Clicker Systems

Clicker systems are devices that each student in a lecture can use to give multiple-choice feedback to the lecturer. Most of our large courses now use the iclicker system, which comes with its own software for giving grades.

Currently used local software

Currently there are only two items of home-grown software necessary:

History of Clicker Systems in our Department

The first clicker system in our Department, and, I believe, at Rutgers, was built by me at the urging of Suzanne Brahmia. This project was begun in 1993 and first used in the fall of 1995, more extensively in Spring, 1996. An extensive description of the project, including history, specifications, and use, is available. This was built at a time when each user's device could be bought commercially for $200, so I needed to build my own to serve 330 students for less than $15,000. The system included a telephone keypad and three LEDs for feedback built into the armrest of each seat in the Physics Lecture Hall.

The SRS system was used for approximately six years, until it was replaced by a commerical infrared system where the students bought their transmitters. This system had feedback only by projecting on the screen the number of the units that responded. As the system was not very reliable at detecting all transmissions, and the feedback was not very effective at convincing the students their responses had been received, it proved problematic to use as a graded process. But this was our sole system until 2006. I wrote software to take the raw data from the PRS system and turn it into grades in a flexible manner, for example, giving points for any or for correct answers, for a minimum number of responses, and for handling courses where the same lecture is given twice.

In the fall 0f 2007 the Department abandoned the PRS in favor of the RF system called iclicker, which is much more reliable. All of our users have found the software iclicker provides adequate, so the programs previously used for the PRS data have not been modified. My PRS software was somewhat more flexible but not as user-friendly --- anyone who feels constrained by the limitations of what the iclicker software can do should speak to me

Software is available to convert the output of the iclicker software to input for the Baki Brahmia's Gradebook program.

Criticisms or additions to this page should be sent to
Joel Shapiro
(shapirophysics) Last modified: Mon Aug 10 16:12:03 2009