CRS Systems List

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As of January 2004. Slightly updated May 2006, but needs a thorough overhaul.

This list includes dedicated classroom response/communication systems, as well as presentation and distance learning systems that have question-posing, response-gathering functionality. If you know of a system we haven’t listed here, please let us know and tell us where to find more information.

Opinions and notes about the various systems are our current impressions only. Many are based on only a shallow review of online literature, and may not do justice to the system. They are included here to help the reader (and ourselves) begin to categorize and make sense of the myriad options available.

Commercial

Calculator Clients (proprietary network)

Better Education Classtalk (Discontinued)

The granddaddy of CCS… Ahead of its time with its rich feature set and pedagogic support, but plagued by a finicky proprietary network and fragile software. No longer in use at UMass.

Texas Instruments TI-Navigator

A wired-plus-wireless network for connecting TI graphing calculators to a teacher’s computer in order to distribute problem sets, share results, etc. Aimed primarily at the K-12 market. Not suitable for large university classes.

Proprietary, Dedicated Clients (mostly infrared-based)

GTCO CalComp InterWrite PRS

Infrared system using a proprietary remote control (“clicker”), supporting only multiple-choice answers with low/normal/high confidence level. They’ve just come out with a new RF-based system that looks pretty darn nice, and we’ve chosen it for our TEFA-TL project. Control software now runs on Mac as well as Windows. Used extensively at UMass.

eInstruction CPS

Similar to PRS, though we found annyoing shortcomings in the software (possibly resolved by the time you read this: the software is under active development).

Hyper-Interactive Teaching Technology (H-ITT)

Supposedly an alternative to PRS with much less expensive “clickers”

Promethean ACTIVote

Qwizdom

Laptop/Tablet/Palmtop Clients (Ethernet/WiFi)

ETS Discourse

Silicon Chalk

eLearning Dynamics Pocket Classroom & LearnTrac

PDA-based CCS (Pocket Classroom is for iPaq-type devices, LearnTrac is for PalmOS devices) with relatively simple polling, statistical reporting, and messaging capabilities.

LearnStar

Hewlett-Packard Virtual Classroom

DyKnow

Essentially a shared-whiteboard system, sending contents of an instructor’s electronic whiteboard (or tablet PC) to students and allowing students’ drawings to be returned to the instructor or shared with the class. Claims some support for multiple-choice questions with answer reporting to the instructor, as well as assignment-submission and grading. MS Windows only.

Noncommercial/Home-Grown

University of North Carolina at Wilmington Numina

University of Washington Classroom Presenter

Primarily presentation software (PowerPoint on steroids) taking advantage of the tablet PC’s inking abilities. Has added some support for sending questions to a class and gathering answers, by means of multiple-choice questions that are “inked” to indicate an answer, and gathered back to the instructor. Not a full-featured CCS in the classic sense.

Erskine College Beyond Question

University of California at San Diego ActiveClass

Purdue Sledgehammer;Purdue Sledgehammer

PDA-based CCS under development, not yet for distribution or public use.