In the intervening six years since the last institutional conversation about Audience Response Systems (‘clickers’), much has changed technologically, even for our current default supplier, i<Clicker.
As a result, the University is undertaking a review of audience response solutions and has initiated a project to settle on a university-wide standard solution.
It is hoped that a standard UofT solution will allow for central support, and will keep costs lower for students, who should ideally only need to buy a single product, rather than be compelled to buy different solutions because individual faculty members have opted for different solutions, even within the same program.
There is a formal process in place for the adoption of standard technology solutions, and we invite all interested faculty and staff to contribute their insight and opinions, and express their needs around this technology; all feedback informs and shapes the system that will be deployed across the university.
WHY A UNIVERSITY STANDARD?
Among the advantages of a single, university-wide standard are the following:
- A technology that has already been tested, minimizing false starts and system incompatibilities.
- The ability to develop and share best practices and pedagogical resources across the university.
- Central support for the technology, through the university’s libraries, teaching and learning centres, and educational technology staff.
- Simplified procurement and access for faculty and students, through central distribution channels such as the Bookstore.
- Reduced cost to students: they only have to purchase one unit.
- Reduced cost to students: the university is better positioned to secure price discounts from the vendor.
Early this year, we conducted an environmental scan to determine the state of ARS technology and its deployment in other universities.
We are currently in the midst of a community consultation, including an online discussion group populated with University of Toronto faculty, staff, and students. Community contributions are informing the creation of a list of functional requirements for a university-wide standard audience response system, which will eventually be included in a Request For Proposals.
Pending project approval, we will proceed with the Request For Proposals process. This will include the opportunity for staff and instructors to test technologies and run pilots, where necessary.
If you would like more information, would like to join our discussion list or access its archives, or would like to share your insight and opinion, please contact Bethany Babinchak at firstname.lastname@example.org.