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Writing Effective Clicker Questions

Writing Good Clicker Questions
Successful use of clickers turns on the skillful use of good questions. Clicker question types include:

- content questions asking for recall of information
- conceptual questions seeking evidence of understanding
- application questions
- critical thinking questions, and
- free-response questions.

One of the most interesting aspects to emerge from the use of clickers has to do with the flexibility of the multiple choice question to stimulate thinking and learning.   "A really good teacher can write really good wrong answers to a question," notes Derek Bruff, SRS advocate at Vanderbilt University.  "I really like it when 40-60% of my students to get a tough question wrong. And I'd like them to be split between a right choice and several wrong choices, because then that means I have tapped into some misconceptions that are fairly common and need to be addressed and the question is hard enough to be worth talking about."

For advice on writing effective questions (esp. multiple choice, true-false) please see Writing Quizzes, Tests & Exams (Instructional Development website). 

See also the attached discussion paper (below): Clicker Questions Design and Examples, by Bola King, Department of English, UCSB (Sumer 2009).

Derek Bruff (2009). Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creative Active Learning Environments. Jossey-Bass.   TOMORROW'S PROFESSOR(sm) eMAIL NEWSLETTER, May 26, 2009.  TP Msg. #950 Clickers.  Information and archives at: http://ctl.stanford.edu/Tomprof/index.shtml

For general advice, media reports, books on clickers and discipline-specific articles, see: Bruff's Classroom Response Systems Bibliography (Vanderbilt University) .

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