Engaging students in large lectures of introductory biology and molecular biology service courses using student response systems


  • Danny Y.T. Liu The University of Sydney
  • Charlotte E. Taylor The University of Sydney


Student response systems are an efficient and safe strategy to increase student engagement in large-enrolment classes. Combined with effectively designed questions, they can stimulate and probe deeper conceptual understanding and enhance pedagogical outcomes. Hardware “clickers” have been used and reported extensively but are limited in the variety of possible responses that can be gathered; new web-based student response systems that leverage the increasingly ubiquitous mobile devices that students bring to lectures offer a flexible and stimulating way for students to be emotionally and intellectually invested in lecture material. We describe our experiences with hardware and web-based student response systems, highlighting both well-reported and novel applications of these systems to transform lectures from passive information delivery environments to active learning spaces for both students as well as lecturers.