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Using Interactive Audience Response Systems To Enrich Engineering Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade in Teaching I

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1329.1 - 15.1329.11



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Paper Authors

author page

Henry Louie Seattle University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Audience Response Systems to Enrich Engineering Education

Abstract Audience response systems are becoming increasingly popular in the collegiate classroom since they promote interactive learning, which can enrich and enhance the educational experience. When using such systems, each student is able to react to questions or activities prompted by the instructor by using a response device. The supporting hardware and software instantaneously records and displays the students’ responses, which can be used for a variety of pedagogic applications that benefit the class. Of particular interest to new engineering educators, this paper describes four pedagogic applications of audience response systems. These applications include using the audience response system to: become familiar with students by conducting surveys of their preferences; obtain and respond to students’ perception of teaching style by collecting formative feedback on teaching; monitor and adapt to student mastery of subject matter through the formative assessment of student learning; and to teach new subject matter using interactive learning. Examples, reflections and best practices based on current literature and the author’s experiences as a new engineering educator in each application are provided. 1. Introduction Contemporary studies have demonstrated that active learning methods can increase the mastering of subject matter by students as compared to the traditional passive lecturing method 1–4 . Active learning covers a wide spectrum of activities with the common characteristic that the students individually, in groups or as a whole are involved in an activity that requires them to work with the subject matter being taught 2. An active learning enabling technology that is being increasingly utilized is the Audience Response System (ARS). ARS are also known as electronic voting systems, interactive voting systems and by other generic and trade names. The ARS facilitates a bi-directional learning experience by allowing each student—even in class sizes of one hundred or more—to respond to a prompt, while allowing the instructor to react to their aggregate responses. The pedagogic applications of ARS are many and include: performing formative and summative assessment on learning, soliciting formative feedback on teaching, assessing peers, building community mutual awareness, conducting experiments, initiating discussion and facilitating interactive learning of new subject matter 5,6 . Studies on the efficacy and best practices of the use of ARS in the classroom indicate that, in general, there is a net benefit associated with the use of ARS 6,7 . The documented benefits include: increased attendance, higher retention levels (within the same course), improved alertness and a higher level of student engagement. Research on the effects of ARS use on test scores is on-going, but the current research shows that test scores improve or are unaffected by the use of ARS 3,6,7 . In addition, students tend to enjoy the ARS-integrated course. Drawbacks to using the ARS include the decreased time spent to cover new content; the cost of the ARS; and the effort and time required to manage the ARS and supporting equipment 6. Furthermore, the students may feel indignant if the ARS is used excessively or improperly.

Louie, H. (2010, June), Using Interactive Audience Response Systems To Enrich Engineering Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16582

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