Skip to main content

The Benefits of Using Clickers in Small-Enrollment Seminar-Style Biology Courses

CU icon
Type: Article
Author(s): Michelle K. Smith, Caleb Trujillo, and Tin Tin Su
Published: CBE Life Sci Educ., 2011
Read Online


Although the use of clickers and peer discussion is becoming common in large-lecture undergraduate biology courses, their use is limited in small-enrollment seminar-style courses. To investigate whether facilitating peer discussion with clickers would add value to a small-enrollment seminar-style course, we evaluated their usefulness in an 11-student Embryology course at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Student performance data, observations of peer discussion, and interviews with students revealed that adding clickers to a small-enrollment course 1) increases the chance students will do the required reading before class, 2) helps the instructor engage all students in the class, and 3) gives students a focused opportunity to share thinking and to learn from their peers.


Freely Available


I³: Towards a Center for STEM Education