Increased adoption of the clicker would increase student attendance
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 23:01
We have all experienced, or at least heard about, the “clicker problem.” Some professors require clickers for class in order to measure attendance and participation, while other professors don’t. As our society continues to become a more technological, the learning experience is becoming more computerized. Clickers add to this phenomenon.
The problem is inconsistency. There have been multiple versions of the clicker students have needed to purchase in order to fulfill the material requirements for just one or two classes. Then, the next year, they would have to purchase a newer version and were unable to use the clicker they already owned. Each clicker change adds unnecessary cost to a student’s bookstore receipt.
Professors should either require clickers for every large, lecture-based class, or not. I understand that not all classes may require a clicker — including physical activity classes, recitations, labs, or smaller, more concentrated classes — but a wider variety of classes should use them. It is a great way to get students to attend class and an easier way to manage participation.
It’s unfair for only a handful of classes to require clickers when students have to invest in a piece of pricey technology they might only use once per week, and for as little as one term.
I’ll be honest: I had two mass-lecture courses last term. My business class required a clicker for attendance in every class and economics didn’t. I missed business about three or four times, but I didn’t attend economics after the first midterm.
Both classes posted lectures online, but I felt more pressured to go to the business class because participation was a big portion of my final grade — while there was no participation grade in economics.
This doesn’t mean if your class doesn’t require a clicker, you shouldn’t go. It just means using a clicker in class for points is incentive enough to go more often. If you are going to work hard in a class, losing participation points for not attending is just stupid. However, better grades begin with going to class.
Some students realize this, others may know this and don’t care, and a few don’t believe this to be true.
It is possible to still do well by reviewing lecture slides online and reading from the book, but I can guarantee most students learn best with visuals and execution. When professors go through slides and further explain the topic with examples, videos and pictures, the information will stick in our minds for a longer period of time.
This holds truer for classes we don’t like. We all have our better subjects, but this concept applies for both our strengths and weaknesses. If professors would implement a more consistent system of attendance and participation, more students may feel inclined to go to class.
Final grades would be expected to increase.
Some could argue it’s not the professor’s responsibility to try to raise students’ grades. However, it is the Oregon State community’s — which includes all professors — responsibility to support and encourage a successful academic environment. Taking advantage of today’s technology through clicker usage would be one of the easiest ways to achieve this.
The more this idea is implemented, the more classes will adopt the clicker, and the more students will attend class.
Masami Wadama is a sophomore in business marketing. The opinions expressed in her columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Wadama can be reached at email@example.com.