Clickers at Tufts

What is It?

An iClicker being used in the classroom.

Clickers are polling devices that instructors can use in-class to pose questions and collect votes from students. Responses are tallied by a central receiver, and can be immediately projected back for all to see and discuss or used by instructors later to analyze collected responses. This tool allows students to participate either anonymously or with registered clickers depending on their course requirement. The in-class display of responses, however, is always aggregated and anonymous.

Using i>clicker at Tufts

i>clicker is the vendor that Tufts carefully selected and recommends as a standardized solution for Classroom Response Systems (CRS). The main benefits of using i>clicker are as follows:

  • Polling software records a screen capture when the poll is conducted, allowing faculty to display polling questions on a PowerPoint slide or other application projected on the screen. This allows for on-the-fly polling.
  • Trunk users may use a course/project site tool called “i>clicker” to easily link clicker remotes with student IDs.

Read more by clicking any of the following links about using i>clickers at Tufts.

To ask questions in class using i>clickers at Tufts, an instructor needs a clicker, i>clicker software and polling receiver unit. Students need a clicker.

i>clicker base unit & clickers

i>clicker base unit & clickers (image source: ats.udel.edu/clickers)

Before the semester begins,

  • Read below how you and/or your students can access clickers at your school. Access clickers in advance and receive basic training if needed. If you are from AS&E and not a first-time user, call the campus bookstore to place clicker orders for your students.
  • Develop meaningful clicker questions as you develop your class presentations (usually multiple-choice questions with up to 5 answer choices). Typically, instructors who use PowerPoint slides for their class presentation simply add new slides that include clicker questions. However, you can present clicker questions on any other applications such as Word or webpage or ask questions on the fly verbally without projecting clicker questions. To learn more, check out Teaching Effectively with Clickers.
  • Decide what you would like to do with clicker responses. Clickers can gather responses anonymously or the responses can be linked to student IDs. To identify student responses by their names, additional setup is required on the software. See below “Tracking Individual Student Responses over the Course of the Semester.”

Note: If you have a class size of 40 students or less and would like to ask clicker questions anonymously, consider Clicker Alternatives or other Classroom Response Systems.


Each school at Tufts has implemented clickers differently. See below how you can access clickers and receive basic setup training at your school.

School Instructors Students Contact information
All schools Loaner sets available at ESTS (limited, first come first served, or first-time faculty users) Loaner sets available at ESTS (limited, first come first served, or first-time faculty users) Email edtech@tufts.edu
AS&E Loaner sets available at ESTS (limited, first come first served, or first-time faculty users) or request an instructor kit Loaner sets available at ESTS (limited, first come first served, or first-time faculty users). If clickers are incorporated into regular class sessions, order clickers via your campus bookstore before a semester begins. Then, students buy a clicker from the bookstore with several purchasing options: Medford- $18 (rent for semester), $30 (used) & $40 (new). Email edtech@tufts.edu
Campus Bookstore
Fletcher 1 instructor set available at Fletcher 58 student loaner clickers available at Fletcher Email Cynthia.Rubino@tufts.edu
Medicine Several instructor sets available at the Office of Educational Affairs (OEA) All undergraduate medical students (1st/2nd year) receive a clicker and are expected to bring it to classes that use clickers. Email Nicole.Love@tufts.edu
Dental Medicine 4 instructor sets available at the Office of Academic Affairs 300 student loaner clickers available at the school Email Jennipher.Murphy@tufts.edu
Veterinary Medicine 2 instructor sets available at the Webster library 100 student clickers at the Webster library Contact the Webster Library or email webvet@tufts.edu


Instructors using i>clicker & Trunk for their courses can enable the “i>clicker” tool within their Trunk course. The Trunk i>clicker tool allows:

  • Students to register their i>clicker remotes directly within your Trunk course
  • Instructors to easily link their Trunk class roster and clicker registrations to i>grader
  • Instructors to upload i>grader polling data directly from i>grader into their Trunk course

Things to do before or at the start of the semester
In order to use this Trunk i>clicker tool, you have to use Tufts University’s customized version of the i>clicker software package (the same i> clicker software but configured in the background to connect the Trunk system directly). Also, note that clicker registration can be done at any time as long as students use the same clicker. In other words, you can start using clickers on the first day of class as voting records will be saved regardless of the student clicker registration. Once students register the same clicker they used in class on your Trunk course and you sync the roster in i>grader, all the voting records associated with the student clickers will be updated with the correct student IDs.

  • Download the Tufts version of the i>clicker software folder (See the next section, “Software Downloads”). Open the i>clicker software and set up your course. Go to My Settings and the CMS/Registration tab and choose “Sakai” as the CMS  platform and “Set for Course”.
  • Turn on the i>clicker tool in your Trunk course to enable student clicker registration
  • Ask your students via email or on the first day of class to go to your Trunk course and register their clicker ID (You may share this PDF with your students to give them detailed instructions). Make sure your Trunk course is published and visible to students.
  • Check who registered their clicker or not on your Trunk course by clicking “i>clicker” on the course menu and the “Instructor Report” link
  • Sync the Trunk course roster on i>grader to track voting records with student IDs. For the first time you open the i>grader software and open your course, you will be prompted to download “Sakai roster” and login to Trunk. Login using your Tufts username/password, select the course you’d like to sync, and import roster from the course. i>grader will restart and you will then see all the anonymous voting records that are updated with the student names. Whenever you perform “sync” on i>grader, the software will download the latest roster from your Trunk course. That means, you might want to open i>grader again after the registration “ADD/DROP” period ends or whenever you have changes to the course roster. Click “sync” on i>grader to repeat this process again to keep the records up to date.

To learn more about the Trunk i>clicker tool, see the Instructor Guide (PDF) or contact us for a consultation.

***Note: Student clickers at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) are already linked with student IDs. For more information, contact nicole.love@tufts.edu.


If you ask clicker questions anonymously, you may use the latest software available at the i>clicker website. To use the latest software, make sure the base unit you use is in white color. If you use a black base unit, contact edtech@tufts.edu for replacement. If you want to identify student responses by their names and use Trunk for clicker registration, you must use the Tufts University’s customized version of the i>clicker software package below. Download and unzip the clicker folder on your computer or flash drive.


How much does a clicker cost at the bookstore?
Currently, only AS&E classes direct students to buy clickers from the campus bookstore. $40 new, $30 used, rental option available.
For any other schools, please see above, “How You Can Access Clickers at Your School”

Some students have multiple courses that require a clicker. Can they just use one?
Yes, they can use the same clicker in multiple classes.

Some students say they can’t read the clicker ID number on the back of their clicker. Where else can they find the ID number?
The ID number can also be found in the battery compartment. Remove the batteries and you will see a sticker with the ID number.

Which brand of batteries is recommended?
Due to slight differences in battery sizes, Energizer batteries are recommended. DO NOT use Duracell or Rite Aid batteries.

Some students have confused their clicker with a friend’s clicker. How can they identify their own clicker?
Reference the clicker ID number on the back of the device. If you instructed them to register their clicker on Trunk, have them login to your course and go to “i>clicker” to see which device belongs to them.

Can students lend their clicker to a friend?
Yes, they can share a clicker with a friend as long as he or she will be using it for a different course.

Do students have to buy a new clicker every semester?
No, they can use the same clicker from semester to semester.

What if students lose their clicker?
They can borrow one from a friend not in the same class or buy another clicker. If you have students register their clicker in your Trunk course, tell them to let you know and register another clicker in the course.

Will turning off a clicker during class between questions mess up students’ answers?
No. However, students have to make sure their clicker is on while a question is being asked and they see the green voting light when registering an answer.

i>clicker seems to have different versions of clickers. Which version do you recommend?
Tufts currently recommends only i>clicker 1 (the original device) and does not carry i>clicker 2 or i>clicker + on campus in order to provide seamless user experiences. If students use i>clicker 2 or i>clicker +, the instructor should use the latest version of clicker base unit and software.

Some students asked whether they can use their smartphone as clickers. The i>clicker website offers an app. How should I respond to this request?
The web application can be used at faculty discretion. You as an instructor should be aware that:

  • There are a few seconds of delay when votes are collected
  • You should use the Tufts version of i>clicker software (see above) and enable web-based polling in the settings
  • Students will buy a term-based license, not as one-time purchase, and can’t sell back to another person

Where Do I Get Support?

TTS maintains loaner clicker sets that Tufts faculty can borrow as they are experimenting for the first time with clickers. We provide orientation to the i>clicker hardware/software and to effective practices in formulating questions and integrating clickers into a course. We also provide Tufts Schools, departments, and individual faculty with information about ordering i>clicker for use in their programs.

For questions on how to use clickers or how best to incorporate them into your teaching, email teachtufts@tufts.edu or check out Teaching Effectively with Clickers (CRS).

Looking for free solutions for light use of Classroom Response Systems? Are all of your students able to bring their personal laptop or smartphone to the classroom? Check out the Clicker Alternatives page.

 
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