Brendan O’Beirn, Lecturer in Engineering Science, DIT Bolton Street.
Since February I have been using clickers in the Engineering Physics module for students registered on the level 6 Preliminary Engineering course DT020. Preliminary Engineering caters for those students who have not reached the entry requirements for level 8 honours engineering courses in both Bolton Street and Kevin Street. The entry requirements for these courses require at least a C in higher maths and an ordinary level honour in a science subject.
As such the students registered on the course represent a very mixed bag of knowledge and abilities; some students will have the higher maths but not the science requirement, others will have the science but not the higher maths requirement and then others will have neither science nor higher maths.
I have been using the clickers with the dual aim of encouraging greater participation in discussing the course material during lectures and providing immediate feedback both to the student and myself on their comprehension of the course material. This has been achieved in two ways;
Firstly I introduce a new topic with a few clicker slides. In most cases this will encourage a discussion among the students and any misconceptions can be weeded out. I will then have a few more clicker slides throughout the ppt session to maintain student engagement. This has been partially successful. The more vocal students will tend to dominate over the more reticent and in some cases, weaker students. However all the students appreciate the immediate feedback provided by the clickers response system.
I have also held clicker quizzes which test whether the students have read the notes supplied on a particular topic. These quizzes comprise about 10 – 12 multiple choice questions and the results are recorded and form part of their continuous assessment. I intend to return to these topics with a written multiple choice test and compare the results with the clicker quiz results.