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 the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning to learn more about your options for using polling in class.

How do I create a TurningTechnologies account?

TurningPoint now requires users to create a TurningTechnologies account to log in to, and use, the TurningPoint software. This is a free account that can created by going to the TurningTechnologies website and selecting “Sign In”


Follow the prompts to create your TurningTechnologies account.

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 8 software for both Mac and PC can be downloaded from this page: TuringPoint Software.

The software is also available through the downloads section of your TurningTechnologies account page.

An alternative to using TurningPoint in PowerPoint is TurningPoint Anywhere that runs independently from PowerPoint and has served as a solution for Mac users wanting to use Keynote. TurningPoint Anywhere also allows users to run polls over any content they like.  The TurningPoint Anywhere software is included with the TurningPoint Software


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

How do I update the TurningPoint software?

To update the TurningPoint 8 Software follow the steps below depending upon your operating system.  If you have an older version of TurningPoint or do not already have TurningPoint 8 installed on your computer, the software can be downloaded here.

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.

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