Home' Campus Technology : January 2014 Contents CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January 2014
he eliminated that and replaced it with his quiz.
Wandt said he frequently hears complaints from under-
graduate professors who "hate to take attendance because
it takes too much time." But in some cases they're required
to do so by law. "In this circumstance you could put [the
attendance feature] on the screen, time it for 10 or 20
seconds and then turn it off. Whether you allow students
to register late or not is up to you."
Two other researchers --- including Wandt --- used the
system as a classroom clicker. "The student doesn't have to
go to the bookstore and spend $40 or $50 on [a dedicated
device] they're never going to use again," he noted. "They
use their smartphones, laptops or tablets." He would create
"quick polls" in advance to make sure the students under-
stood the topic or to make sure they stayed on topic.
Homework and Tests
Other researchers in the project used the homework module
of the program. The instructors would enter questions into a
"curriculum content bank" and then assign a set of homework
questions to the students. "Then they were able to monitor
the homework module over the course of the week," Wandt
explained. "If they saw students not taking the homework [or]
having difficulty with the questions, they could reach out. If
students did very well, they could congratulate them." Then,
right before a class would begin, the teachers could check
the general metrics to see where the majority of students had
problems so they knew what subject matter to emphasize.
"We don't want to waste class time going over ideas and
topics that students are already proficient with. By using
the homework module, professors were able to get a real-
ly good idea of where their students' strengths and weak-
nesses were before they came into the classroom, so they
could focus on the right places," he added.
Wandt expanded on his quiz practice by delivering full-
length midterms and final exams through the software. But
in those cases he also recommended that students bring
in a laptop or use a college-supplied one. "It could be a
little problematic taking a 50-question quiz on a smart-
phone," he noted. The program allows for multiple choice,
true-false, short answer and long answer questions.
When the semester ended, Wandt surveyed the students
in his class and those from another course on the soft-
ware's usability and value.
The majority of respondents --- 69 percent --- found the
program "intuitive" or "very intuitive." Most students were
able to get the software going on their devices with little help.
Three-quarters were able to use it without any outside help.
The others "needed somebody standing over their shoulder
for a minute or two of help." But for the most part, he added,
faculty and students "could get set up on day one."
To avoid delay in his courses now, Wandt asks his students
to set up the software before class. He ensures it happens
by giving them a homework assignment in the program. "I find
that works really well," he said. "It gives the student time to
play around with it before they come into the classroom."
The entire student survey group "agreed" or "strongly
agreed" that the use of Via Response "forced" them to
come better prepared for the class; 90 percent said it
helped them succeed. "I think these are really the magical
metrics," Wandt reported. "The reason I started this proj-
ect was because as a professor I was getting very frus-
trated with my students not reading properly before class.
I understand their stresses, that they're busy. But I also
need to make sure when we all get into the classroom, we
can have a very targeted conversation about something
they already have a background on."
Applying technology to encourage students to prepare
for class could help them in small but influential ways to
fulfill their learning objectives, Wandt observed. "If we can
get over our preconceived notions about smartphones in
class [being] bad, we can really give them tools that will
help them succeed in the long run."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor of Cam-
Links Archive February 2014 December 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page