University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1858-1860
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Traditional Engineering classes in higher education are generally perceived to have minimal student-to-student and teacher-to-student interaction. They are often delivered in a monotonous, one-way conversation, ‘rushing to cover a large content’ atmosphere where there are little or no activities designed to engage students. In-class formative assessment (graded or non-graded) and student-lecturer discussion and feedback are even less common (Cotner et al., 2008).

In the recent years, a novel technological device – ‘student response system’ also known as ‘clickers’ has emerged allowing teacher to pose questions in class and obtain immediate responses anonymously from students by clicking the remote devices. The collected responses are processed and presented graphically in real-time. Some research studies that based on students’ perceptions on the use of clickers as an effective teaching and learning tool (King & Robinson, 2009; Petr, 2005) were reported. The studies asserted that clickers can provide immediate feedback and create opportunities for student engagement, especially in large lecture class (Gauci et al., 2009; MacGeorge et al., 2008; Patterson et al., 2010). These reports were based on universities set in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. To date, only a limited number of these studies have been reported, and even less studies on teacher’s perspective on the efficacy of clickers and their pedagogical commitments.

This study was designed to compare three different Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) delivery methods namely clickers, pen and paper MCQs and online elearning MCQs on the effectiveness of student engagement used as an in-class formative assessment. The results were also compared without the use of any formative assessment. Two courses in Year 2 undergraduate classes from Electrical & Electronic Engineering at the University of Hong Kong were selected to introduce to these formative assessment methods. These students were first time users and have not been exposed to clicker technology beforehand. For each assessment delivery methods, ten multiple-choice questions (MCQs) were written to assess students’ knowledge and problem solving techniques. Student perceptions on the different assessment methods were surveyed immediately at the end of the class. Teachers’ experiences and attitudes towards the different methods in relation to the learning outcomes and engagement of the students, and the pedagogy were also interviewed. In addition to the surveys and interviews, an independent observer was invited to evaluate the student and teacher’s attitudes during the activities.

Overall, the majority of students appreciates and recommends in-class formative assessment particularly clickers and online elearning to be used in other courses. In the presentation, the results of these assessment delivery methods will be discussed as well as issues and concerns found by the observer using these delivery methods.
MCQs, clickers, classroom response system, formative assessment, feedback.