Academic journal article e-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship Teaching

Click Go the Students, Click-Click-Click: The Efficacy of a Student Response System for Engaging Students to Improve Feedback and Performance

Academic journal article e-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship Teaching

Click Go the Students, Click-Click-Click: The Efficacy of a Student Response System for Engaging Students to Improve Feedback and Performance

Article excerpt


How many academics have presented a lecture to a room of students over one, two, or three hours with little interaction or feedback to indicate how well the students understand the material presented? It would therefore be valuable to have some immediate feedback from each student about his or her level of understanding of the material being presented, rather than wait until final exam results, when it is too late to do something about it.

Teachers ask questions only to be answered (if at all) by the best students, while the timid, average or less articulate students just sit there even though they may not have understood. Some students do not respond to questions or requests for feedback due to the fact that even though they are physically in the classroom, their minds are somewhere else. Other students do not respond for fear of retribution, either from their fellow students or from the teacher whom they perceive may think of them as 'dumb'. Some students do not answer questions because they cannot put into words what is concerning them. Failure to articulate concerns could be due to being unsure of the relevant terminology to use, or in the case of many overseas students, a perception that they cannot express themselves adequately in English. Moreover, there is frequently a group of students that answer, or attempt to answer, every question, thereby dominating class discussions and leaving little chance for other less assertive students to respond. In addition, another group of students may simply fail to understand or follow the logic of the argument presented. All these groups are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and may share similar characteristics. In summary, it is not controversial to claim that many students in our classes may not be able to adequately follow the content delivered, particularly at the pace at which material is delivered in contemporary classrooms and courses.

This paper reports on a technology-based solution that has evolved into a feedback mechanism and provides instructors with a non-intrusive, effective pedagogy. This technology provides a method that can overcome many of the barriers presented above, while giving and gaining student feedback to dynamically modify delivery in the classroom. This may help focus on students' needs, as identified by students themselves. Variously described as 'clickers', audience response systems, personal response systems, group response systems, and student response systems (SRS), they have evolved as an effective technology in education and training, and have been popularised in TV game shows such as "Who wants to be a Millionaire" where the audience is asked to cast votes. Given that accounting educators are becoming more interested in the use of technology in their classrooms, and the investment in time and resources required, research investigating the impact of using this technology is timely. It could provide some insights to teachers on how to introduce quizzes using clicker technology in classrooms.

An action research approach was used to evaluate the implementation of SRS technology into accounting classrooms and conduct an experiment using student self reports and objective measures to test the success of the project. This research method was chosen to provide an iterative, systematic, analytic way to reflect on what was done in class, to evaluate success in achieving classroom goals, and to chart the direction of future classroom strategies to improve student learning (Cunningham, 2008). The study extends literature in the area in three ways. The project (1) compares students' general course perceptions with and without SRS, (2) examines the impact of immediate feedback provided by the use of SRS on students' understanding of the material being presented and (3) investigates changes in the level of student performance in assessments.

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: the next section explains the overarching project that was designed to evaluate the use of educational technologies such as student response systems for teaching and learning in accounting courses. …

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