keeps them engaged. One of my main motivations for using i>clicker is it gives me the ability to gauge whether or not students understand the material. And I like being able to give them instant feedback.
Our entire college was given a quick demonstration at an all-
college retreat using i>clicker as one faculty member had decided he wanted to try the
technology. From there, we held a longer training for interested faculty members. I ordered the
bases for all our major classrooms from our local i>clicker consultant and coordinated the base
frequency codes assigned to each and their distribution. Since then, we have held several more
training sessions. Of course, proficient faculty members have been teaching other instructors as
well. Nearly every pharmacy faculty member has adopted the technology. Thus clickers are
required for almost every pharmacy course.
The students purchase their i>clickers from our bookstore. Some of the students have used
clickers before so they just update their information for our classes.
We ask students to register their codes via the i>clicker website; the only issue has been when a
code has worn off the remote! We now suggest that students tape over the code on the back of
their clicker while it is still visible. I understand that i>clicker has taken the following additional
measures with new batches of remotes being manufactured and shipping going forward:
* Larger font on the stickers
* More durable ink
* A special "coating" will further reduce the chance for the ID to rub off with normal use
* A second sticker inside the battery compartment .
Also, i>clicker has a useful “Remote ID Lookup Tool” on their website that students can use if
they still have an older remote on which the code has rubbed off. Classroom Technology:
We take roll once and download the information. It is really quite
simple once you figure out the step sequence. We currently use Blackboard as a course
supplement system, but will migrate to Moodle this fall semester. All my classes and most others
utilize a variety of teaching methods including the use of CD/DVDs and PowerPoint slides. I
build two versions of my PowerPoint slides—one with i>clicker questions (an example question
from this version is shown above) and one without. The one without gets distributed in print to
The number of points assigned to i>clicker activities varies from none,
if I am just taking roll, to 25 points or more if i>clicker is being used for participation. I use
i>clicker nearly every week, if not every class session, in some fashion. It might be 1 question,
or it may be a 25-question test. Currently, I have the students complete their own work and click in their own answer. However, our faculty has been trained on a method that encourages student interaction within a group so that the group clicks in a single answer. All members of the group then get the same grade. Groups are called upon to explain their responses. For opinions and persuasion questions, students vote using their clicker first, then discuss the topic, and then vote again.
After using i>clicker for three semesters, I am sold on the technology. My
expectations have been met—the students are more attentive and engaged. I like being able to
give them instant feedback. I think attendance has improved, although that was not my primary
motivation for using the system.
Using the i>clicker system has decreased the amount of time I was spending grading and
entering grades. This was an unexpected consequence as I did not realize this capability when I
started using the technology. Challenges:
There have only been a couple of problems. Having two adjacent classrooms using
the same frequency is an issue. This problem is easy to detect because you get more responses
than you have students enrolled in a course, and it is easy to resolve as each classroom has an
alternate frequency code assigned to it for this specific problem.
The system is very easy to get up and running, and it is versatile in that it can be used in many
ways. For instance, we have faculty who use it several times before transferring scores to a grade
book. I transfer scores immediately after each class. We also have faculty who never use it for
grading but simply to gauge students’ learning.
Our success centers on the fact that so many faculty members are using the same system, and
thus it has become a university-wide expectation. Initially, the students were a little annoyed as
they thought we were just taking roll, but they have come to appreciate the technology. Also,
because I do not return exams, clicker technology allows me to review exams with the students
soon after completion.
I will for sure continue to use the technology. We are deciding now if we will change to the
newest clicker format as I am intrigued with how I can use the new features in my courses. The
only issue to resolve would be that all the other instructors teaching the cohort of students would
all have to make the change.
The most important lesson I learned from i>clicker is to ask students what to do when the technology appears to be failing. They are very tech savvy and have been able to teach me things—yes, old dogs can learn new tricks!
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