Clicking through History

In Ann Blair's gen ed course, "Reason and Faith in the West," students use clickers to share their religious backgrounds and to review for exams.

On the last day of class, the students use clickers to choose various self-identifications about their religious backgrounds and views on science and religion. Questions include, "Did you receive religious instruction?" and "Where do you see yourself fitting on this spectrum of positions? Militant Atheist, Agnostic, Liberal Theology/Deist, Neo-Orthodox Theist, Evangelical, and Militant Evangelical/Creationist." The purpose of the activity is to show the students the diversity of positions in the classroom and to answer the curiosity many students have articulated about the religious views and backgrounds of their classmates. The clickers allow the students to remain anonymous and see the breakdown of responses among their classmates. After answering the questions, the class discusses the results.

Professor Blair also uses clickers for the final review session. Before the session, the professor prepares a powerpoint with mock exam questions and multiple choice answers. Many of the questions are term identifications and quotation ID's. By using clickers, the students can practice answering short exam questions and see that the right answer is generally the most popular answer in the class (i.e. the question is not impossible.)

Formulating the questions to answer by clicker is key to the success of the exercise. Know ahead of time what you want to discuss and to formulate questions accordingly.

See below for handouts and slides from the two activities. 

clicker_questions.pdf31 KB
conversations_with_galileo.pdf96 KB
final_review_clicker_questions.pdf18 KB