Classroom Response System

Classroom Response Systems in Teaching

You want direct feedback from your students during your courses?

Classroom Response Systems (CRS) enable you to increase the activation and participation of your participants in courses by receicing direct feedback from the lecture hall during the course of a lesson. This enables you to obtain the opinions, assessments, knowledge levels and feedback from your students and subsequently respond to it. The use of CRS can promote the examination of learning subjects and stimulate discussions among students and with the teacher. CRSs are particularly suitable for courses with many participants.

Use of Clickers (hardware-based CRS)

Clickers are hardware-based voting devices. At Leuphana you can borrow a set of clickers that you can integrate into your PowerPoint presentation and capture up to 30 voices simultaneously. For this purpose, you can borrow a laptop at the media lending desk, on which the clicker system Keypad Depot is installed.

Freely accessible CRS (browser-based)

Below you will find a selection of web-based, freely accessible classroom response systems:

Various Classroom Response systems and their functionalities in detail can be found in the following overview (PDF download):

  • Scenarios for the Usage and Application of CRS
  • Types of CRS
  • Advantages and Challenges of CRS
  • Requirements for the Use of CRS
  • Further Literature on CRS

Scenarios for the Usage and Application of CRS

Taking into consideration time limits, number of participants, teaching/ learning goals, event content, competence levels, etc., which influence the use of CRSs, there are nevertheless numerous possible ways to use this method. For example...

... summative assessment
... formative assessment
... comprehension checks
... preparing/ initiating discussions
... answer repeat questions
... answer application questions
... Question marathon/ rallye
... peer instruction
... course management
... speed regulation of teaching efforts
... reflection of course content
... promote group work
... mutual anonymous assessment
... feedback questions

Types of CRS

A basic distinction is made between hardware- and software-/web-based voting systems.

Hardware-based systems are electronic voting systems that use a radio link to connect the clickers to networked presentation software. These systems thus enable anonymous voting in courses using clickers that were previously distributed in the audience. Using a computer and presentation software, the lecturs asks the plenum questions with several possible answers (multiple choice questions). Subsequently, the participants use the clickers to give their respective answers, for example A, B or C, by pressing the corresponding button.The participants' inputs are transmitted wirelessly to the voting software and can then be projected onto the wall using a beamer.

Software-based/ web-based solutions transfer the data between sender and receiver via the Internet and use the Internet-enabled mobile devices (bring your own device - tablet, smartphone, laptop) of the participants.

The prerequisite for this is that the participants' end devices are network-compatible and also have up-to-date access to the Internet. Two variants can be distinguished here:

  • App-based systems which require the installation of a corresponding app
  • Browser-based systems in which participation takes place by entering an Internet address (e.g. via QR code)

The teacher controls and approves the surveys via a central server. A distinction must be made between:

  • chargeable servers that require fees as a condition of use (e.g. per survey or per potential participant)
  • open servers which are provided by third parties for free use
  • Server extensions that can be operated by the user and are intended, for example, to extend the functionality of an LMS

The lecturer questions the audience, who - depending on the system - see them either as part of the lecturer's presentation or directly in the web browser on their mobile devices. The voting or answering of the question is also done via the website or the app of the respective system.

Advantages and Challenges of CRS

Improved attention and engagement of the participantsTechnical problems may occur during use
Improved learning success and knowledge transferWeb-based systems are dependent on Internet availability and access
Enhanced interactionHardware-based systems must be brought, distributed and collected for each session
Anonymous voting and feedback possibility increases the willingness of the students to participateJust-in-time-teaching: use and feedback lead to questions, discussions etc. which may require a spontaneous adjustment of the course by the lecturer
Immediate real-time feedback for students and lecturersDuring the course, schedule some time for the use of CRS and meaningful integration into the teaching/ learning design
Possibility to make situational decisions on the design of the continuation of the respective courseDesigning good and meaningful questions
Improving the quality of teachingFamiliarize lecturers and students with the tool

Requirements for the Use of CRS

  • Internet access with web-based systems
  • Voting devices for hardware-based solutions
  • Internet-capable mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop)
  • Projector, PC/ notebook

Further Literature on CRS

  • Derek Bruff (2009): Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments, San Francisco: Jossey Bass
  • Duncan, Douglas; Mazur, Eric (2005): Clickers in the classroom. How to enhance science teaching using classroom response systems. San Francisco: Pearson Education.
  • Mazur, Eric (1997). Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Examples and possible applications can also be found on Derek Bruff's blog: (19.02.2018)


For advice and media-didactic support on possible uses and application functions of classroom response systems, please contact Rosa Arnold, Digital Learning Specialist of the Leuphana Teaching Service.