Classroom Response Systems

From the Univ of Colorado Resource Guide (reference 1):

  • Clickers are not a magic bullet – they are not necessarily useful as an end in themselves. Clickers become useful when you have a clear idea as to what you want to achieve with them, and the questions are designed to improve student engagement, student-student interaction, and instructor-student interaction. 
  • The best questions focus on concepts you feel are particularly important and involve challenging ideas with multiple plausible answers that reveal student confusion and generate spirited student discussion.
  • For challenging questions, students should be given some time to think about the clicker question on their own, and then discuss with their peers.
  • Good clicker questions and discussion result in deeper, more numerous questions from a much wider range of students than in traditional lecture.
  • Even though you will sacrifice some coverage of content in class, students will be more engaged and learn much more of what you do cover.  
  • When clickers are used well, students overwhelmingly support their use and say they help their learning.

TurningPoint Technologies Software & Video Tutorials


PC & Mac Users:

Mac Users: Use only TurningPoint Anywhere for Mac 2.0 (or any newer version). Their other product "TurningPoint for Mac" works only with older versions of MS Powerpoint (Office 2004), and is not completely stable. It is highly recommend that you avoid using it. The company is moving towards the "Anywhere" design because it is not dependent upon "cooperation" by Microsoft for development, and it is not "powerpoint-dependent". 

PC Users: Use either TurningPoint Anywhere for PC 2.0 (or any newer version) OR TurningPoint for PC.

Two Different "CRS" Programs:

TurningPoing Anywhere: can be used with questions created/displayed by any software (powerpoint, keynote, word) or even written "impromptu" on a smartboard. It can be configured to take a screen shot of the screen at the time you close polling (so that you have a copy of the question saved with your data). Polling is controlled using a floating toolbar. Histograms appear (when polling is closed) in a pop-up window of adjustable size. There are versions for both Mac & PC.

TurningPoint for PC requires that you create questions within a Turningpoint Template for Powerpoint. This program has many more options than TP Anywhere (such as count-down timers, the ability to compare pre-test vs. post-test responses, different style charts, etc.). The older Mac version only works (unreliably) with MS Office 2004. Avoid using it.


CRS References:

  1. Clicker Resource Guide
    By the Univ of Colorado Science Education Initiative & Univ of British Columbia Science Education
    Initiative (
  2. Tips for Successful "Clicker" Use
    By Dr. Douglas Duncan, Univ of Colorado, 2008
  3. Beatty ID, Leonard WJ, Gerace WJ, Dufresne RJ: Question driven instruction: teaching science (well) with an audience response system. In: Audience Response Systems in Higher Education: Applications and Cases. Chapter 7. Banks DA, Ed.  Information Science Publishing, Hershey PA. pp 96-115, 2006.
  4. Beatty ID, Gerace WJ: Technology-enhanced formative assessment: a research-based pedagogy for teaching science with classroom response technology. J Sci Educ Technol 18:146-162, 2009.
  5. Bruff D: Teaching with Classroom Response Systems. Creating Active Learning Environments. Jossey-Bass/Wiley. San Francisco CA, 2009.
  6. DeBourgh GA: Use of classroom "clickers" to promote acquisition of advanced reasoning skills. Nurse Education in Practice 8:76-87, 2008.
  7. Doucet M, Vrins A, Harvey D: Effect of using an audience response system on learning environment, motivation and long-term retention, during case-discussions in a large group of undergraduate veterinary clinical pharmacology students. Medical Teacher 31:e570-e579, 2009.
  8. Feldman A, Capobianco BM: Teacher learning of technology enhanced formative assessment. J Sci Educ Technol 17:82-99, 2008.
  9. Gauci SA, Dantas AM, Williams DA, Kemm RE: Promoting student-centered active learning in lectures with a personal response system. Adv Physiol Educ 33:60-71, 2009.
  10. Graham CR, Tripp TR, Seawright L, Joeckel GL: Empowering or compelling reluctant participants using audience response systems. Active Learning in Higher Education 8(3): 233-258, 2007.
  11. O’Connor V, Groves M, Minck S: The audience response system. A new resource in medical education. In: Audience Response Systems in Higher Education. Applications and Cases. Banks DA, Ed. Information Science Publishing, Hershey PA. 2006 pp 222-247.
  12. Preszler RW, Dawe A, Shuster CB, Shuster M: Assessment of the effects of student response systems on student learning and attitudes over a broad range of biology courses. CBE Life Sci Educ 6:29-41, 2007.
  13. Robertson LJ: Twelve tips for using a computerized interactive audience response system. Medical Teacher. 22(3): 237-239, 2000.
  14. Stevenson F: Clickers: the use of audience response questions to enliven lectures and stimulate teamwork. JIAMSE 17(2): 106-111, 2007.
  15. Suchman E, Uchiyama K, Smith R, Bender K: Evaluating the impact of a classroom response system in a microbiology course. Microbiology Education 7:3-11, 2006.

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