Student Response Activities

Increase engagement, check student understanding, and stimulate discussion in large classrooms with student response activities.

Student response activities can trigger discussions and are particularly effective when students can engage in peer learning by discussing questions with classmates.

At Arts ISIT, we have developed resources to help you apply student response activities to your classes at UBC. Contact us for consultation and support with learning technology strategies and tools for student response activities.

Student response systems

Student Response Systems (SRS) promote student engagement in class and learning outcomes inside and outside the classroom. They can be used in large classes to promote active learning by allowing students to check their knowledge and get real-time feedback.

Student Response Systems are a set of tools that can help facilitate active learning and increased interaction in face-to-face classes. They provide an automated way for you to ask a question to your entire class and immediately collect and view responses.

While student response systems can take attendance or administer short quizzes efficiently, they are most effective in facilitating active engagement with key course concepts and encouraging interactions between students and the instructor.

  1. Questions can be projected on an overhead screen or to students’ computers or handheld devices. All SRS systems allow multiple-choice responses; some allow a much wider range of numerical, algebraic, text, and graphical input.
  2. Students use their computers or devices to respond individually to the question.
  3. Individual student responses are collected through a web application or the software on an instructor’s computer, and the results are instantaneously presented in summarized form to the class on the overhead screen.
  4. The instructor can then show the various answers, discuss the thinking that leads to correct answers and allow the students to discuss the results with partners or small groups. Some SRS systems facilitate the grouping of students for peer discussion.

Studies have shown that the use of Student Response Systems in lecture classes can improve learning by:

  • Increasing opportunities for instructors and students to get prompt feedback on how well important concepts are understood
  • Facilitating increased interaction between instructors and students and encouraging peer discussion
  • Facilitating the shift in instruction to more active learning strategies

In classes where instructors introduce these systems, attendance often increases, and students typically report higher levels of attention and engagement. Student Response Systems also allow instructors to customize their lessons for each learning group based on the feedback from question results.

Like any technology or teaching approach, the success of classroom response activities depends on how the instructor designs, implements and the degree to which they are integrated into the overall course design and assessment strategies.

To help achieve the greatest benefit, instructors must learn to write effective questions connected to key learning outcomes and incorporate opportunities for discussion and student activities to generate responses through techniques such as peer instruction.

Related tools

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