Faculty Clicker FAQs

What are clickers?

Clickers are more formally known as Personal Response Systems.

The system enables instructors to create special PowerPoint slides with multiple choice questions. Students answer the questions using wireless handheld keypads. The answers are recorded by a small USB receiver plugged into the instructor’s computer and displayed on the next slide.

Where do students check out a clicker?

Yale College students enrolled in classes using clickers may checked them out from the Bass Library circulation desk. The circulation desk is open Mon-Thurs 8:30 am – 11:45 pm, Friday 8:30 am – 9:45 pm, Saturday 10 am – 6:45 pm, Sun Noon – 11:45 pm.

How are faculty using clickers?

Faculty commonly use clickers to gauge students’ comprehension of topics during lectures and to incorporate interactivity to large lecture sections. Here are some more specific examples:

  • Margaret Clark and Marvin Chun in the Department of Psychology use the system to have students anonymously respond to questions about relationships and other concepts. Students make predictions and test psychological theories based on the responses.
  • Jeff Kenney in the Department of Astronomy asks questions requiring students to exercise quantitative reasoning during his lectures. He also writes clicker questions focused on problem areas identified in the students’ homework quizzes to make sure those areas get proper attention in class.
  • Allyson Polsky-McCabe in the Department of English asks questions which students answer anonymously to stimulate class discussion in her introductory writing class.
  • John Concato in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics uses clickers in public health debate sessions allowing students to vote for the most compelling argument.

How much time and effort are required?

Out of Class

The clicker software is integrated into PowerPoint which makes generating polling slides simple. What takes the most effort is writing good questions. High quality, multiple choice questions will generate good distribution of responses across various answer options the first time students see the questions. This means that the correct answer isn’t obvious and all (or most) of the distractors are plausible.

In Class

Most instructors who use clickers ask 3-5 questions per lecture. Depending whether you encourage your students to discuss the questions before or after polling, or if there is protracted computation or reasoning required to answer the questions, each question can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes of class time. Some professors have introduced online materials or activities to make up for the loss of class time.

I’m interested. How do I get started?

Contact John Hartford.

Where do I obtain the software?

Turning Technologies offers free software called TuringPoint which is a PowerPoint add-in that allows for real-time polling.

The latest TurningPoint 5 software for both Mac and PC can be downloaded from this page: TuringPoint Software.

An alternative to TurningPoint is TurringPoint Anywhere that runs independently from PowerPoint and has served as a solution for Mac users wanting to use Keynote.  The TurningPoint Anywhere software can be downloaded from this page: TurningPoint Anywhere Software.PresenterCard

In an effort to ease polling navigation, consider using Turning Technologies’ new remote called PresenterCard that allows presenters to control TurningPoint and TurningPoint Anywhere polling software. The cards provide presenters the ability to start/stop polling, hide/show results, and advance slides in either PowerPoint or Keynote.  Three additional buttons can be customized for other common functions such as displaying the countdown timer, re-polling a slide, or displaying/hiding the tool bar.

More details on the PresenterCard can be found here. For help on configuring and using the PresenterCard, please see the following page: Using the PresenterCard.

For more information on how to obtain a PresenterCard, please email itgyale.edu.

TuringPoint documentation can be found on this page: TurningPoint Documentation.

How do I update the TurningPoint software?

To update the TurningPoint 5 Software follow the steps below depending upon your operating system.  If you have an older version of TurningPoint or do not already have TurningPoint 5 installed on your computer, the software can be downloadedhere.

Updating TurningPoint Software On Mac

  1. Launch TurningPoint Application.
  2. From the TurningPoint menu, select Check for Updates…
  3. If an update is available, click the Install Update button.
  4. To have TurningPoint automatically update, go to preferences and check the Automatically Check for Updates box in the software section.

Updating TurningPoint Software On Windows

  1. Launch the TurningPoint Application.
  2. Find the TurningPoint logo at the bottom of dashboard and click.
  3. When the about TurningPoint window appears, select the Check For Updates… button.
  4. If an update is available, you will be prompted to install the update.

    Note: You can choose to automatically check for updates by checking the box in the lower left- hand of the window.

Does ITG offer alternative clickers/software?

There are many vendors that provide personal response systems. Publishers frequently package clickers with textbooks. Additionally, SMS text-based applications using students’ mobile phones instead of clickers are entering the market. Currently, ITG only supports TurningTechnology products. However, we are available to help faculty evaluate their pedagogical requirements and consider which technological options might best fulfill those requirements.

For additional information, please contact John Hartford.