Clicker Pedagogy

Audience response systems or Clickers are devices or phone apps that can change the class dynamics, allowing the tutor to hear from the whole group (rather than just the loud or confident students), to encourage ‘deeper’ learning (through peer instruction) and provide speedy, reliable feedback for both tutor and students about group and individual. Bruff (2012) and Beatty (2010) provide helpful frameworks that can help you design and run small group teaching in small, medium and large groups. Whenever you introduce a new technique or process into the classroom it is important that the reason for using it is thoroughly explained and expectations are communicated.


Whilst most of the research into the use of clickers and associated technologies have taken place in STEM subjects there is also a place for their use in the Social Sciences. For those interested in seeing Clickers explained please access one or more of the following videos produced by the University of Colorado at Boulder:



Snapshot of a MOOC #1

The 1st of June marked the end of the School of Government and Society‘s, first MOOC – Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics and 5 months work. This was the University of Birmingham’s sixth MOOC in partnership with FutureLearn.

Below is a snapshot of a typical content page.


Enquiry-based Learning Roles & Responsibilities

Student roles (FAQ Sheet) can transform EBL / IBL activities whether designed for online or face to face delivery.

————– Student Advice Page Starts Here ————–


During each EBL task, all group members are assigned different “group working” roles. These roles are designed to help the group function efficiently and effectively.

  • Make sure that you are clear about the responsibilities of the role(s) you are asked to undertake.
  • If you are unable to engage with your group for any reason (illness, holiday, workload, family emergency etc) please post a message on your group bulletin board (where possible). This should be posted at the start and finish of any period when you are not available.


  • Ensure that all group members have agreed on how the EBL task will run
  • Coordinates and posts meeting dates and agenda
  • Chairs meetings whether face to face or online
  • Keeps task on track
  • Helps to ensure everyone is involved and has a task to do
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the task and scenario
  • To participate in the group discussion and research
  • To make minutes of meetings by structuring points in regards to
    • strategies chosen
    • ideas and issues
  • Post the minutes of all meetings to online
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the task and scenario
  • To participate in the group discussion and research
Critical Thinking Checker
  • Distinguish between verifiable facts and value claims
  • Encourage the use of Harvard Referencing and encourage use of reliable sources
  • Identify unstated assumptions, ambiguous claims or arguments
  • Determine strength of an argument
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the task and scenario
  • To participate in the group discussion and research
Group Management Liaison
  • Identifies problems within the group and suggest solutions
  • Encourages everyone to participate
  • Proposes improvements, solutions and insight to encourage effective group working
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the task and scenario
  • To participate in the group discussion and research
Time Keeper
  • Coordinate and post workload and action planning documents online
  • Responsible for posting reminders / alerting team members of task schedules
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the task and scenario
  • To participate in the group discussion and research
  • Responsible for coordination of the all task drafts
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the task and scenario
  • To participate in the group discussion and research

Further Reading

Discussion as a Way of Teaching Brookfield, S and Preskill, S (1999), Buckingham : Open University Press, p. 91.

Using role-play activity with synchronous CMC Pilkington, R and Kumenek, P (2004) in ICT for Curriculum Enhancement, Monteith, M (ed.), Bristol : Intellect Books

Quote of the Day

“it is only in a complex dance between technologies and pedagogies that quality distance education emerges. The technology sets the beat and the timing. The pedagogy defines the moves.  Both the design and the technology morph in response to developments or changes in theory and technological affordances. Further, the creative energy and context created by the participants also effects the dance. As any change occurs, the dance is thrown out of synchronization and all parties adjust their activities and their plans to return to the creative flow of the dance. ”

Anderson, T. (2009). The dance of technology and pedagogy in self-paced distance education. Paper presented at the 17th ICDE World Congress, Maastricht. [Online]

Lecture Capture Pedagogy


Webinar: Wednesday 18 January – time: 11.30-1pm* (UK time)

Sylvia Moes, Project Manager and Innovation Manager in Media at VU University Amsterdam, has worked on a two-year investigation into the use of lecture capture in the Netherlands and Belgium. This webinar will review the results of that ground-breaking project and what we in the ViTAL community can learn from it.

The link for the ViTAL webinar recording is:

Learning Objectives

  • Explore different models of Web lectures and their affordances for teaching and learning

Key Ideas

An interesting Webinar that reported on three projects within the umbrella of REC:all undertaken across many HE institutions in the Netherlands. Projects included:

  1. Live Feedback
  2. Enriched Online Lectures
  3. Instructional Web lectures

These equate to an example from each side of the Weblecture Plant (right).

  • Interaction is helpful especially where it is linked to short tests and feedback (example 1)
  • Often students use these recordings to prepare for exams
  • Can save teacher time with feedback but at the same time provide goof, fast feedback to students resulting in higher satisfaction and pass rates (example 1)
  • Helps motivation and caters for a wide range of learning styles (example 2)
  • Links directly to additional resources such as course readings and related websites and videos (example 2)
  • Works better as an integrated whole package rather than a click in and out rather random (constrained by the iVLE being used)  (example 2)
  • Instructional weblectures are great for getting across subjects like SPSS allowing staff to build up knowledge archives or take advantage of the numerous ones already created and available within an institution or via YouTube (example 3)

Action Plan

Clicker Pedagogy

Clickers or Personal Response Systems (PRS) are a wireless system that allows you to capture your student’s responses to questions you pose in lectures anonymously. The following resources will help you create good quality questions  and associated learning opportunities.

Clicker Resources

A really useful compilation of resources. A good place to start once you’ve watched the videos (below).

Clicker Resource Guide An Instructors Guide to the Eective Use of  Personal Response Systems (Clickers) in Teaching

“This guide was written to help instructors understand the answers to these questions, and to help them use personal response systems (“clickers”) in their classes in the most comfortable and pedagogically effective manner. The authors are involved in the Science Education Initiative at the University of Colorado and the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia.”

Writing Good Clicker Questions

This page provides a summary of suggestions for writing effective clicker questions result from iClicker webinar.