New iClicker issued, not required by UD
Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 17:09
New iClickers have come to university classrooms this year. The updated version of the remote device used in classrooms to take attendance and answer in-class questions now features a screen that allows students to view which letter they have selected.
According to the university’s iClicker webpage, as of Aug. 26, all classrooms will be equipped with an iClicker receiver, but iClicker 2 will be the latest in iClicker technology at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Main Street.
Students who wish to use the older, original iClicker version will still be able to use them in classrooms. However, any student without an iClicker will be prompted to buy the newer versions of the device when ordering their textbooks online through Barnes & Noble’s website.
Although the Information Technologies (IT) department could not be reached for comment, their website provides a comprehensive explanation of the new clicker system. Their website answered the question some students have on their minds: “Can I use my original iClicker?”
“Yes. Both the original iClicker and iClicker2 remotes can be used to respond to multiple choice (A-E) questions,” the website said. “Indicators suggest that the vast majority of clicker questions will remain multiple choice even when text and numeric entry is an option. We anticipate the original iClicker will be in circulation on campus for several years.”
The original iClicker no longer appears on the official distributing website, and the device has been replaced by both the iClicker 2, as well as the iClicker+. The original iClicker is still available for purchase at Lieberman’s bookstore, according to Lieberman’s website.
According to the university website’s iClicker page, the IT department has formally encouraged faculty members to allow students to utilize both the original model as well as the updated model. The IT department wrote this would remove some of the financial burden on students, making it so that students are not required to update their models at an additional cost. Currently, the iClicker2 is selling for $48.35 on Lieberman’s website, while the original model is priced at $38.16 on Barnes & Noble’s website.
The iClicker change is part of an overhaul of the iClicker system that took place at the university over the summer. According to the Clickers@UD page, changes have been taking place all summer. The website lists other new hardware changes as the implementation of white iClicker receivers in every scheduled classroom, but black receivers are not compatible with the updated software and must be returned to the university. The updated software offers a few different changes and improvements for teachers as well, according to the clickers webpage.
Students, such as sophomore Lizzy Bartley, are unsure if the new changes are worth the increased price. Bartley said she has not seen much from the new models that seem like they offer that much of an upgrade over the original models.
“The screen just doesn’t seem like it is necessary at all,” Bartley said. “I know what I pressed, I honestly don’t need a screen to tell me what I’m answering. The old ones were not bad at all, there was nothing wrong with them.”
Bartley also said she hopes the university continues to allow students to use the original model instead of the new one. She said allowing students to use both makes the change less of a problem for students, and she thinks it will make it less complicated for incoming students as well.
Books are expensive enough as it is, Bartley said, and as long as the university continues to allow students to use both clickers, then students will be less likely to feel taken advantage of by booksellers.
However, sophomore Omar Montero said he thinks the new clicker advances will be beneficial in the future, even if it doesn’t seem warranted for now.
“I am actually excited to see where they go with the new screen,” Montero said. “I think that could go a lot of directions. Sometimes things don’t seem useful or smart right when they come out, but then they become something a lot better than the original.”
While he is hopeful the iClicker evolves, Montero said he thinks the price for a new clicker was too steep for the university to enforce a change requirement.
Fifty dollars is a lot of money for a rather small upgrade, Montero said.