Getting Started with Classroom Response Systems

Why use a Classroom Response System?

Students using clickers
  • Figure out the pulse of the class, especially in large courses
  • Increase participation from a range of students, especially those who are less inclined to speak in class
  • Get feedback from students on sensitive topics or discussions (can be anonymous)
  • Provide low-stakes assessment of learning before the real quiz or test
  • Provide low-stakes assessment of learning before, during, and after class lectures or activities.
  • Improve engagement after 15-20 minutes of lecture
  • Promote deeper learning by having students challenge each other
  • Real-time and immediate feedback allows quick correction and explanation of concepts
  • Interactive tool that keeps students engaged


  • Use at the start of each lecture to check for reading or prior knowledge and prime learning
  • Check for prevalence of particular misconceptions
  • Pose a question to make a prediction regarding class material
  • Use Peer learning (Vote; turn to your neighbor; explain/defend position; re-vote; group discussion of the merits/limitations of the last standing answers)
  • End each lecture period by recapping, summarizing, or informally testing for comprehension
  • Make a competition or game-based activity of responses
  • Embed PollEverywhere into Powerpoint presentations for instant surveys
  • Ask for a six word summary or thesis on topic being covered to check understanding and encourage further discussion
  • Create Q & A poll in which students can enter questions they might have concerning topic or upcoming exam/quiz

Clarify how many Points will be associated with the Classroom Response System. Typically CRS participation accounts for 5% of the overall grade or a portion of the participation grade. Some faculty provide .8 point for responding and .2 point if they get it right.

Remember Accessibility Concerns! Use a different method for timed quizzing We strongly recommend the use of moodle or another way to distribute timed quizzes. Many of our students require extended time for accessibility reasons.

Our campus pilot data across many courses demonstrated anxiety was high for students who were asked to use Classroom Response Systems for quizzing, even when not an accessibility concern, diminishing their learning value.

Plan for Technology Glitches! If software fails, cancel CRS points for that day Form a regular habit to back-up CRS data.

Want help getting started? Want to brainstorm how to use these tools in your classroom? 

More Resources:

Classroom Response Systems/Vanderbilt University

Clicker Resources (University of British Columbia)