American Journal of Physics 74(1), 31-39.
Classroom response systems (CRSs) can be potent tools for teaching physics. Their efficacy, however, depends strongly on the quality of the questions used. Creating effective questions is difficult, and differs from creating exam and homework problems. Every CRS question should have an explicit pedagogic purpose consisting of a content goal, a process goal, and a metacognitive goal. Questions can be engineered to fulfil their purpose through four complementary mechanisms: directing students' attention, stimulating specific cognitive processes, communicating information to instructor and students via CRS-tabulated answer counts, and facilitating the articulation and confrontation of ideas. We identify several tactics that help in the design of potent questions, and present four "makeovers" showing how these tactics can be used to convert traditional physics questions into more powerful CRS questions
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Based upon a talk given by Ian Beatty at the Winter 2005 AAPT meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (This paper replaces beatty-2005deq, which was the preprint version.)