After two years of piloting with faculty in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology, the Office of Information Technology has decided to standardize on eInstruction's "Classroom Performance System" (CPS) student response units, otherwise known as "clickers" (see www.einstruction.com).
Currently, about 10 faculty and 1,000 students use the CPS "clickers" to provide instant feedback to multiple choice questions posed in class, typically through an overhead slide or PowerPoint presentation displayed on a screen. The CPS software displays how many units have responded to a question and immediately summarizes the results for all to see. Each student's answers can also be uploaded to a Blackboard gradebook for the course.
For about $38 during their first semester (or $60 for use throughout their college career), students can purchase the hand-held units at the UMBC Bookstore and buy an activation code. The CPS response pads can be used for multiple courses and in any UMBC classroom with a computer and a free, USB installed radio-frequency (RF) receiver. OIT has equipped all lecture halls with CPS receivers, and instructors can get the CPS software, one receiver and one response unit from eInstruction free of charge.
This semester, OIT has been working with eInstruction to develop and support a wider rollout strategy, which will include a campus-wide demo by Biology Professor Phil Sokolove on Wednesday, April 18, at noon in Meyerhofff 120 (formerly Chemistry 120). Sokolove was the first UMBC faculty member to use CPS, and says he averages "about four clicker activities in 75 minutes" (to see an example, view his class which OIT tapes and publishes online for student review). Then, on Friday, April 27, at 1 p.m. in ECS 025, eInstruction's Marty Abrahamson will conduct a two-hour training workshop for faculty who want to use the CPS system in Fall 2007. To register for the 4/18 demo or 4/27 workshop, visit www.umbc.edu/brownbag (light refreshments will be provided to registered participants).
For more information, contact Steve Anderson (5-3680 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bob Armstrong (5-3885 or email@example.com). You can also visit the CPS Clickers "help sheet" on the Blackboard Help tab or http://www.umbc.edu/oit/newmedia/blackboard/cps/cps_online_2.html.