Contributor: Linda Dunham, Discipline Chair and Instructor of Academic Student Success, Central Piedmont Community College.


We can connect with students through discussion or written communication, but what is working really well in the classroom is connecting through the use of response technology, or “clickers”.

“Clickers” are typically used as assessment and polling tools, but they can also be a tool for gathering students’ feedback about the course and the syllabus.

This is where the First Week Syllabus Activity comes in. Instead of making the syllabus review a boring, drawn out process, make it interactive and engaging!

Clicker questions can be as simple as:

  1. I think the attendance policy is fair.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. The grade I am aiming for in this class is
    a. A
    b. B
    c. C
    d. I don’t care.

I suggest going even further by asking students to share their goals and intentions for the class:

  1. The following statement best describes my intentions for this course:
    a. I intend to come to every class, participate, and put into practice the skills that are taught in this course.
    b. I intend to learn just enough to pass the class. I will attend as much as possible.
    c. I don’t really have any intentions. This class does not interest me.
  2. The following statement best describes my intentions for the assigned textbook reading:
    a. I intend to read all assigned chapters in the textbook.
    b. I will read as much as I can, as long as I can fit it in my schedule.
    c. I will probably not spend much time reading the textbook.

No clickers? No problem! Offer students a graded syllabus quiz. Not only will they be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course policies and guidelines, but they will receive a grade the first week of class and can begin working towards an “A”.

Have you tried “clickers” in your classroom? If so, how? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.

Linda Dunham is the Discipline Chair/Instructor of the Academic Student Success (ACA) courses at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). With over 20 years of experience in student success, Spanish, and human services, Linda is recognized by the college and her peers for her outstanding leadership and teaching strategies in her ACA courses. In fact, in 2010 she received CPCC’s Employee Recognition Award for Faculty and in 2011 was a semi-finalist for the North Carolina Community College System Excellence in Teaching Award. Linda has presented at several state and local level conferences and in 2009 also coauthored the textbook & instructor’s manual, ACA 111 College Student Success at CPCC. When Linda is not working to motivate her students, she enjoys traveling, vacationing with her family, watching Jeopardy, hiking, and Yoga. 

For additional ideas, read Linda Dunham’s article Perceptions, Expectations, and Responsibility.