A tradition of TurningPoint

For undergraduates in the Exercise Science/Physiology program at Kent State University, TurningPoint response technology is an important part of their education.

Associate Professor Derek Kingsley has been using TurningPoint for more than a decade, and was instrumental in introducing it into the Kent State program. He first encountered the technology at his previous institution, when he was looking for a way to engage students in a large lecture class.

“TurningPoint allowed me to get immediate feedback on what they knew and what they didn’t, and then I could adjust the lecture on the fly,” he said. “It allowed me to interact with a group of 200 students, and that is not an easy thing to do.”

When he arrived at Kent State, he took TurningPoint with him, integrating it into all of his classes and persuading other instructors to give it a try.

Dr Derek Kingsley
Dr Angela Ridgel

Associate Professor Angela Ridgel first started using the technology several years ago when both she and Kingsley taught Physiology of Exercise, a senior-level course for majors with about 30 students per section. She worked with him to build her curriculum around integrating TurningPoint into her lectures, and made student responses a portion of the final grade.

Ridgel appreciated not only the engagement with her students, but also the ease with which she could add questions to her PowerPoint presentations and push the results to Blackboard. In their end-of-course evaluations, her students let her know that they enjoyed the increased interaction as well.

“They always say that they like the review, they like the clickers, they like the interactive [questions],” she said. “It kind of breaks this up a bit, so I’m not just blabbing at them for 50 minutes.”

Another recent convert, Assistant Professor Adam Jajtner, just started using TurningPoint this semester at the encouragement of his fellow instructors. He mostly uses the technology to check student comprehension of pre-class readings and in-class lecture topics, and adjusts his instruction accordingly.

Now, with almost half a semester under his belt, Jajtner is expanding beyond multiple-choice and true/false questions, and starting to take advantage of the short answer and word cloud features. He is even planning on using TurningPoint for student assessments in the spring.

“Going forward, I’m looking into using it on quizzes. It’s just a faster way to get grades back to the students because, right now, I’ve got a quiz sitting on my desk that I’ve got to grade,” he said.

“I’ve been using [TurningPoint] for a little more than a decade, and it keeps getting better and better.”

At Kent State, as of fall 2018, 6,589 students currently have an active TurningPoint subscription. Of the nearly 1200 TurningPoint sessions run so far this year, 73 percent have used clickers only, 3 percent used only mobile and 24 percent were hybrid (both mobile and clickers).

“Initially when we started doing it, most of the students had the clickers from other courses, and since they’re seniors they just have them around,” said Ridgel. “I will say that most of them are using mobile this semester.”

All three instructors allow students to choose whether to use clickers or their own mobile devices.

Kingsley is glad that his colleagues are getting good use out of the technology, since it is such a vital part of his own classes. In addition to the immediate feedback that informs his teaching, he enjoys using TurningPoint to run review session competitions prior to exams. The results speak for themselves: students in his statistics class who attended the most recent review scored an average of 10 points higher than those that did not.

Even beyond exam scores, Kingsley loves just how fun those reviews can be, and how much they contribute to inspiring a passion for learning in his students.

“I’ve been using [TurningPoint] for a little more than a decade, and it keeps getting better and better,” he said. “[Students] walk out with so much information and so much enthusiasm…Of my good days teaching, those are probably some of the best days I’ve ever had.”