And it supports many types of questions, so instructors aren’t limited to multiple-choice queries. For instance, responses to open-ended questions can be analyzed by creating a word cloud, and the system also supports numerical or ranking questions, as well as those involving diagrams—such as selecting a point on an image, or drawing a graph of a function.
In addition, the software shows the relative location of everyone in the room, so the instructor can see who gave a right or wrong response, as displayed by red or green icons on the instructor’s computer screen.
This allows the instructor to pair students who gave right and wrong answers more easily, which facilitates the peer instruction process, Mazur said.
Developed with funding from the National Science Foundation, Learning Catalytics is being used at Harvard as well as a large state school, a high school, and a medium-sized university, he said. It’s currently available by invitation only, but queries can be directed to Mazur at email@example.com.