Clickers: Student Response Systems Technology

Summary and Literature Review

Student Response Systems Technology, shortened to SRS technology, provides instructors with a way to enhance student participation. Clickers, the predominant “face” of SRS technology, is a hand-held remote control device that allows for anonymous responses to questions posed by the instructor. Using the remote device, students press a button that corresponds to their responses to a screen-projected multiple-choice question. The class distribution of responses are then displayed. Considerable research in the use of SRS has been done in economics, physics, and engineering. Current research mainly concentrates on student participation, student engagement, student course perceptions, and exam/assessment performance changes.

Studies providing evidence of the advantages of Clicker use show:

  • Improved student participation among all student types (Graham, Tripp, Seawright, & Joeckel, 2007; Stowell & Nelson, 2007),
  • Improved academic performance in large classrooms (Mayer et al., 2009),
  • Reliable assessments of student understanding—i.e., formative assessment (Kenwright, 2009; Stowell & Nelson, 2007),
  • Overall failure rate decreases (Mula & Kavanagh, 2009),
  • Overall attendance increases (Kenwright, 2009).

There are also studies providing evidence of no correlation between Clicker use and

  • summative assessment performance(Kenwright, 2009; Mayer, et al., 2009; Mula & Kavanagh, 2009),
  • engagement changes (Morling, McAuliffe, Cohen, & DiLorenzo, 2008).

Continued research is still needed to determine if Clickers combined with other active learning techniques have a greater impact on summative assessment performance. For a more detailed literature review, read Kay & LeSage, Examining the benefits and challenges of using audience response systems, and Mula and Kavanagh, Click Go the Students, Click-Click-Click.

The full bibliography for the above summary is referenced here.

[youtube V0QvsLZGSGM 445 364]

A beginner Clicker user, Sacramento State faculty member Dr. Jessica Howell (Economics) discusses her experience with setting up and using Clickers.


Class Size:
2 sections of 80

Meeting Place:
MRP 1001

Predominant Use:
Feedback on student understanding of lecture; insertion of humor; and homework preparation.

Cast Your Vote

Links to Further Help and Best Practices

Get Help. The ATCS at Sacramento State has several resources including a Clicker setup guide and FAQ site. Visit the ATCS Clickers site here. Sacramento State Faculty: Request a Free Professor Start Up Kit.

Best Practices. The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee’s Learning Technology Center provides several resources on understanding and using Clickers. For further information on using Clickers, visit UW SRS Project Guides and Manuals. For information on UW’s Best Practices, visit UW SRS Project Best Practices.

More Discussion. Derek Bruff, Assistant Director at the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and a senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt University has a dedicated blog on teaching with classroom response systems. Visit his blog here.



Showing 3 Responses

  1. Joël Dubois says:

    What a great site! Thanks for putting it together.

  2. Kimo Ah Yun says:

    I have used clickers for several years and have found them very useful in my large classes (over 100 students). Please come to the Center for Teaching and Learning (Library 4026) at Sacramento State if you would like a demonstration or simply want to talk about their effect of student engagement in the classroom.

  3. EunMi Cho says:

    I have used clickers only for conference presentations, not in classes with my students yet. My limited experience has been positive!

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