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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: Clickers do little good for students

    Our time at the UA is about a variety of things, including learning, studying and socializing. But the rising clickers trend has been a catalyst for a new phenomenon: professors babysitting students.

    I’ve suffered through my own fair share of lecture courses with hundreds of students enrolled. Luckily, my professors allowed their students’ academic performances to represent their attendance patterns, as those who attended class frequently did better than those who did not.

    However, not all UA professors take the same approach to learning and ensuring attendance. Elaine Marchello, professor and assistant dean of Academic Programs within the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, uses clickers in her lecture courses. Clickers are electronic devices that students can use to verify their attendance or answer multiple-choice questions.

    “Since I have a large class of 800, I use clickers for a few reasons,” Marchello said. “One, to see which students are coming to class regularly, but more importantly, I try to engage students by using clickers, as well as assessing their knowledge and understanding of concepts.”

    Elizabeth Eadie, professor and adjunct lecturer within the School of Anthropology, echoed similar reasoning.

    “I decided to use clickers to make class more interactive,” Eadie said. “I was hoping it would release some dopamine like a video game, so it would be more exciting for the students.”

    While I respect and admire a professor’s efforts to ensure their students receive the education they are paying for, I simply cannot and will not agree with the implementation of clickers.

    First and foremost, clickers are expensive. According to the UA’s University Information Technology Services, new and used ResponseCard NXT clickers can be purchased from the UA Bookstore for prices ranging between $40 and $54. Keep in mind there are always students who only take one clicker-using class in their entire university careers. Clickers are an easy, unfair money grab that targets students into forcefully buying a tool not needed by all university students.

    But most importantly, clickers do not help students in the long run. Regardless of what any professor thinks, we’re all adults here at the UA. We are no longer in junior high, and the majority of us, hopefully, have envisioned our goals and futures. Any person who is half-concerned with succeeding will take the initiative to attend class on their own. And if a professor can’t make his or her class relevant and necessary without requiring arbitrary technological leashes, who can begrudge students who make a cost-benefit analysis and decide there are better ways to spend their time?

    The fact that professors feel the need to keep tabs on their students is overbearing and claustrophobic. If we, the student body, need clickers to attend our courses, then who is going to create the clickers that enable us to attend our jobs every day and fulfill our daily tasks? Moral of the story: Self-motivation is key to success, and, likewise, self-motivation is not developed through implementing useless gadgets. The clicker policy is nothing but a mere attempt to nickel and dime students and control their right to make decisions for themselves.

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    Emilee Hoopes is a molecular & cellular biology sophomore. Follow her on Twitter.

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