Clickers force students to be more accountable
By Bailey McGowan
Posted January 25, 2011
Posted January 25, 2011
When a student begins the adventure of college, he or she will hear many different pieces of advice: Go to class. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Study.
Some universities are making it practically impossible to avoid those pieces of advice.
Universities across the nation are using a clicker system to record students' timeliness, administer quizzes and alert professors virtually when students have a question, all while registering the information on a computer for easy recall if a dispute were to occur.
Sounds a bit like accountability and convenience mixed with overbearing, right?
At TCU, some students are required to purchase an iClicker for certain classes. As far as one can tell, the clickers are only used for quizzes and not attendance or in-class questions. The U.S. House of Representatives uses a similar system with clickers to check members in and calculate votes throughout meetings.
The idea that professors would be able to tell exactly when a student arrived to class, if he or she went at all, seems a bit over the top.
A real moment of maturity occurs when students take on the responsibility of attending class because they realize it is what's best, not because they are forced to do so. If getting away with skipping class because of an electronic clicker is the motivating factor for going in the first place, then bring on the clickers.
TCU students pay upwards of $40,000 a year in tuition. They also graduate with plenty of networking opportunities and a top-notch education. That should be reason enough to attend class and treat one's education as a responsibility. If a student can't make that shift, he or she probably won't have the discipline to finish his or her work anyway.
Yes, the idea that if he or she were running late one day and didn't make it there at the top of the hour may be ridiculous. That fact, however, may make it easier to find the motivation to get out of bed.
There will always be ways to get around a system, no matter how well-planned the system may seem. Students at Northwestern University tried to send their clickers to class with a friend and were quickly deterred by the school's honor policy, according to a Nov. 16 article in The New York Times. If the clickers were brought to TCU, similar policies would do well to ensure academic integrity.
The clickers look like a mix between a TV remote control and a calculator and can cost as much as $70, according to the article. Some universities require students to buy them, while others lend the clickers.
Essentially, $70 could be the tangible maturity factor during the transition period to college. It could help students raise their hands without feeling socially awkward by assuming other students already understood the information. the iClicker could be the device that helps a student live out all that great advice.
Bailey McGowan is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Burkburnett.
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