Using Clickers for Deliberate Practice in Five Large Science Courses

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Linda C. Hodges, Eric C. Anderson, Tara S. Carpenter, Lili Cui, Elizabeth A. Feeser, and Tiffany Malinky Gierasch, Using Clickers for Deliberate Practice in Five Large Science Courses, Journal of College Science TeachingVol. 47, No. 2, 2017,


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Clickers are often used as an active learning tool in face-to-face classes to enhance student engagement and assess student learning. In this article we share the variety of ways that we use clicker questions to promote deliberate practice in large science courses. Deliberate practice is the use of specifically structured exercises that develop the skills and habits of mind essential to improve performance. We use clickers across five different courses in biology, chemistry, and physics at a midsize public research university to develop students' abilities in scientific reasoning and problem solving. We gathered students' views of our practices using the Classroom Response System Perceptions (CRiSP) Questionnaire. Even given the differences in our approaches, the majority of the 1,614 students who responded reported that our clicker questions enhanced their motivation, attention, engagement, and participation in class. Students recognized that we used clickers to provide practice and feedback, addressing their learning needs in real time. Students were less positive about clicker questions making class more enjoyable, and a third of students reported answering without really understanding. These responses may reflect that clickers require students to test themselves before the exam - a critical, though sometimes discomfiting, step to learning.