A new paper published in the Journal of Political Science Education written by Dr. Ivan Dinev Ivanov, associate professor educator at the University of Cincinnati, reveals how web-based interactive student response systems (SRS) improve performance in large introductory international relations courses. Furthermore, the paper outlines the benefits of switching from first-generation clicker-based systems to second generation web-based systems such as Echo360 and the impact it has on student learning.

Using data collected during courses conducted between 2013 and 2018, Dr. Ivanov writes that students in courses using second-generation web-based SRS tend to perform better on midterm exams and the overall grade, at least in comparison to offerings not using SRS or those using first-generation “clicker”-based SRS.

Some of the key findings include:

  • The student engagement features in Echo360 helped maintain an average student performance at about 80% and higher in two midterm exams, a final exam, and an essay.
  • Echo360’s interactive polling features also helped to lower the DFW rate and helped minimize variations in student performance across the different exams.
  • The data analysis shows that, in comparison to clicker-based SRS, students enrolled in sections using Echo 360 tend to improve their grades on the first midterm exam by about 4.4% and by about 11.7% on the second midterm exam.

Dr. Ivanov suggests that improved analytics in Echo360 can contribute to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL). The technology can be used to assist in developing models that not only can accurately predict student performance early in the semester, but can also develop an early warning system for at-risk students that can be used by instructors and student advisors to correct learning habits before it is too late. Finally, he argues in favor of the use of laptops and other mobile devices in the classroom strictly for academic purposes that include interaction via web-based SRS and other platforms.

“Instructors should feel confident to allow the use of laptops and web-based SRS technology as there is no evidence that accessing the Internet during class time would affect negatively student performance in these classes.”

Read Dr. Ivanov’s full article, The Use of Interactive Student Response Technology in an Introductory International Relations Course published in the Journal of Political Science Education.