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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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“Present!” Why Students Hate Clickers

The cashier stood laxly behind the counter, his face expressing a mixture of sympathy and amusement that was probably evoked by every helpless, frantic freshman that entered the university bookstore. Being a specimen of this category of frenetic freshmen, I glared at the small pristine box I had requested for him to show me.

“That’s…twenty dollars for a used one?” I asked, barely managing to restrain the whining intonation that was threatening to overtake my words. He shrugged and offered an apologetic grin. “Yeah, plus ten dollars for every class you register for.” Already soured by having to purchase textbooks that were enormously expensive, I did not feel too kindly towards the final item on my list, but I did grudgingly buy it. And so began my bitter, contemptuous relationship with my CPS Pulse Clicker.

Why such animosity toward such a diminutive, seemingly harmless device, even two years after I first encountered it? Firstly, it cannot do anything a good old attendance sheet can do.

Professors who require students to participate in responding to questions via clickers in order to take attendance not only waste time on typically redundant questions, but are also forcing their students to superfluously spend approximately thirty dollars on the device.

Sometimes the professor will demand that clickers be bought to the class, but will come to class every single day and apologize because they have not yet set up the CPS system.  Having to endure this sort of feckless behaviour from an Asian-American Studies professor for an entire semester, I was forever convinced of the uselessness of the clickers.

If attendance is mandatory, an attendance sheet works just as efficiently in the larger lecture classes. Unlike the clicker, it does not serve to distract students, use their money or take up class time.

Though the ineffectuality of clickers undoubtedly irks me, there is another aspect surrounding their existence on campus that is somewhat offensive. Clickers are primarily used to affirm whether a student has come to class or not, and like other forms of recording class attendance, I believe that this practice is unnecessary.

We are college students. The flippancy and lack of responsibility that is present prior to entering college are things we are supposed to shed as we begin to make our own decisions and answer for our own actions.

Mom is no longer going to be there to prod us awake for school, despite many groggy demands for “five more minutes.”  Since most of us are considered legal adults, we should be endowed with the responsibilites that come with being an adult, like being able to determine our presence, or lack thereof, in class. That means students should be left to judge if they should haul themselves out of bed to get to class, since they are old enough to make what should be the right decisions.

We should not have to be monitored by clickers or attendance sheets, since the majority of us are no longer fifteen years old.

Students are not acutely aware that they are indeed spending a considerable amount of money on their education, and skipping classes is equivalent to throwing hundreds of dollars away.

Professors should realize that the fact that we are spending money on classes is just one of many incentives to go to class.

Attendance can sometimes be affected by situations that are out of the student’s control, and if a day is missed, the student is sent on a wild goose chase to acquire the papers needed to legitimize their absence.

Determining a student’s grade purely on academic performance seems to be a better way to grade rather than taking attendance into account. This would eliminate the need for clickers, attendance sheets, and mad dashes to class on those mornings when the alarm clock decides not to ring.

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