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Who wants to be an Aerospace Engineer? Use of an Audience Response System to stimulate student learning in engineering lectures

Author(s): Gemma Cranston | Gary Lock

Journal: Engineering Education
ISSN 1750-0044

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: audience response system (ars) | lecturing | student learning

Undergraduate engineering lectures in universities generally follow a traditional style of ‘speaker and passive audience’. Students’ attitudes and expectations have changed and the use of technology to enhance lecture formats has been both popular and successful. This paper discusses the use of an audience response system (ARS) to engage students’ interest throughout the lecture and to encourage them to participate actively by answering a variety of questions in a vibrant environment. Multiple-choice questions are posed and students are asked to ‘vote’ for the answer they think is correct, using their own Response-Card keypad in a system fully integrated with Microsoft PowerPoint. Once polling ends, the number of votes collected for each answer is identified on the screen, the results revealed in the form of a percentage-split chart. The ARS allows the students to beneficially engage with the lecturer in a manner which would not be possible in a more traditional setting. The advantage of being completely anonymous means that all students are willing to participate and enjoy the experience, improving their understanding in a novel way. Here it is shown that the ARS stimulates student learning, helps put the topic of the lecture into context in an exciting way and breaks down the monotony that is sometimes inescapable in a subject underpinned by mathematical rigour.

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