It is not a textbook and it does not use paper, yet students in various courses around campus are required to buy it for class.
At the university, the iClicker is used to test students’ knowledge of subject matter as well as take attendance, Mark Dennis, assistant professor of religion, said.
Students register their devices online at the beginning of the semester, then use the five multiple choice buttons to respond to quiz questions, Dennis said. Professors then retrieve the information from a receiver, record the students’ responses and then assign grades.
Dennis gave the example of how the iClicker can be used to reduce paper consumption. With a class of 40 students taking 20 quizzes throughout the semester, he estimated that he would save about 800 sheets of paper each semester because students could respond electronically.
Jake Banglesdorf, a freshman communication studies major, said he felt the iClicker was a useful and efficient tool for both students and professors. However, despite the useful advancement in technology, he felt that the $30-40 price range was too high, he said.
Having updated technology in the classrooms is an important aspect to do well at TCU, he said.
“It’s just something you’re going to have to do to stay up-to-date with classes,” he said.
The TCU Bookstore offered the iClicker for $40 this semester, while online stores, such as amazon.com, offered it for about $35.
According to the iClicker website, the original device was first produced in 2003 and had exposed switches. However, the current model has its wires and circuits covered with plastic.
Rachel Spurrier, a junior writing major, said she had taken one of Dennis’ classes and had used the iClicker in almost every class.
However, because it was the first semester Dennis had used the devices, Spurrier said she was able to borrow one from him free of charge.
The Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence offered a semester-long free trial for Dennis and other professors who wanted to try out the technology for the first time, Dennis said.
Spurrier said she thought it would have been a waste of money if she had been required to buy it, rather than borrow it for the class.
“If I had to buy it I would have been more upset, because I didn’t like the thought that I would have to buy a piece of technology that was just for clicking buttons,” she said.
Starting this fall, the iClicker2 will be available with additional functions, such as the ability to answer fill in the blank and short answer questions with an LCD screen, according to its website.