Design Patterns for CS Education/Design Patterns/Clicker questions activity

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Clicker questions activity

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Pattern Name

Clicker Questions Activity

Problem: Students are not necessarily aware of their conceptual misunderstandings as they are studying course materials and concepts.

Level (any)

Semester (any)

Activity type (any)

Solution: Engage students in actively taking exam-like questions individually, and then discuss it with their team to find out about their mistakes instantly.

Develop quizzes that students take using clickers. Start with some easy vocabulary questions to make students feel good about their performance and then pose questions that are more about conceptual understanding. Follow with analysis questions, for example, students figure out where the error is in a code segment, or specify what the output would be after executing the code segment.

Formation (random)

Size (pairs, small)

Composition (any)

Duration (single class, topic based)

Contribution to grade (small)

Activity progression (Individual to group)

Roles (equal responsibility)

Rationale: Clickers make the students engaged in the material as opposed to regular classes when they have to wait until the first assignment with no support available to them instantly.

Even though it is timed, it is learning with low stress. Clicker quizzes are social. This kind of public quizzing encourage students to discuss topics and to argue if the answer is right or not. The students are not dependent on their teammates to answer, but can depend on their own decisions about the answer.

Potential Pitfalls: Designing quizzes requires a combination of Art and Skill. Designing well structured clickers is not easy and needs good amount of time and effort. Clicker quizzes are based on the assumption that students have done some preparation. So if they don’t it will not have that much learning outcome.