Student response systems

Student response systems are tools that can be used in online or face-to-face teaching scenarios to facilitate interactivity, enhance feedback processes on multiple levels, and collect data from students.

Ten ways academics use SRS 

The list below is a summary of ways practitioners commonly use Student Response Systems. It is not a finite list and new practices are being developed all the time. Greater detail on many of the practices below can be found in the written report and recorded presentations sections below. 

Basic practices 

The following practices can be introduced into teaching with minimal training and up-front investment of time: 

  1. Check students' prior knowledge when starting a new topic, so the material can be pitched appropriately. 
  2. Check that students adequately understand the ideas and material being presented before moving on. 
  3. Run formative in-class quizzes on the topic just covered and give immediate corrective feedback. 
  4. Monitor a group of students' progress throughout the year, through general observation of SRS activity outcomes and/or formal review of results. 

Advanced practices 

These practices require more confidence at using the technology and/or investment of time to develop materials. 

  1. Remodel (flip) lectures. Students engage with the content before a session (eg through reading, doing exercises, watching a video). The session then becomes a series of interactive activities facilitated through various SRS techniques, which are designed to check that students have done the pre-session activity, diagnose the aspects they need help with the most, and achieve deeper learning. 
  2. Collect unit/element feedback from students. In contrast to other methods, such as online surveys, use of TurningPoint achieves high response rates, enables immediate analysis, and allows additional probe questions. A number of techniques exist to capture quality comment and narrative, such as open questions, use of paper, and follow-up student focus groups. 
  3. Monitor individual students' progress throughout the year (requires identifying them in the system). 
  4. Track student attendance at practical classes. 
  5. Transform multiple small-group tutorials into fewer larger ones, to reduce pressure on staff and physical space resources. Use of various SRS techniques retains educational effectiveness and student satisfaction. 
  6. Facilitate case-based learning (CBL) in large groups. CBL requires a high level of interaction between students and tutor, so is usually only effective when used with small student groups. However, use of various basic SRS techniques makes it possible to effectively implement CBL for larger groups, which significantly reduces pressure on resources. 

Written report 

Benefits of Student Response Practices (PDF) - a short written report on the benefits of using the TurningPoint student response system, lessons learned and feedback from students, as seen at an academic show-and-tell event (2014).

Recorded presentations by academics 

The following are presentations given by academics at our most recent SRS practice show-and-tell event. 

September 2015

(nine presentations of around 23 minutes each) 

Published paper and articles 

Numerous generic and subject-specific research papers and articles on clickers are available at Vanderbilt University's classroom response system bibliography

Note: Some of the documents on this page are in PDF format. In order to view a PDF you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader