September 19, 2003

The Ultimate in Auditing College Classes

The good news is that college will "only" cost you your first ten years salary. The bad news is that you'll have to spend an extra 36 bucks to attend.

Keeping track in class

Worried that class sizes are getting to big and that students aren't getting enough out of lectures, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is requiring students to pay $36 for a small, wireless handheld transmitter for giving feedback and answering questions.

To connect with students in vast auditoriums, professors sprinkle multiple-choice questions through their lectures. Students point and click their transmitters to answer, pushing blue buttons numbered 1 through 9 on their keypads. A bar graph appears on the professor's laptop, showing the number of right and wrong answers; teachers can slow down or backtrack when there are too many wrong answers.

There is one major downside, at least for students. The transmitters are registered and assigned a number, so it's possible to keep track of who is showing up and who is skipping class. As we dimly recall from our raucous university days, one of the few upsides to taking one... [Gizmodo]

We see a huge business opportunity for students that would simply wear a couple of dozen of these gizmos to class for his fellow students.

Photo of UMass-Amherst's wireless handheld transmitter
Photo of one of those wireless handheld "Personal Response System" transmitters that are being used in large lecture classes at UMass-Amherst (and apparently in some classes at Rutgers University, as well). [Gizmodo] Posted by Vanderleun at September 19, 2003 11:46 AM

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