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This module outlines a four-step approach to formulating clicker questions and using clickers effectively in a classroom setting.

For clicker questions of the emphasized type, we believe it is best to usually follow the following steps:

Step a: question

Instructor poses the question, often with some remark about its purpose.

Step b: peer discussion

Students have time to think about the question individually (possibly answering individually with clicker), and then discuss the question in pairs or small groups (peer discussion). C.H. Crouch, J. Watkins, A.P. Fagen, and E. Mazur, “Peer Instruction: Engaging Students One-on-One, All At Once,” Research-Based Reform of University Physics, 1 (1) (2007); E. Mazur, Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual (Prentice Hall, NJ, 1997).

Step c: vote

Students submit answer using clicker.

Step d: whole-class discussion

Instructor and students have follow-up discussion, usually emphasizing the “why” of correct options and “why not” for incorrect options. The instructor should also make sure that any residual issues or student questions from the discussion are explicitly addressed before moving on.

Each of these steps plays important roles in students’ learning processes.

Step a: question

By posing a question to the students, several “good” things happen:

  1. Focuses students’ attention on (what you consider to be) the important ideas,
  2. Allows students to try applying ideas they just heard or read about,
  3. Allows students to build or make connections between ideas or representations,
  4. Gives students an opportunity to analyze a (new) situation or context, and
  5. Gets students thinking about how to ask questions (that is, it explicitly models the process of analyzing ideas or conclusions by asking questions and figuring out the answers).
  6. Prepares them to learn. Schwartz and Bransford D. Schwartz and J. Bransford, A time for telling, Cognition and Instruction, 16, 475 (1998). have shown that when a person tries to answer a question on a topic they do not know, even when they are quite unsuccessful in obtaining a correct answer, they subsequently learn much more from an explanation of the topic than if they hear the same explanation without preceding the explanation with a question they attempt to answer. This means a clicker question can be valuable when it precedes discussion of a topic.

When posing a question you might experiment with different ways of providing the answer choices. Often it can be good to have the students think about the answer before the answer options are revealed to them. This can discourage them from using test taking strategies to eliminate possible multiple choice options, rather than reasoning through the question as you intended. We have observed in some cases that not seeing the answer possibilities results in students using their notes and making more of an effort to connect the question to prior material. It can also be a good opportunity to make them practice drawing or diagramming something before presenting them with drawings to choose from. Also, listening to student discussions before possible answers are revealed can sometimes provide additional insights on student reasoning and/or confusion.

Questions & Answers

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At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
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Source:  OpenStax, Clicker resource guide. OpenStax CNX. Apr 11, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10724/1.2
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