Test-taking by clicker gains acceptance

Testing in large lecture classes made easier with remote control clickers.

The image of a professor of bonehead English hunched over a pile of students tests may soon be a thing of the past, as more professors start to use student-operated remote controls for exams, reports the Associated Press.

Students use clickers which register responses immediately, making it easier for professors to teach large classes, said James Bidlack, biology professor at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Besides making exams-taking more efficient, the clickers help him judge how well students are learning, and the clickers force students in very large classes to pay attention.

"It wakes them up in the back row," Bidlack said. "In a big class, you've got to do something to keep them engaged."

The drawback at UCO is that it costs $40 to register and own the device. UCO student Jennifer Marshall said she prefers to save money by taking quizzes the old-fashioned way — on paper.

"I am paying money to be in this class, and part of that money is to pay Dr. Bidlack to teach that class. As the professor, part of his job is to give quizzes and grade them."

"If he doesn't want to do that, or if he finds an easier way to do that by using these clickers, then he should be the one to buy the clickers and the subscription for his students," she said.

A survey of students using clickers at the University of Oklahoma found that three out of four are satisfied with the technology.

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