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Effectiveness of Personal Response Systems as a Classroom Technology Tool at Clemson University
Unformatted Document Text:  Introduction Studies in recent times has shown that as university enrollment has risen coupled with decreasing financial resources, the size of classes has increased markedly. (Morris, Ainuson & Beck, 2007 unpublished; Truong et. al. 2002) The increase in the class size has negatively affected class participation and instructor effectiveness. (Duncan. D, 2005) In large class sizes, student participation decreases as a result of some interesting social dynamics and practical reasons like getting through the syllabus in the allotted time period. Out of fear of public embarrassment or the fear of holding up the class, some students totally avoid asking questions in class. For other students, asking a question in class may mean challenging the authority of the teacher. Because of these reasons, students may not be able to give any feedback to the teacher as to whether they understand important concepts. For the instructor, it is almost impossible to tell if students understand important concepts. In many large classes, examinations are the only way for the instructor to measure whether students understood important concepts taught in class. In instances where students are courageous enough to ask questions and instructors are ready to entertain such questions in class, the size of the class itself may limit the amount of questions that can be asked during a class session. Political Science 102 is an International Relations introductory class at Clemson University with 105 enrolled students. The class meets three times a week with each class session being 50 minutes long. If, for instance, a typical question takes one minute to ask and four minutes to answer, then the teacher can probably not entertain more than 5 questions and still get through the syllabus for the day. 3

Authors: Ainuson, Kweku.
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Introduction
Studies in recent times has shown that as university enrollment has risen coupled
with decreasing financial resources, the size of classes has increased markedly. (Morris,
Ainuson & Beck, 2007 unpublished; Truong et. al. 2002) The increase in the class size
has negatively affected class participation and instructor effectiveness. (Duncan. D, 2005)
In large class sizes, student participation decreases as a result of some interesting
social dynamics and practical reasons like getting through the syllabus in the allotted time
period. Out of fear of public embarrassment or the fear of holding up the class, some
students totally avoid asking questions in class. For other students, asking a question in
class may mean challenging the authority of the teacher. Because of these reasons,
students may not be able to give any feedback to the teacher as to whether they
understand important concepts. For the instructor, it is almost impossible to tell if
students understand important concepts. In many large classes, examinations are the only
way for the instructor to measure whether students understood important concepts taught
in class. In instances where students are courageous enough to ask questions and
instructors are ready to entertain such questions in class, the size of the class itself may
limit the amount of questions that can be asked during a class session. Political Science
102 is an International Relations introductory class at Clemson University with 105
enrolled students. The class meets three times a week with each class session being 50
minutes long. If, for instance, a typical question takes one minute to ask and four minutes
to answer, then the teacher can probably not entertain more than 5 questions and still get
through the syllabus for the day.
3


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