Teaching Effectiveness: Goal 5


Incorporate new technology into courses.

I do not consider myself a technophile. My 10-year old daughter has to remind me to close my open windows on my ipad and my 13-year old daughter chides me for not updating to the latest iphone version. However, I do know that millennials were raised to appreciate and use technology in their everyday lives. WSU is a dual device campus that has invested heavily in technology and the support of it. On the first day of class I remind students that they are paying for technology and we will embrace it at every turn when appropriate. I remind them to please use their laptop in class and download the chapter note templates from D2L to take notes during lecture. Recently, I have worked with Mary Bohman in TLT in experimenting with two specific response software technologies: Plickers and Top Hat.

I have used both technologies in entry level business classes with mainly freshmen. I incorporated both technologies for students and business community leaders to participate in the lectures in class and aboard the Cal Fremling. Because young students are hesitant to answer questions aloud, incorporating response software is a low-stakes way to encourage participation.


Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.” Students are given aj half-sheet of paper that displays an image similar to a large QR code. It’s used as a quick check for knowledge. After talking with TLT we found this tool to be (a) simple and (b) interactive and (c) fun.

The professor logs on to www.plickers.com and creates a new class. From there, I create questions that can be answered multiple choice-style.


I display the question in the software and ask participants to answer A, B, C or D. Each side of the Plickers card represents a unique A, B, C or D answer. Students turn the card to the appropriate answer, as seen below in these series of photos.

BUSA 270 students holding up their Plickers card in answer to a question about the lecture aboard the Cal Fremling – Fall 2015




22334586790_2fc76ab3f8_o  Even local business leaders can join in since there is no special software needed–just a Plickers card provided by the professor. 

After everyone has raised their Plickers card, the professor scans the room with a mobile device: ipad or iphone.


As the device scans the room, the answers are displayed in real time on the screen behind the professor for the class to see:


We piloted this in BUSA 270 before and after the Cal Fremling trip in Fall 2015. I will definitely use it again in that class.


Top Hat is a teaching platform that helps professors engage their students inside and outside the classroom.” The difference between Plickers and Top Hat is the sophistication and wifi requirements. A professor can do more with Top Hat, but it requires connectivity. In Fall 2014 I worked with Mary Bohman to incorporate Top Hat into the lecture for students and business leaders. Participants login into Top Hat using a specific IP address for the class using their smartphone, ipad or laptop. As the questions are displayed, participants engage with the question using the Top Hat software hosted on the cloud. Results are displayed in real-time.

Participants are given a code and phone number to log into the application. I built it directly into the PowerPoint lecture. Anyone can participate, even those not affiliated with WSU.


Here’s a screen shot of a question created in the Top Hat application:


I created a lecture for Ch 15 to be presented aboard the Cal Fremling. This is what it looks like on the slide to ask question 5. This is how I know to switch to Top Hat.


Students answer the question and then I switch to the slide with a more robust answer, explanation and visual.


Unfortunately, while aboard the Cal Fremling in Fall 2014, the wireless was sporadic along the Mississippi which prevented participants from entering the course. This is why I switched to Plickers the following year.


Incorporate new technology into courses.


Goal 6

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