Research Blog

Response technology can revitalise traditional lectures

June 13, 2018

SLATE researcher, Kjetil Egelandsdal, defended his PhD 11 May exploring instructional design using Student Response Systems (SRS) to promote formative feedback at university lectures.

His work showed that using response technology can make university lectures more interactive and that this can promote formative feedback for both students and lecturers.

University lectures in the 21st Century

In an interview in the University of Bergen’s independent news service, På Høyden, Egelandsdal says that he believes that university lectures are important, because the interaction between lecturers and students is important. However, he notes that while university lecturing has changed relatively little in 600 years, there is a significant directional shift today as we move from an industry-based economy to a knowledge-economy, with more emphasis on the students themselves and their learning outcomes.

Clicking in lectures

The interventions were tested in several large lecture situations and aimed to provide students and teachers with feedback on the students’ understanding of the lecture content.

Wireless clickers enable students to participate actively in a lecture situation. Students can use the clickers to respond to multiple choice questions posted by the lecturer. Such questions could address important ideas from the lecture. In Egelandsdal’s research, lecturers asked such questions 2-6 times per lecture. The clicker answers were displayed anonymously on the lecture screen for all students and the lecturer to see. In addition, there were discussions of the questions and results, both peer discussions and lecturer-led. Students and lecturers said that the discussions helped to clarify the important concepts, thus ultimately improving learning and understanding.

Feed up / feed back / feed forward!

Egelandsdal’s results showed that the clicker interventions provided students with feedback that supported their self-monitoring. It raised their awareness of

Impact for lecturers

The student responses enabled lecturers to both adapt their teaching immediately, by adding further explanations, or later, by providing them with feedback to adjust their teaching for future situations.

As student populations grow larger and are increasingly diverse, response technology can revitalise traditional university lectures by mediating the interaction between lecturers and students.

Thesis: Clickers and Formative Feedback at University Lectures

Article 1 / Study 1

  1. Do students experience receiving formative feedback that supports their self-monitoring from interventions using SRS, and how do students perceive the feedback?
  2. Which parts of the interventions, if any, do students experience receiving formative feedback from, and how do the students perceive the different parts?

Article 2 / Study 2

  1. Do students receive feedback that enhances their content understanding through peer discussions in combination with clicker questions at a university lecture?

Article 3 / Study 3

  1. How do the students perceive and use feedback from the clicker interventions?
  2. Do peer discussions improve student performance on clicker questions and how do the students perceive the discussions?
  3. How do the teachers perceive feedback from the clicker intervention, and for what purpose(s) do the teachers consider the feedback useful?

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