It’s easy to come up with poor clicker questions, ones that merely test who has memorized X, Y, or Z from the previous slide. Or questions where there is no way to figure out the answer: either you’ve got it or you don’t.
Good clicker questions, on the other hand, take some time to create. Sure, you might stumble onto a good one every now and then, and it gets easier as you do it more. But it’s really gratifying when you put in the time, and it works. Here’s my story.
When you pose a question to students about a non-trivial concept, and they get it wrong, it’s not obvious where the error occurred, which step they missed or misunderstood.
Every now and then, though, you find a “diagnostic” question that clearly discriminates between the people who have a certain morsel of knowledge and those who don’t. I found one of these questions in the #astro101 class I’m working on.
In my role in the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) at UBC, I don’t do the actual teaching myself. I train the trainers and then monitor how they’re doing. And I ask myself, you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?