At a recent conference, I met Kevin Barhydt, an educational technologist at Union College in New York. His presentation about clickers was great, but one thing that stood to me about Kevin was a pattern I observed in the questions he asked during other presentations. He kept wanting to know if the clicker questions used by instructors during class were made available to students after class for review and study.
I think this is a great question. There’s some evidence in an article by Bunce, VandenPlas, and Havanki (2006) that making clicker questions available to students after class can enhance student learning. In that article, the impact on student learning of online quizzes was compared to that of in-class clicker questions. It was found that the online quizzes helped students more, perhaps because those quiz questions were made available to students for study, whereas the clicker questions were not.
I recently learned of a new project out of the University of Ediburgh called Electronic Voting Analysis and Feedback for All (EVAF4All). The goal of the project is to develop a vendor-independent way to provide students with useful feedback about clicker questions after class. The feedback would include a student’s individual answer to a clicker question, the distribution of answers for the student’s classmates, and links to educational resources related to the topic of the clicker question.
There are some significant technical challenges that the EVAF4All project will have to overcome, including the development of an online application that will interface with any classroom response system (regardless of vendor) and any learning management system. You can read a little more about these challenges in a blog post by Nitin Parmar of the University of Bath. However, given the potential importance of the ways that students can learn from clicker questions after class, I think the EVAF4All’s project goal is a good one. I would be interested in finding out what kind of assessment they’re planning for their project. That might help discover the role of post-class review of clicker questions in student learning.