2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


GREER, Lisa, Department of Geosciences, Penn State Univ, 402 Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802, HEANEY, Peter J., Department of Geosciences, Penn State Univ, 309 Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802 and HOUSEMAN, Dustin, Instrumentation Devlopment Team, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, CSTE-DTC-AT-TC-I, 400 Colleran Road, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD 21005-5059, lgreer@geosc.psu.edu

It is often difficult to gauge student involvement, interest, and level of comprehension in a large classroom setting. Electronic student response systems can be efficient and highly effective vehicles for faculty assessment of student learning in the classroom. In Spring 2002 the electronic Classroom Performance System (manufactured by eInstruction) was incorporated in Geosc 20: Planet Earth, a general education course with ~300 students. Both formal and informal assessments of the pedagogical effectiveness of this technology are in progress.

The Classroom Performance System (CPS) is a wireless system that calculates student responses to questions posed in class by an instructor. Students discuss a given question in peer groups and respond using a remote transmitter that is programmed with an individual student identification code. Student response data are then calculated and displayed in the classroom using a standard LCD projector. This allows the instructor to gauge student understanding of a given topic in real time.

Preliminary assessment of the CPS system and associated teaching and learning techniques consists of a 30-question student survey, daily course attendance data, and informal feedback from over 25 Penn State faculty and administrators who have visited the classroom. Of the 200 students who completed the survey, 65% agreed (13% disagreed) that the CPS system helped to gauge their level of understanding of course material. Approximately 75% of the students agreed (10% disagreed) that the CPS system reinforced important concepts presented in lecture. Over 80% of those surveyed were ‘moderately’ to ‘completely’ satisfied with the system during the first semester of classroom use. A significant (60-70%) majority of the students recommend the use of CPS technology in Geosc 20 and other courses offered at Penn State.

Lecture attendance rates increased dramatically in Spring 2002. In past semesters attendance has reportedly been as low as 50% at mid-semester. Mean attendance in Spring 2002 was ~81%. Our surveys indicate that a majority of students feel the integration of response system technology into class lecture increased course content and facilitated higher order learning during class time.