OIT's Learning Technologies Team Explores Standardization on Student Response Systems at UTSA

December 21, 2016

by Nicole Duff at 9:47 AM in Campus Community, Student Info, Staff News, Productivity


(Clickers are popular student engagement tools used in today's classrooms.)

The Office of Information Technology's (OIT's) Learning Technologies team is currently seeking faculty feedback to determine whether the University should standardize on a single clicker. Clickers such as iClicker, Top Hat and Poll Everywhere are popular student response systems that help faculty gain feedback from students during class via live polling.

In an effort to minimize the number of clicker systems used at the University, the Learning Technologies team is collaborating with UTSA faculty to assess the need for standardization on a single system. The team has developed and disseminated a Qualtrics survey to garner faculty input as standardization would prove beneficial for faculty from a technical support perspective and for students from an economic standpoint.

"If students have two different professors and are using two different devices those cost anywhere between 50 to 70 dollars," said Joe Tobares, director of Learning Technologies. "We are trying to see if standardization is feasible for UTSA and come up with that standard and say this is how we will support the student so they can pay for one device."

Not only will standardization reduce the additional costs students would incur from purchasing more than one system, but also it will allow students the convenience of using a single clicker in multiple classes. The use of a single system across the University will enable UTSA students and faculty to receive greater technical support from the Learning Technologies staff who will be fully trained on that particular system.

"If the University were to standardize on one system the Learning Technologies team will be able to provide a higher level of technical support that is focused and customized to that system," said Dustin Barrows, manager of Learning Technologies who is spearheading this initiative. "We will also be able to provide more individual and group training on the proper use of that system in the classroom setting."

In addition to the survey, the Learning Technologies team has formed a committee comprised of two faculty representatives from each UTSA college to determine the usefulness of this venture. Each committee member was appointed by their department dean. The team will also obtain feedback from students, who are the end users of clickers.

The team hopes to reach a decision by spring 2017, after which they will present their findings to the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars (ADTS), the Faculty Senate and the UTSA Campus Management and Operations committee (CMO) to determine whether standardization is the route by which the University will proceed.

Although the Learning Technologies team is working toward reaching a consensus on a single clicker, UTSA faculty can choose whether or not to integrate that particular system into their classes.

"I hope that faculty will be open and honest about their experience with various Student Response Systems," Barrows continued. "We need to have clear feedback on what has worked and not worked for them in their classrooms. We do not want faculty to get the impression that we are trying to force them to adopt the usage of a student response system to their teaching style, but rather we are trying to provide an enhanced experience for those choosing to use a student response system."

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