i>clicker Pedagogy Case Study Lori Morin, PhD College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, School of Pharmacy The University of Montana COURSE OVERVIEW Course Titles/Subject: 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 POINT VALUE 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. i>clicker USE
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: ____1. Moxeza 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.
IMPLEMENTATION Obtaining/Registering i>clickers: 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 students. i>clicker Use/Grading: 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.
RESULTS Successes: 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. CONCLUSION/DISCUSSION 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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