Classroom Response Systems

Classroom response systems enhance the interaction between students and teachers, especially in larger classes (30 students or more).

Features and Benefits: 
PRS Cricket Transmitter

With classroom response, you pose multiple-choice or true-false questions to your class, and students use personal transmitters or “clickers” to send private responses.

Students are therefore much less reluctant to respond in class, and even find it fun to participate. More importantly, they are engaged in a way that encourages them to think more deeply about the class presentation.

A receiver attached to your computer collects student responses. The classroom response software tabulates the responses and displays a summary as a graph, PRS Results which you can use to stimulate class discussion and thereby greater understanding. For example, when there is no consensus on the answer, a common practice is to use peer instruction, where the students talk to their immediate neighbors about their answers, after which you re-ask the question.

Questions don't necessarily have to have a correct answer, either. Indeterminate or controversial subjects can be introduced by first displaying student opinions on the matter. You might then ask one representative from each perspective to hold forth; from the graph, they know they have some supporters in the room!

While student responses are private, they are not necessarily anonymous; you can choose to track student identity for monitoring, attendance, or grading purposes. A roster for designated classes can be quickly downloaded and applied to the classroom response software.

You can hear more about classroom response in this NPR story. You can also read more about its effectiveness in this Science research study.


To use a classroom response system, you must arrange for a receiver to be installed in your classroom. Students must visit Seeley Mudd 109 to check out a personal transmitter, and return it by the end of the semester.

All of the personal transmitters currently have lights with distinct patterns to confirm receipt of a student’s response. If necessary, an accessible transmitter that vibrates can be provided for students that cannot distinguish the lights. Many of the transmitters already include Braille next to the buttons.

Moodle-based iPal is an alternative to dedicated hardware that depends on students using smart phones, iPads, or laptops to respond (borrowing arrangements can be made if they don’t have their own). These devices provide accessibility to disabled students through specialized applications such as TapTapSee and Jaws.

Getting Started: 

Send e-mail to Andy Anderson, or call x2255.

Audio/Video Equipment Loans

Seeley Mudd 110

Multimedia Services circulates a wide variety of A/V equipment for student academic use and for faculty, staff, and events. 

Microphone and Camcorder

Equipment is restricted to the Amherst College community, and to 5-College students taking a class at Amherst College that requires use of equipment. Because of high demand, video cameras, audio recorders and related production equipment are restricted to course-related projects. Faculty approval must be obtained.

See our List of Circulating Audio Visual Equipment

Other equipment may be available by request.

Contact John Kunhardt or Peter Marvin with questions or for more details about the audiovisual equipment available.


Submit the Request for Loaner Equipment Form at least one business day in advance. We do not accept walk-in, on-the-spot requests! Requests received after noon on Friday will not be processed until Monday. Please plan ahead.

PRS clickers are the one exception to our no walk-in policy. Clickers can be picked up in Seeley Mudd 110 any time, Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm.

Faculty: Please arrange for delivery if you need equipment in your classroom.  


After receiving a confirmation message, requested equipment must be picked up in Seeley Mudd 110, Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm. You are responsible to tell us if you notice anything out of the ordinary before the equipment goes out.

Please allow for at least 20 minutes to check out equipment. 


Specific item loan periods are based on availability, type of use, and demand. Audio and video equipment is generally available for a 3-4 day period as follows:

Checkout MONDAY after 1pm, return THURSDAY before 12pm

Checkout THURSDAY after 1pm, return MONDAY before 12pm

If you’ve reserved the equipment for Monday, but don’t pick up until Wednesday, the gear is still due by noon on Thursday.


In a limited way we also support student organization requests. See our student organization equipment borrowing policies and procedures.

Five College Students