All About Clickers

Related Links

What are clickers?

From Ohio State:

Clickers allow instructors to ask questions and gather students' responses during a lecture. (Clicker systems are also commonly called Classroom Response Systems, Student Response Systems, or Audience Response Systems.)

In clicker systems, each student uses a device (a "clicker") that looks like a TV remote to answer questions posed by the instructor in a specially-designed PowerPoint presentation. Summaries of student responses can be shown in real time to both instructors and students. Answers are also stored electronically for later viewing.

At UW, the brand of clickers in use across the university is the iClicker. Students each purchase their own iClickers at the bookstore. On the administrative end, instructors use two software programs, i>clicker and i>grader, to ask questions and manage the results, as well as a receiver that plugs into their laptop to receive clicker responses. You may want to visit the IST iClicker website for additional information.

In the School of Computer Science, clickers are currently in use for CompSci135 and CompSci136. Additional slides, not included in the handouts made available to students, contain multiple-choice questions relevant to course material. Using the i>clicker software, instructors open the question for submission, and students press the button on their clicker corresponding to the answer that they think is correct. The software captures a screenshot of the question being displayed by the instructor, and records the responses in a CSV text file. Instructors can modify parameters

i>grader has features that allow for the exporting of grades, but those features aren't sufficiently sophisticated for our situation, where we have multiple sections, where students may switch sections or attend a different lecture section. As a result, we use a Python script to process the CSV files output by i>grader and generate a marks file. See ProcessingClickerMarks for more information.

Setting up iClicker


We use iClicker 5.5.x. Download from Scroll down to the ARCHIVE section to find the correct version. There is no installation - just unzip the folder wherever you will have easy access to it. If you were working from a PODIUM, unzip it to your network drive, not the local machine. On a laptop, you should unzip it somewhere backed up regularly, but are not required to encrypt the folders.

Initial Setup

  • Run "iclicker.exe"
  • Click on "Add Course"
  • Create a name/number/section for your course (cs1xx/TERM/lec00x)
  • Click 'choose', and then 'Your Settings and Preferences'
General Tab:
  • Instructor's Remote ID (8 characters, found on the back of the iclicker)
  • Frequency Code (2 characters, from classroom)
  • Show an alert message: Not at all
Scoring Tab:
  • Session Participation Points: 0
  • Question Performance Points: Responding => 1, Correct => 1
  • No limit to performance points
Polling Session:
  • Do not show question info
  • Count up from 0
  • Do not show response grid
  • Colours histogram
Ongoing Use
  • Make sure the iclicker is toggled to the correct machine (laptop/PC) in the podium
  • 99% of the time, you will use 'start session'. Only use 'resume last session' if you crash in the middle of a lecture
  • If you have multiple lectures/tutorials back-to-back, make sure you close and restart with the new 'class'
  • Exit the software before disconnecting your USB
  • Use igrader.exe
  • Click the 'set scores' button for each lecture you want to update
  • Buttons to use: prev/next/show screenshot
  • Points: 2 points for a correct answer, 1 otherwise
Saving Data
  • Copy everything in DATAPATH/SessionData/ to:
    • CS 135: COURSEPATH/clickers/tut1xx/
    • CS 136: COURSEPATH/clickers/tutorials/tutorialXX/
Clicker IDs

Some students may come to you complaining that their clicker ID has rubbed off of their clicker. There was a small batch of clickers, sold in the Fall 2007 term, that are susceptible to this problem. If a student can't clearly see their clicker ID, the UW Bookstore (south campus hall) can recover their clicker ID. Have the student bring along their clicker.


Paul Kates is the Centre for Teaching Excellence liaison for the Faculty of Mathematics, and has a lot of experience dealing with clickers. You might consider asking him for help if you're running into trouble.

-- MorganGrainger - 14 May 2009

How to update clicker mark?

Before your start to update clicker mark, go to /u/cs136/, open, and change the following fields to be the ones you're using for current term: REG_DATA_DIRS, DOTCLASSLIST_FILE, and CLICKER_REG_FILE.

Log into course account, and to go to /u/cs136/clicker_data/ directory. And enter the following command: make

-- SharonXiao - 19 Aug 2009

What to do when a student switched lecture sessions or changed clickers?

When a student changed clickers, you need the Quest id, the two clicker ids, the date where the first clicker was used(you can normally use the first day of lecture) and the date when the student started using the second clicker.

Use a text editor to open which can be found in the clicker directory on your course account. For example, use the command: vi ~/cs135/clickers/ Edit in the following form:

clickers:<8-char userid>:YYYY-MM-DD:<old 8-char clicker>:YYYY-MM-DD:<new 8-char clicker>

For example, if a student with user ID a43bcdef wanted to change from iClicker ID 34343434 to iClicker ID ABABABAB on September 29, 2013, and the course started September 10, 2013, the command would be:


In terms of a student switching sections, this is usually taken care of by the clicker scripts. The clicker scripts use the information from the classlist files which are updated every day by the registrar's office. If a student officially switches class sections, but has only answered clicker questions in their NEW section, then no changes are needed to the overrides file.

If a student has answered questions in an old class section, and then switches into a new section later in the term, then the overrides file must be modified in a similar manner as above. Instead of clicker ID's, we use the 3 digit section numbers of the courses.

sections:<8-char userid>:YYYY-MM-DD:<old sec '###'>:YYYY-MM-DD:<new sec '###'>

Following the same example as above, if the student wanted to switch from section 003 to 001 on the same day:


Sometimes at the beginning of term, student lecture sections may be 'in flux', and a student may show up as LEC 000. As long as a student has been attending their regular registered section, the problem will correct itself. If they have attended another section, an override of the form above is necessary.

-- XixiHu - 20 Feb 2013

Edit | Attach | Watch | Print version | History: r9 < r8 < r7 < r6 < r5 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions
Topic revision: r9 - 2013-12-20 - RyanCampagnola
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform Powered by PerlCopyright © 2008-2024 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback