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Classroom Performance System

Some Initial Decisions: Course Planning and Design

If you are committed to using CPS in your course(s), then we recommend that you think through some initial decisions in order to facilitate a smooth integration of CPS into your course(s).

In what room(s) will you be teaching?

This is an important question to ask yourself regardless of whether you are going to be using CPS or not. Although VCU has come a long way in attempting to standardize the technology and resources in classrooms, there is still plenty of inconsistencies across the university. You should visit your classroom(s) before classes start so you can see what is available in the room and to familiarize yourself with what is available. A list of the rooms where a CPS receiver is permanently installed is below.

    • Oliver Hall 1024
    • Life Sciences 151, 155
    • Temple 1160, 1164, 1165 and 1169
    • Hibbs 203, 303, 403
    • Business Building Auditorium

What instructional goals do you hope to accomplish with using CPS?

As discussed above, CPS can serve a wide range of instructional goals. We recommend that you start with modest goals—as would be the case with the adoption of any new instructional technique or technology. However, the use of CPS has great potential for creating a very learning-centered classroom.

  1. CPS can provide frequent feedback to both students and professors on a daily basis
  2. CPS can be used to explore and expose hidden misconceptions that both students and instructors may bring with them to class
  3. CPS can be used in conjunction with active learning techniques that are particularly suitable for large class settings
  4. CPS can be used to survey student attitudes, opinions, and behaviors.
  5. CPS can be used to help inform instructors on the effectiveness of various teaching methods or learning activities

How often do you plan on using the technology?

If you are going to require that your students purchase their own remotes and register them into your course, then we recommend that you use CPS as frequently as possible—ideally, every class period. Otherwise, students will not bring them to class consistently.

If you are going to use CPS infrequently, for test reviews or for certain activities, then you should probably explore using the “mobile” system where you bring in a bag of remotes—handing them out at the beginning of class and collecting them at the end. Students may not appreciate buying a remote and registering it if they will only be using it a few times during the semester.

How will you integrate CPS into your grading scheme?

It is tough to give a “standard” response to this question given the variety of courses that are out there. The one “standard” that I would apply here is that it should count for something! Here are some possibilities:

  1. Create a class participation grade that will be integrated into the final grade (0 points for no response, 1 point for any response, 2 points for the correct response)
  2. Create pop-quizzes that could be aggregated into an additional test grade
  3. Create a scoring system that will allow you to justify rounding final grades up at the end of the semester
  4. In addition to positive incentives, you may also consider consequences for not using them during class.

How will you address broken, lost, or forgotten remotes?

This can be a fairly thorny issue in large enrollment classes. You do not want to spend that majority of your time before or after class dealing with students who have these sort of problems—especially if you don’t have any TAs. In order to minimize these issues, develop a policy, convey it early and often, and stick to it. Here are some recommendations

  1. Be a little lenient during the first week or two. Students will be adding and dropping and some are waiting for financial aid.
  2. Offer a certain number of “passes,” once these are exhausted, all additional occurrences will affect their grade
  3. Have them turn in a piece of paper indicating what the issue is. This way, you can help them if it is a technical issue versus irresponsibility. It is also good for record keeping.

How will you motivate students to use them?

First and foremost, include some text in your syllabus that explaining why you are using CPS in your course. Link it to your teaching philosophy and/or course goals. Emphasize the value that they will get out of using CPS regularly (i.e. instant feedback, self-assessing for comprehension, becoming familiar with how professor ask / word questions—reducing test anxiety, etc.)



Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: June 20, 2013
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