Elon University Home

Category Archives: Technology@Elon

Professor Mark Courtright uses clickers for peer evaluation

Written by Caroline Klidonas, junior Acting major and Creative Writing minor

Professor Mark Courtright is finding ways to amp up student involvement in class presentations in his Business Communications class. How? You guessed it—with clickers! I met with him to find out firsthand just how he’s managed this.

Q: What specific ways have you used the clickers in class?

Professor Courtright’s Business Communications class explored doing business in other cultures. The class was divided into five groups of four for a project that culminated in a class presentation. Prior to the presentation, he gave the students a rubric with six categories on which to be evaluated.

Class presentation categories included:

1. Collaboration
2. Organization
3. Content and Preparedness
4. Visuals
5. Mechanics and Formatting
6. Question and Answer Techniques

Class Evaluation
At the end of the presentations, Professor Courtright showed the class a PowerPoint presentation with slides for each of the team country names, and the categories from the rubric. When he flashed a slide with a specific rubric category, the students rated the team in question from one to four with their clickers (four being the best). They completed this for each element of evaluation on the rubric, for each team.

Comparison of Scores
Professor Courtright didn’t stop there, however. Taking into consideration that students were evaluating their peers, Professor Courtright compared an indexed value of the average scores with his indexed value. He then weighted their index value at 30% and his at 70% and calculated a weighted score for each team’s presentation evaluation. “The way it really worked well was the fact that…they sort of flattened out the results by mostly fours and threes,” Professor Courtright reflects. “It made me go back in a couple cases, where I really downgraded my evaluation. I didn’t change my evaluation, but their moderating effect pulled the grade up.” Overall, Professor Courtright thinks, “it was a good balancing compensation aspect.”

When all of the normalizing calculations, as well as other parts of the team project were said and done, the student clicker evaluations weighed in at 20% of the overall project grade.

Q: Do you plan on applying the clickers in this way again?

“Yes, probably in about two weeks,” Professor Courtright responds without hesitation, but he will be tweaking the process this time.

Formal Business Analysis
This assignment is a formal business analysis, resulting in an individual presentation on whether or not students think they should buy a particular, randomly assigned company. For this assignment, Professor Courtright says that the rubric will be more “outcome-based,” asking the ultimate question, “were they credible?” The rest of the class will be on a hypothetical company board, deciding if they agree with the presentation to buy or not. Each student will receive the class feedback on the effectiveness of their argument. In addition, this time the student evaluations will account for closer to 40% of their final project grade.

Student Responses
Here is where things get interesting: whereas before the clicker evaluations were anonymous, now they will be assigned. In addition, the last question on the rubric will ask the students if they are willing to switch their grade with the student they have just evaluated. “It’s a reality check,” Professor Courtright explains. “If you say all these [rubric categories] are fours, and then you say you wouldn’t take the grade, that gives me an indication when I go back and weight it.”

Q: What difficulties did you or the students have with the clickers?

As a warm up for the students, Professor Courtright employed some of the exercises Dan Reis, Instructional Technologist in TLT, showed him in the clicker training session; the students caught on quickly, without any specific issues.

“My difficulty was when I went back to get the data, I didn’t know that there was a little app that you clicked on that pulled it all up, refined. At first I couldn’t find it; I found only raw data. I was panicking,” Professor Courtright says. To resolve this issue, he called Dan Reis, and learned that “iClicker Grader” was the app that he was looking for. Professor Courtright had the application installed but was unaware of how to locate the data.

Final Thoughts
Professor Courtright is still trying to work out ways to compensate for the students’ tendency to grade towards the four on the rubric. “I haven’t figured out if there’s a way to…say you’re limited to “x” number of fours. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to put a ceiling on it, but I do want some realism.”

In addition, due to the formal nature of business writing, in which opinion-stating is null, Professor Courtright has yet to find a way to apply the clickers to “free-flow information.” He hopes to tackle this more “on-the-fly” application of the clickers next semester. “But for evaluating the performance, I think it’s really good,” Professor Courtright concludes.

The questions Professor Courtright is asking demonstrate that clicker use in the classroom is a dynamic learning process for both professors and students. All it takes is some healthy curiosity and a willingness to try new things in order to uncover the true benefits of this classroom tool.

Also posted in clickers, Teaching and Learning | Comments Off on Professor Mark Courtright uses clickers for peer evaluation

Dr. Amy Hogan: Clickers for Attendance, Discussion and Testing (no Scantrons!)

Written by Lori Schachle second year Honors Fellow majoring in Public Administration, minoring in Communications, Leadership and Management.

Amy HoganDr. Amy Hogan, Assistant Professor of Psychology, has always been intrigued by technology’s role in learning. Her research interests include interface design, the interaction of language and technology, and the application of new research methodology. This semester, she was able to merge her interests with her passion for teaching through TLT’s Clicker Pilot Program. Amy is one of several clicker pioneers testing out various uses for clickers. I met with Dr. Hogan to find out more.

Why did you start to use clickers in the pilot program?

Dr. Hogan has always been interested in incorporating technology in the classroom. In her previous experiences with the older clicker system, she had found that they were challenging to setup. However, upon hearing about the TLT’s pilot program for newer and simpler clicker systems, she decided to try them out and see how she could coordinate this new technology with her current teaching style.

What are some of the specific ways you use clickers in class; you mentioned earlier tests and during lectures?

Dr. Hogan has been using the clickers in many ways for her psychology classes, from day-to-day attendance to multiple choice exams.
Posing a material-related question at the beginning of the class not only allows her to tally attendance based on responses, but to prepare the students for open discussion as well. Because the new clicker system gives her immediate results, Hogan can easily take attendance as the students begin to use the clicker question as a springboard for discussion.  Hogan also uses the clickers for formative assessment, in measuring whether or not students understand the material presented during class. “Often I’ll pose a question and if a lot of people are not really getting it, then I can use that as a tool to keep trying to get that material understood and I can come at if from different ways before moving on to the next topic,” she says. This technique, in conjunction with the discussions, allows her to engage students while ensuring that they fully understand the material. “It’s not just testing knowledge but also using it as a discussion tool to gauge if they’re really interacting with, and understanding, the material or not,” she explains.  Hogan has even been using the clickers in place of Scantrons. Though students still work through and answer questions on the paper version of the test as a backup, they submit their final answers via clickers. This allows Hogan to get immediate feedback and post the results as soon as the class finishes the exam.

In using the clickers to stimulate discussions in class, do you think this has changed your teaching style?

While the clickers haven’t changed her teaching style in terms of discussions, the new system does offer more opportunities for students to participate in a variety of ways. “The good thing about the clickers is that even the shy students can put their voice forward, especially if we’re talking about sensitive subjects,” she says. Hogan realized that only a few students consistently speak up in class, but with the addition of clickers, students who are more reluctant to speak in class can put forth opinions that otherwise might not have been brought up. This can lead to deeper discussions that expose students to a variety of opinions and show Hogan where students stand in terms of exploring the material critically and analytically. “It’s helped me have a more informed take on the room,” she notes.

What advice would you offer to other faculty who are interested in using clickers?

Hogan assures other faculty interested in using clickers that the new iClicker system is easy to set up and run, even for those who may not be as technologically-minded.  However, using the clickers effectively in class is a bit more of a challenge. “I realized that adding in the extra questions and gauging the room is taking more time than I anticipated,” she notes. She found that discussion questions, attendance questions, and covering certain topics in more depth have thrown off the schedule for material a little. To counteract this, Hogan had to ask more strategic questions that compel students to arrive at analytical conclusions faster.

Have there been any downsides to using the clickers? You mentioned that the technology was fairly easy, but have students been confused or frustrated with the new technology?

After the first exam in which she used clickers in place of the traditional Scantrons, Hogan was concerned that students might be frustrated or stressed by using the clickers to submit responses. After asking for feedback, Hogan found that an overwhelming majority of students had a positive response to the new clicker system. “The students said the clickers were easy to use, that they would like to use them for subsequent tests. They liked the fact that literally I close the poll and I have the results right there and then. I can post to Moodle within five minutes,” she explains.

Is there anything more about your experience with clickers that you’d like to let us know?

Hogan says that her experience with the clickers has been very positive. “There are definitely things I would change in subsequent semesters but it’s kind of part of the learning process, as in giving myself more time and thinking about the types of questions that can really get at deeper learning,” she says. Overall the use of clickers has enhanced her experience in the classroom and she would recommend them to any professor looking to integrate technology with an engaging teaching style.

Also posted in clickers, Teaching and Learning | Comments Off on Dr. Amy Hogan: Clickers for Attendance, Discussion and Testing (no Scantrons!)

Laptops in the Classroom: Are they a good or bad thing?

Are laptops and mobile devices helpful or harmful when used in the classroom?

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning (CATL) and Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT) held a discussion luncheon titled “Laptops in the Classroom” on Monday, October 8. Created to facilitate conversations among faculty about the use of laptops and other mobile devices in the classroom, CATL and TLT staff suggested strategies instructors could adopt in the classroom and encouraged feedback.

Continue reading »

Also posted in Elon, Elon University, Event, Google Apps, join.me, Laptops, Laptops in the Classroom, Mobile Devices, Moodle Wiki, Teaching and Learning, Technology, TLT | Tagged | Comments Off on Laptops in the Classroom: Are they a good or bad thing?

Technology Center Redesigned

Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) recently redesigned the Technology Center to create a more collaborative space. The Technology Center is located in Belk Library 115 and includes three distinct areas, two of which include large screen monitors.

The space deepens TLT’s mission of providing software, training, and consultative technology support to faculty and staff. TLT believes academic technology can significantly enhance teaching and learning when used in concert with the expertise, goals and strategies of committed faculty and staff, supported by a knowledgeable, informed, and dedicated technology staff.

The Technology Center is open to all faculty and staff for meetings or individual work.

TLT Technology Center is located in Belk Library 115.

This area has a large, collaborative table with two large screens, and seating for up to six people. Built into the table are six laptop connections, which allow users to control what is being displayed on the screens.

This area has comfortable, moveable furniture situated around a large screen with a computer and connection for a laptop.

This area is includes a Windows and Mac computer for individual work. A large format scanner and specialized software is available for use.

About the author

Scott Hildebrand serves as an Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies. In his role, he specializes in training and development. Scott helps facilitate workshops, events, and other opportunities that help faculty integrate the use of available and appropriate technologies that will enhance learning. His area of responsibility includes Elon’s course management system and summer online program, the elite Program (student technology assistants), and collaborating and partnering with other university departments to promote effective uses of educational technologies.

Also posted in Teaching and Learning | Comments Off on Technology Center Redesigned

Crystal Anderson: Reaping the benefits of blogging

Dr. Crystal Anderson, Associate Professor of English, publishes her research in a medium that many scholars avoid: A blog.

Anderson, who teaches classes in Asian film and literature, stumbled upon “Kpop,” or Korean popular music that is part of culture (“Hallyu,” a cultural movement) that strives to spread Korean culture throughout the globe through music, film and television. As she continued to explore Kpop, she found that there was no centralized place to get information. She launched her blog, Kpop Kollective, as both a vehicle for her research and as an online Kpop information hub that fosters collaboration.

So although Anderson’s blog is an untraditional way to publish her research, she has found many benefits to it, including:

A hybrid nature

What differentiates Anderson’s blog from other Kpop websites, she says, is its ability to combine both fun information and theoretical research, which has been approved by Elon’s Institutional Review Board.

“There’s nothing like it on the Internet,” Anderson says. “It’s not a fan club or a super academic, scholarly, theoretical approach that isn’t approachable for those consuming Korean popular culture. That’s why we want to emphasize the hybrid nature – it’s fun and serious.”

Anderson follows her “hybrid” approach by combining fan news with more complex discussion about Kpop’s impact on society. For example, a recent blog post by a KPK member focused on blonde Kpop stars. Since blonde hair does not naturally occur in Asian cultures, it is exotic, unusual and can represent rebellion, Anderson said. Blog posts like these generate intelligent discussion about Kpop trends.

A broad reach

Since people around the world are interested in Korean pop culture, Anderson feels that a blog is the perfect place to publish her research. She also knows that having an accessible blog will contribute to the reliable information about Kpop on the Internet.

“If the purpose of scholarship is to contribute to the body of knowledge so people can learn, this is the new way to do it,” Anderson says. “It makes academics approach what they do in a different way.”

Blog feedback is also instantaneous and public. Anderson and the other Kpop Kollective bloggers end up communicating with people all over the world.

“You find a larger community,” Anderson says. “I talk to people in Singapore and Australia.”

Allows collaboration

Though Anderson describes herself as something like a managing editor of Kpop Kollective, she stresses that she relies on others to create the final product.

“We have a lot of people with a lot of different skill sets,” Anderson says. “We take anyone who is passionate and committed.”

Kpop Kollective writers include Elon students, an academic librarian at the University of South Carolina and even a 15-year-old in California. The diversity of writers adds to the hybrid, dynamic nature of the blog.


For more information about Kpop research, contact Dr. Anderson at canderson14@elon.edu. For information about incorporating blogs into your classroom or research, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336-278-5006 or tlt@elon.edu.



Also posted in Teaching and Learning, Web 2.0 | Comments Off on Crystal Anderson: Reaping the benefits of blogging

This Week in Tweets

Happy Friday! In case you missed it, here’s what @elontechnology and @elonteaching have been tweeting this week. If you have yet to begin using Twitter, learn how to get started.

Also posted in social networking, Teaching and Learning, Twitter, Web 2.0 | Comments Off on This Week in Tweets

Getting started with Twitter


“Tweets” are short, 140-character messages that are sent out into cyberspace. Once you set up a Twitter account, you can Tweet as much or as little as you like and follow your friends, companies, news sources and more.

Terms that are helpful to know

  • Tweets: Twitter is the web site you are using to post messages; these messages are called “tweets”. So when you hear someone say that they’ve tweeted about something, or “Did you see my tweet?”, what they mean is that they’ve posted a message (tweet) on Twitter.
  • Following/Followers: The whole point of twitter is to share information with others. If you “follow” someone that means that you’ve subscribed to their twitter posts (when they post a tweet, you’ll see it). If someone is following you (they’ve subscribed to your twitter posts), they are one of your “followers”.
  • Twitter Stream: When you login to your twitter account, you’ll see messages from all of the people that you are following. This is your twitter stream. If you’re familiar with Facebook, this is akin to the Facebook “wall”.

Anatomy of a Tweet

Take a look at the picture below. This is a screenshot of a tweet that recently appeared on Elon’s Twitter stream. Since you are limited to posting 140 characters, Twitter has created ways to fit more information into less space!

  • Tweet Branding: In the example above, you see a picture of Elon’s mascot (the Phoenix) along with “ElonPhoenix” at the top of the tweet. So anyone can tell relatively quickly that this tweet was posted by ElonPhoenix… thus, successfully branding their tweets!
  • @username (e.g., @elonalumni): creates a link to that user in the post. So if you clicked on @elonalumni, you go to their user information. Putting @username in your tweet is called “tagging”. In the above post @elonalumni and @ElonPhoenix were tagged.
  • RT: Re-tweeting, or re-posting someone else’s tweet, is a good way to avoid recreating the wheel. It’s also good tweeting etiquette – never copy someone else’s tweet and post it as your own!
  • Shortened URLs (e.g., http://ow.ly/65o9E): You don’t want your 140 character limit taken up by a long web address! When you post a tweet with a long URL, Twitter may offer to shorten the URL for you.
  • #hashtag: Although the example above doesn’t include a “hashtag”, you will see #hashtags from time to time. Know that hashtags are great ways to categorize tweets. If you click on a hashtag (e.g., #technology), you’ll be taken to other tweets that have that tag as well. It’s a great way to find information quickly (or categorize your own tweets)!

Ok… Read­­y to Get Started?

  1. Create an Account: Go to http://twitter.com. You’ll see “New to Twitter” prominently on the screen. Fill out the required information to sign up. Twitter does a great job guiding you through the process. Be sure to add a picture or graphic so that you can take advantage of branding opportunities!
  2. Find People to Follow: Twitter will make recommendations for you to follow based upon your account information. Take a look at some of Twitter’s recommendations, or find some on your own by searching for names or topics. (Take a look at some of our suggestions below.)
  3. Tweet Away! You’re ready to start tweeting! What should you tweet about? That’s up to you! Many people will tell you to avoid things like “I just headed to the grocery store.” Ok, yes, that’s telling people what’s happening, but is it really all that interesting?! Think about how you want to use twitter. Twitter is much more than just a way to share what you are doing day-to-day – it’s a great way to share information that you’ve found that could be interesting to others. So, let’s say you just read a great article that you want to share with others – that’s a perfect tweet (e.g., “Thought-provoking article from @TechRepublic on Leadership Trends http://url.com”).

Recommended Higher Education Twitter Feeds to Follow

Finding people or organizations to follow isn’t as difficult as you may think. Twitter is no longer considered a new technology, thus many people/orgs have Twitter accounts. Think of colleagues that you admire or organizations that interest you. Search for them using Twitter’s search feature – chances are many of them will have Twitter accounts! Once you find a Twitter feed that you like, take a look at who they are following to get some more ideas. Here are a few to get you started:

  • @chronicle (Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • @educause (Educause)
  • @elonteaching (Elon Teaching and Learning — ok, shameless plug!)
  • @elontechnology (Elon Technology – another shameless plug!)
  • @GdnHigherEd (Guardian Higher Education Network)
  • @HuffPostCollege (Huffington Post – College Edition)


Also posted in social networking, Teaching and Learning, Twitter, Web 2.0 | Comments Off on Getting started with Twitter