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The Personal Response System (PRS) at the University of Rochester. Frank L. H. Wolfs Department of Physics and Astronomy Institute of Optics December 15, 2005. Outline. The PRS system. How did we get started and how are we doing?

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The personal response system prs at the university of rochester

The Personal Response System (PRS) at the University of Rochester

Frank L. H. Wolfs

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Institute of Optics

December 15, 2005


Outline
Outline. Rochester

  • The PRS system.

  • How did we get started and how are we doing?

  • Examples of the use of the PRS system in Physics 121 (including a demo of the PRS system with actual questions used in Physics 121).

  • Issues with the PRS system from the instructor's point of view.

  • Summary.


The personal response system prs
The Personal Response System (PRS). Rochester

  • The personal response system (PRS) was introduced in our large lecture courses to increase the involvement of the students in these courses.

  • Faculty can pose questions, students submit their answers using wireless transmitters, and the data are collected using a set of receivers connected to a computer running the PRS software which provides an immediate analysis of the results.


The personal response system the components
The Personal Response System. RochesterThe components.

  • Each student uses a transmitter to submit his/her answers.

  • The answers can be

    • Multiple-choice answers (up to 9 possible answers).

    • Numerical answers (integers only).

  • Each student can indicate his/her level of confidence by pressing the H key (high confidence) or L key (low confidence) before submitting their answer. The default confident level is M (medium confidence).


The personal response system the components1
The Personal Response System. RochesterThe components.

  • The signals from the transmitters are received by several receivers.

  • The signals are infra-red signals and require line of sight.

  • The required processing time limits the number of users to about 40 per receiver (many receivers can be daisy chained).

  • Note: the use of RF technology would increase the cost by an order to magnitude.


The personal response system how did we get started
The Personal Response System. RochesterHow did we get started?

  • The impact of PRS is well established, but cost has been the main reason not to adopt it.

  • In October 2003 I attended an AAPT meeting about the introductory Physics course curriculum, and found out that Prentice Hall offered the possibility of bundling the PRS units with their text book (the cost per book increased by $15). In addition, for every 40 text books sold, I would receive one receiver.

  • Since we already use books from Prentice Hall in our introductory physics courses, I decided to order the bundled version for Physics 121 for spring 2004, and Prof. Manly decided to do the same thing for Physics 114.

  • I received 8 receivers from the PRS company at no charge.


The personal response system how did we get started1
The Personal Response System. RochesterHow did we get started?

  • In January 2004 four receivers were installed in Hoyt hall and connected to the built-in PC.

  • The system was used successfully in both Physics 121 and Physics 114 during the spring semester of 2004 (more details about the use in Physics 121 will be provided momentarily).

  • The success in these courses resulted in the interest of other faculty in other courses. But …..

    • The cost of the PRS transmitter for students who did not buy it bundled was significant ($35 - $40 per unit).

    • The tie to Prentice Hall to reduce the cost of the transmitters is not a good thing.

    • Is there a market for used transmitters?


The personal response system how do we continue
The Personal Response System. RochesterHow do we continue?

  • Usage of PRS for the fall semester, starting in fall 2004 (700 students):

    • Astronomy 102

    • Biology 110

    • Physics 113

    • Physics 122

    • Physics 141

  • I made an arrangement with the bookstore to have them purchase PRS transmitters. The students can rent the transmitters at a cost of $10 (a $23 deposit is required).

  • The PRS company delivered 16 receivers which were installed in Dewey, Hubbell, and B&L 106. Note: facilities completed the installation during the second week of classes in fall 2004 only after I threatened to do it myself.


The personal response system how do we continue1
The Personal Response System. RochesterHow do we continue?

  • Everything seemed to be working fine.

  • Some initial problems were caused by the use of csv files and the fact that Microsoft messes these up when you try to modify them using Excel.

  • Many problems with managing class files were resolved in recent versions of the PRS software (we started with 2.91 and are now using 3.20.0015).

  • Documentation about the use of the PRS at the U of R can be found at

    http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/PRSatUofR/PRSInfo.html


The personal response system examples of its use in physics 121
The Personal Response System, RochesterExamples of its use in Physics 121.

  • In Physics 121 I have used the PRS in many different ways:

    • Daily quizzes at the start of lecture (more details on the next slide).

    • Surveys.

    • Discussion provoking concept tests (more details on the next slide).

    • Attendance.

  • The PRS software collects information about information send by each student. But, if you give credit for participation and/or quizzes, students need to know for sure their answer was accepted.


Personal response system the questions
Personal Response System RochesterThe questions

  • The Physics 121 quizzes are used to ensure that students read the material to be covered in class before coming to class.

  • The Physics 121 concept tests are used to focus on difficult concepts in the material being discussed and provides immediate feedback on the misconceptions of the students.

  • Rather than reinventing the wheel, most of the quizzes and concept tests were taken from ”Peer Instruction” by Eric Mazur.


Personal response system examples of its use in physics 121
Personal Response System RochesterExamples of its use in Physics 121.

  • Quiz at the beginning of class (based on the reading assignment):

    • 3 - 4 multiple-choice questions.

    • Part of the course grade.

    • A group of people always leaves right after the quiz. But …. I know who they are!


The personal response system examples of its use in physics 1211
The Personal Response System, RochesterExamples of its use in Physics 121.

  • Sorry, you will have to do some work.

  • You will be asked to answer 4 concept-test questions that have been used as Concept Tests in Physics 121.


Examples of prs data peer instruction correct answer 3
Examples of PRS data. RochesterPeer Instruction: Correct = Answer 3.


Examples of prs data peer instruction correct answer 31
Examples of PRS data. RochesterPeer Instruction: Correct = Answer 3.


Examples of prs data peer instruction correct answer 5
Examples of PRS data. RochesterPeer Instruction: Correct = Answer 5.


Examples of prs data peer instruction correct answer 1
Examples of PRS data. RochesterPeer Instruction: Correct = Answer 1.


The personal response system examples of its use in physics 1212
The Personal Response System, RochesterExamples of its use in Physics 121.

  • Since the PRS system records the ID # of the transmitters being used by the students, I have good records of class attendance, which my be a factor taken into consideration when final grades are assigned.

  • The attendance information also allows a study of the correlation between lecture attendance and grades.

  • But …… it requires you to collected PRS ID information (there are different ways to collect this information).


Usage of attendance effect of attendance on pre final course grade
Usage of attendance. RochesterEffect of attendance on pre-final course grade.


Usage of attendance is it workshops or lectures
Usage of attendance. RochesterIs it workshops or lectures?

  • Attendance information can be used for other studies.

  • For example, students who go to workshops are also more likely to go to lecture. Do they get better grades because of the workshop or because they come to lecture?

  • There is a lot of information available ……. A lot to learn from it.


What did the students think
What did the students think? Rochester

  • In general the in-class concept test were received well. The in-class discussion changed the class atmosphere ….. but the instructor must be willing to change focus on a moments notice based on the feedback from the students.

  • Quizzes were not well received, but this is always true, independent of the method of delivery. …… But, forcing student to come to class lowers your course opinion ratings!

  • Main initial complaints came from students who purchased the PRS transmitters separately (expensive) but having the bookstore deal with the transmitters has resolved most problems.


Impact on faculty s workload
Impact on Faculty's Workload. Rochester

  • The success of the system depends on the quality of the questions being used. Developing good questions requires a significant effort.

  • The Faculty can setup the PRS session in advance (this is highly recommended) on their computer (Windows or Mac OS X) and transfer files to a USB keychain storage device. Note:

    • You will need to determine how you will display the questions: include them in the PRS system (OK, but graphics causes problems on windows machines - bug when path changes) or display them on an overhead projector.

    • Decide how much time you will give the students to think, whether or not you want to see the graph with the results automatically, etc.

    • You will need to make sure you collect PRS ID numbers if you are going to give credit for participation.

    • Run the PRS system from the USB device connected to the machine running the PRS software.


Impact on faculty s workload1
Impact on Faculty's Workload. Rochester

  • Biggest initial stumbling blocks (all related to those applications where students receive credit for participation):

    • Collect PRD ID information for students enrolled in the course. In Physics we collect this information as part of the recitation signup process. There is a WEB-based tool, provided by GTCO CalComp, that collects this information and I plan to evaluate this tool in the next few weeks.

    • Class list:

      // Roster, Date&Time: 407292204, Version: 3.00.0025, CID: 5y?YGCCF, OS: Windows XP Version 5.1, Class Name: NOT USED zs: 0 dups: 0,,

      TransId, Group Id, Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial, Student ID, Nickname, Net ID

      152904,0,Baker,Kim,-,444-33-2222,KB,-

      152990,0,Smith,Fred,-,505123,FedX,-

      152985,0,Dickenson,Emily,M,345-22-2345,Poet,-

      154110,0,Tucker,Christopher,-,T01-43879,Chris,-


Impact on faculty s workload2
Impact on Faculty's Workload. Rochester

  • Problems identified in the current version of the software:

    • Use of graphics in the the PRS questions (when the path of the graphics folder changes, the graphics will not show up ….. it looks like the software uses absolute paths instead of relative paths).

    • There are bugs with the grade book feature (I will see if they are resolved in the latest version of the software). In my Physics 141 class, the first student is not included.

    • The inability to show two graphs at the same time (in the current version) is a step backwards in my opinion.


Impact on faculty s workload3
Impact on Faculty's Workload. Rochester

  • Let's demonstrate some of the "faculty" features:

    • Defining a class.

    • Defining a seat map.

    • Defining a lesson.

    • Grading a quiz.

    • Updating a grade book.


Summary
Summary Rochester

  • The use of PRS has been successfully introduced at the U of R.

  • The simulating discussions that evolve as a result of the PRS system are a result of the questions being used. These discussions can take place in the recitation environment without having to rely on PRS hardware/software.

  • Anything that will increase the involvement of the students in lecture/recitation/workshop will increase their impact.


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