Student Response Systems

What are they?

Student Response Systems,also known as classroom response systems (CRS), audience response systems, or personal response systems, refer to systems consisting of devices that students can use to interact with an instructor's questions via computer software.[1]

Essentially, a student response system is technology that:

  • allows an instructor to present a question or problem to the class;
  • allows students to enter their answers into some kind of device; and
  • instantly aggregates and summarizes students' answers for the instructor, usually as a histogram.[2]

Earlier systems used special devices, often called clickers, but newer systems let students use their own devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) to interact with the lesson. WWU primarily supports Socrative Pro, which is a free-to-students bring-your-own-device student response system. For more information on setting up or using Socrative, visit ATUS: Socrative Pro.

Implications for teaching:

"...the technology has the potential to transform the way we teach... [especially] in large lecture settings. CRSs can serve as catalysts for creating a more interactive, student-centered classroom in the lecture hall, thereby allowing students to become more actively involved in constructing and using knowledge. CRSs not only make it easier to engage students in learning activities during lecture but also enhance the communication among students, and between the students and the instructor. This enhanced communication assists the students and the instructor in assessing understanding during class time, and affords the instructor the opportunity to devise instructional interventions that target students' needs as they arise."[2]

How are they used in education?

  • Classroom response systems can be used with any size class, especially where prompt, anonymous feedback from students can aid instruction.
    • Check for understanding during lectures.
    • Provide short quizzes on readings.
    • Poll for opinions on sensitive subjects.
    • Ask for student predictions prior to observing an activity or presenting a myth-busting topic.
    • Check attendance via one of the above methods.
  • Using Clickers in the Classroom: Examples of instructional strategies that implement student response systems in lessons, from Russell James. While this video focuses on clickers, the strategies can be implemented using any audience response system.
  • See "Strategies" below for more ideas.

What are some resources?



Poll Tools

Where is there help?

Learning Systems: Socrative, ATUS guide including tutorials and instructional strategies for using Socrative Pro

Source Information

  1. Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University
  2. Ian Beatty, Physics Education Research Group, University of Massachusetts