How do I write a statement on the use of clickers for a course outline?

As outlined in Western’s Academic Handbook, instructors are to include a statement on how clickers (also known as personal response systems) will be used in a course, including:

  • how student privacy will be protected;
  • how data collected will be used by the instructor for evaluating the student; and
  • why clickers can not be used by anyone but the student.

Sample language for a course outline:

The learning environment in this class will be supported by a Personal Response System. In order to answer questions posed by your instructor in class, you will need either a standalone “clicker” or a suitable web-enabled device providing access to an online “virtual clicker”. Details are available [reference to appropriate details]. It is your responsibility to ensure that your device is functional and, if required, that your online account is active. If you have any concerns about whether your physical or virtual clicker is malfunctioning, see me or consult the ITS Help Desk in the Services Building.

You must be present in class and use only your own clicker/online account to register your answers.

Because Personal Response records will be used to compute a portion of your course grade:

  • your clicker record will be treated with the same degree of security and confidentiality as other course grades;
  • the use of somebody else’s device/account in class will be considered a scholastic offence; and
  • the possession of a device/access to an account belonging to another student will be interpreted as an attempt to commit a scholastic offence.

Consider adding additional information, including:

  • additional detail on the kind of personal response system to be used (is it a physical piece of hardware or a software solution; do student need to purchase a license for use).
  • the instructional rationale for the use of personal response systems.
  • how grades will be calculated.
  • how results from personal response systems will be displayed in class (e.g. only aggregate student responses will be displayed).
  • if using a third-party personal response system not supported by Western:
    • how the company protects student privacy and
    • where / how to contact the company for technical support.

Source: Course Outlines for Undergraduate Courses, Academic Handbook [pdf link]

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