Student response systems and learner engagement in large classes

Heaslip, G. and Donovan, P. and Cullen, J. G. (2014) Student response systems and learner engagement in large classes. Active Learning in Higher Education, 15 (1). pp. 11-24. ISSN 14697874 (ISSN)

[img] Text
Heaslip et al 2014 Active Learning in Higher Education-2014-Heaslip-11-24.pdf

Download (769kB)
Official URL:


The use of student response systems is becoming more prevalent in higher level education. Evidence on the effectiveness of this technology can be an important resource for tutors seeking to engage with learners and raise the quality of learning experiences. Student response systems have been found to increase student engagement and participation in the classroom, yet few studies examine why this is so. This research seeks to explore the effects of student response systems on student participation in large classes. The methods used included both quantitative and qualitative data. A pre-test/mid-test/post-test design (quantitative approach) was deployed to examine the effects of a classroom response system on interactivity. Students involved in a final year undergraduate business course took part in investigating the use of student response systems from the student perspective. Qualitative data were collected to identify the strengths and weaknesses of using a classroom response system to enhance classroom interaction through semi-structured interviews. This research builds on previous studies by investigating why students become more participatory, interactive and engaged during learning sessions which utilise student response systems. Implications for teaching practice are discussed, and avenues for future research on student response systems and student engagement in large class scenarios are outlined. © The Author(s) 2013.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Cited By :2; Export Date: 23 February 2015; Correspondence Address: Heaslip, G.; Department of Management, School of Business, North Campus, NUI Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland; email:; References: Astin, A.W., (1975) Preventing Students from Dropping Out, , San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; Astin, A.W., Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education (1984) Journal of College Student Personnel, 25 (4), pp. 297-307; Bannan-Ritland, B., Computer-mediated communication, eLearning, and interactivity: A review of the research (2002) Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3 (2), pp. 161-179; Beekes, W., The 'Millionaire' method for encouraging participation (2006) Active Learning in Higher Education, 7 (1), pp. 25-36; Bergtrom, G., Clicker sets as learning objects (2006) Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2. ,, Available at, (2010, accessed 9 May 2010); Bippus, A.M., Young, S.L., What behaviours reflect involvement in a course? Students' perceptions and differences between high and low communication apprehensive (2000) Communication Research Reports, 17 (2), pp. 310-319; Caldwell, J.E., Clickers in the large classroom: Current research and best-practice tips (2007) CBE-Life Sciences Education, 6 (1), pp. 9-20; Chou, C., Interactivity and interactive functions in web-based learning systems: A technical framework for designers (2003) British Journal of Education Technology, 34 (3), pp. 265-279; (2008) The Cooperative Institutional Research Program Freshman Survey, ,, CIRP and HERI, Available at, (2010, accessed 27 July 2010); Cullen, J.G., The writing skills course as an introduction to critical practice for larger business undergraduate classes (2011) International Journal of Management Education, 9 (4), pp. 25-38; Cutler, A., Creeping passivity (2007) Journal of College Science Teaching, 36, pp. 6-7; Dancer, D., Kamvounias, P., Student involvement in assessment: A project designed to assess class participation fairly and reliably (2005) Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30 (4), pp. 445-454; Davis, F., Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and user acceptance of information technology (1989) MIS Quarterly, 13 (3), pp. 319-340; Davis, F., Bagozzi, R.P., Warshaw, P.R., User acceptance of computer technology: A comparison of two theoretical models (1989) Management Science, 35 (8), pp. 982-1003; Davis, S., Observations in classrooms using a network of handheld devices (2003) Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19 (3), pp. 298-330; Draper, S.W., Brown, M.I., Increasing interactivity in lectures using an electronic voting system (2004) Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20 (2), pp. 81-94; Elliott, C., Using a personal response system in economics teaching (2003) International Review of Economics Education, 1 (1), pp. 80-86; Flanagan, J.C., The critical incident technique (1954) Psychological Bulletin, 51 (4), pp. 327-359; Flynn, S., Points race back as CAO offers show rise in early standards (2010) The Irish Times, p. 1; Graham, C.R., Tripp, T.R., Seawright, L., Empowering or compelling reluctant participators using Audience Response Systems (2007) Active Learning in Higher Education, 8 (3), pp. 233-258; Judson, E., Sawada, D., Learning from the past and present: Electronic response systems in college lecture halls (2002) Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 21 (2), pp. 167-181; Kay, R.H., LeSage, A., Examining the benefits and challenges of using audience response system: A review of the literature (2009) Computers & Education, 53 (3), pp. 819-827; Keough, S.M., Clickers in the classroom: A review and a replication (2012) Journal of Management Education, 36 (6), pp. 822-847; Kuh, G.D., Assessing what really matters to student learning: Inside the National Survey of Student Engagement (2001) Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 33 (3), pp. 10-17; Latessa, R., Mouw, D., Use of audience response system to augment interactive learning (2005) Family Medicine, 37 (1), pp. 12-14; (2002) From promise to progress: How colleges and universities are using student engagement results to improve collegiate quality, , National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Annual Report, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, December; Nunnally, J., (1978) Psychometric Theory, , New York: McGraw-Hill; Preszler, R.W., Dawe, A., Shuster, C.B., Assessment of the effects of student response systems on student learning and attitudes over a broad range of biology courses (2007) CBE-Life Sciences Education, 6 (1), pp. 29-41; Roblyer, M.D., Wiencke, W.R., Design and use of a rubric to assess and encourage interactive qualities in distance courses (2003) American Journal of Distance Education, 17 (2), pp. 77-98; Rocca, K.A., Student participation in the college classroom: An extended multidisciplinary literature review (2010) Communication Education, 59 (2), pp. 185-213; Roschelle, J., Penuel, W.R., Abrahamson, L., The networked classroom (2004) Educational Leadership, 61 (5), pp. 50-54; Salemi, M.K., Clickenomics: Using a classroom response system to increase student engagement in a large-enrollment principles of economics course (2009) Journal of Economic Education, 40 (4), pp. 385-404; Siau, K., Sheng, H., Nah, F., Use of a classroom response system to enhance classroom interactivity (2006) IEEE Transactions on Education, 49 (3), pp. 398-403; Simpson, V., Oliver, M., Electronic voting systems for lectures then and now: A comparison of research and practice (2007) Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23 (2), pp. 187-208; Sims, R., Promises of interactivity: Aligning learner perceptions and expectations with strategies for flexible and online learning (2003) Distance Education, 24 (1), pp. 87-103; Stuart, S.A., Brown, M.J., Draper, S.W., Using an electronic voting system in logic lectures: One practitioner's application (2004) Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20 (2), pp. 95-102; Usher, A., Cervenan, (2005), Toronto, ON, Canada: Educational Policy InstituteWentling, T.L., Park, J., Peiper, C., Learning gains associated with annotation and communication software designed for large undergraduate classes (2007) Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23 (1), pp. 36-46; Wolf-Wendel, L., Ward, K., Kinzie, J., A tangled web of terms: The overlap and unique contribution of involvement, engagement, and integration to understanding college student success (2009) Journal of College Student Development, 50 (4), pp. 407-428; Zepke, N., Leach, L., Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action (2010) Active Learning in Higher Education, 11 (3), pp. 167-177
Uncontrolled Keywords: classroom interactivity; clickers; student engagement; student response system
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 17:30
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2015 17:34

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year