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Help Community College Students Succeed with Student Response Systems

TurningPoint interactive polling software and agile teaching support community college instructors in meeting their students' unique needs.

CHALLENGE

Ken Knox, an assistant professor of Business and Management at Eastern Gateway Community College, teaches five classes every semester. With an average of about 20 students in each class, he is constantly seeking ways to keep his students engaged with material and ensure they grasp important concepts to succeed in school and beyond.

SOLUTION

Knox first encountered TurningPoint interactive polling software at a conference several years ago. He was impressed with the student response technology’s potential in the classroom and decided to incorporate it into his lessons, along with agile teaching, as a tool for both student engagement and formative assessment.

“I will embed a slide in a PowerPoint presentation to avoid the death by PowerPoint trap,” he said. “I also use them for a pre-assessment before we begin a chapter to see if students come to class prepared.”

The formative assessment exercise consists of a short quiz on the assigned readings at the start of class. Students are not penalized for getting answers wrong, but are awarded bonus points for correct answers. 

RESULTS

According to Knox, his classes are enthusiastic about using TurningPoint and student response clickers to engage with their lessons, even the sometimes less tech-savvy nontraditional students. He also observed that the assessment exercises made an immediate impact on the level of preparation that students brought to his class.

“It only takes one or two days of a student missing a lot of those questions and not getting the bonus points until they get the idea that if they come to class prepared, it is going to be worthwhile to them,” he said.

Both the assessments and the in-class engagement slides have been instrumental in revealing his students’ level of understanding in real-time. When paired with agile teaching, this allows him to deftly adjust his lesson plans to address each group’s specific needs, and to clearly see which students are struggling.

“We have such a diverse population,” he said. “It helps us identify learning issues on a wider scale much quicker. If we can determine whether a group of students is getting concepts or not, we can address those concerns early on.”