Classroom response system

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Classroom response systems, also called electronic student response systems, clickers, personal response system, student response system, or audience response system are interactive remote answering devices that offer instructors a means to gain some simple real-time feedback from the audience.

A classroom response system (sometimes called a personal response system, student response system, or audience response system) is a set of hardware and software that facilitates teaching activities such as the following.

  • A teacher poses a multiple-choice question to his or her students via an overhead or computer projector, perhaps using PowerPoint to do so.
  • Each student submits his or her answer to the question using a handheld transmitter (often called a "clicker") that beams an infrared or radio-frequency signal to a receiver attached to the teacher's computer.
  • Software on the teacher's computer collects the students' answers and produces a histogram showing how many students chose each of the answer choices.
(Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt, retrieved 09:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC))

“The terms classroom response system, classroom communication system, wireless response system, and interactive response sytem are used interchangeably. The term refers to a software/hardware system that allows instructors to easily get instant feedback from their students, using remote control devices and a portable receiver. (Classroom Response Systems Frequently Asked Questions), retrieved 09:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)”

Use cases

(this is just a stub, see Derek Bruff's piece for more.)

Assessing student comprehension

“Accurately assessing student comprehension of material in the classroom has always been a challenge for educators. Methods historically used by instructors have included calling on a broad range of students to answer questions, having the entire class answer questions through visible means, or using volunteers. Although these methods have merit in moving toward a more active classroom learning environment, they all fail to truly give the instructor an accurate picture of how well or how poorly all students have grasped recently taught concepts.” (Czekanski & Roux, 2008).

Voting to engage students in knowledge construction

Typically, a lecturer may ask students to vote in order to engage them later in discussion.

“We advocate a model of CRS-based teaching that we call "question-driven instruction." In this model, posing questions via CRS does more than augment traditional instruction: it forms the very core of the instructional dynamic. Our primary in-class goal is not to lecture or present information. Rather, we seek to help students explore, organize, integrate, and extend their knowledge. Students receive their primary exposure to new material from textbooks, multimedia, and other out-of-class resources.” (Beatty et al., 2006).

Data gathering

E.g. lecturers can ask to students to fill in short questionnaires (or just a single multiple choice question) in order to create real data to process in order to illustrate a method or a theory.


  • There exist several vendors that sell specialized hardware
  • One also may use cell phones (via SMS), other mobile devices or even computers (e.g. Awwad et al., 2008).


Introductions and tutorials


  • Awwad, Yousef Lin, Hsien Tang Yuan, Shyan Ming (2007). Multimedia Workshops, 2007. ISMW '07. Ninth IEEE International Symposium, Abstract. PDF (Access restricted).
  • Beatty. I.D, (2004). "Transforming student learning with classroom communication systems," Research Bulletin ERB0403, Educause Center for Applied Research. PDF.
  • Beatty, Ian D.; William J. Gerace, William J. Leonard, and Robert J. Dufresne (2006). Designing effective questions for classroom response system teaching, American Journal of Physics 74 (1), pp. 31-39 doi: (Abstract, HTML, PDF).
  • Caldwell, J. (2007). Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best-Practice Tips. Life Sciences Education, 6, 9-20.
  • Czekanski, A.J. and Roux, D.M.P. (????), The Use of Clicker Technology to Evaluate Short-and Long-Term Concept Retention, ASEE PDF
  • DeBourgh, G. (2007). Use of Classroom "Clickers" to Promote Acquisition of Advanced Reasoning Skills. Nurse Education in Practice, in press.
  • Dufresne R. J.; W. J. Gerace, W. J. Leonard, J. P. Mestre, and L. Wenk, (1996). "Classtalk: A classroom communication system for active learning," J. Comput. High. Educ. 7, 3-7.
  • Petr, D. (2005). Experience with a Multiple-Choice Audience Response System in an Engineering Classroom. Proceedings of the 35th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, 19-22 October 2005, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Siau, K., Sheng, H., and Nah, F. (2006). Use of a Classroom Response System to Enhance Classroom Interactivity. IEEE Transactions on Education, 49(3), 398-403.
  • Siegel, J., Schmidt, K., Cone, J. (2004). INTICE - Interactive Technology to Improve the Classroom Experience. Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, 20-23. June 2004, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Wenk, L. et al., "Technology-Assisted Active Learning In Large Lectures," (1997). in A. P. McNeal and C. D'Avanzo, eds., Student-Active Science: Models of Innovation in College Science Teaching (Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing), pp. 431-451.