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Cal State Long Beach Pushes iClicker for Student Response

Starting this fall, California State University, Long Beach will roll out iClicker as its preferred student response system. Clickers were already popular at Cal State Long Beach, and the student senate, representing 38,000 students, voted to encourage faculty to incorporate iClicker in the instruction, mostly because they liked the instant feedback.

"Simplicity and reliability were central to our faculty's decision to standardize with iClickers," said Leslie Kennedy, director, instructional technology support services. "We all liked that iClicker's response system was about minimizing the technology and keeping students focused instead on the course material."

Instructors use clickers as a tool to gauge students' understanding and to deliver quizzes. Students use a wireless handheld device that allows them to vote for an answer by clicking on the appropriate button. An instructor "receiver" plugged into the faculty computer collects the votes from the student clickers and displays the voting results in a graph to the audience. At Long Beach instructors can integrate clicker results with BeachBoard, the university's course management system.

The initial demand for clicker standardization at Cal State Long Beach came from students who found themselves required to buy multiple devices. Associated Students Inc. (ASI) met with Paul Boyd-Batstone, chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Technology (FACT), asking for help. Boyd-Batstone drafted an Academic Senate resolution after attending clicker demonstrations, surveying faculty, and researching how other universities standardized. Cost, reliability, ease of use, and accessibility were primary selection criteria.

Other institutions of higher education using iClicker include California State University, Fresno, the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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