An E-Learning Consultant, Learning Technologist, and MOOC Project Manager. Also a lifelong learner and occasional reflector.

Crowdsource request: Using Personal Response Systems to record attendance

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We’re looking to hear from practitioners who have experience of and/or thoughts on using Personal Response Systems in support of attendance registers.  Have you piloted or implemented this?  Are you thinking of doing so? What are the challenges and solutions?  How have you gone about doing this?

A chance meeting (read: eavesdropping) with some Departmental Administrative staff led to a conversation about the challenges presented by recording mandatory lecture attendance of students in larger courses (100+). The challenges are that a paper-based approach is unreliable, duplicates recording and sharing activities, and disrupts lectures.

This prompted an unrehearsed elevator pitch on the merits of using Personal Response Systems / Clickers to quickly and efficiently record and store attendance records.  My pitch included the following workflow, advantages and rebuttals:

Workflow

Proposed workflow


Advantages
  • Technology is already in use at RHUL – short, shallow learning curve
  • Quick and easy to ‘sign in’ - utilises limited contact time well
  • Use supported formats – can be shared with colleagues and with other systems (e.g.,Registry)
  • Can be linked to Moodle activity – extending the use of the consolidated VLE/MLE

Rebuttals
  • Too expensive to provide handsets to students – not when compared to 9K a year fees.  By enough and the price could be as low as £20 a piece
  • Difficult to set-up – the clickers will have to be linked ONCE to their owners while a single PowerPoint file can be created, duplicated and shared as necessary
  • Students will lose them – people lose house keys, car keys and bank cards yet these persist
  • Not every room has a PC – AV supply clickers and clicker ready laptops, the larger venues are fully equipped
  • Students might ‘sign-in’ on behalf of absent colleagues – as they might do already on paper, a more challenging question may deter this, or to avoid fleeting visits have a question at the start and on at the end of a lecture

Can you add to these points?

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