Clicker review eInstruction Response
eInstruction is a company making clickers for audience response in lectures and seminars. This page is a review of the hardware clicker CPS Pulse and the accompanying software Response v6.71 (12/2012). The software appears to be mostly in Java and thus runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I'm testing on a Mac, so the comments may not extend to the other run-time environments.
Mac software: Response v6.71
- The installation is very cluttered. The application should limit itself to one directory but instead dumps often various files with subdirectories into no fewer than 4 different locations: home, applications, documents, and library folder. Couldn't be much messier!
- The name space for files is often too short. Are we still in the 8+3 era?
- Ignores the custom path during install. I selected Applications/eInstructions. The device manager was installed in a separate directory named eInstruction without s. What???
- The windows don't behave properly, for example, they cannot be minimized. And worse, a 2nd window can block another, e.g. preference pane makes the response bar inaccessible.
- The clicker control panel is oversized and largely empty. It is also always on top blocking what's underneath.
- The clicker panels break the Presenter View in Powerpoint. Whenever I start a question, it briefly exits from Presenter View and jitters back only if I click onto a Powerpoint window.
- The Powerpoint plugin ignores toolbar customization and instead always resets to default (toolbar position reverts, icon only resets to icon+text).
- Font is too small in the Powerpoint plugin window and there's no obvious preference command to increase it. On my MacBook Pro it looks like 6 or 7 point Arial.
- Deactivates common shortcuts like Cmd+W to close the question results summary window, for example.
- Clicker answers cannot be exported into a convenient format, i.e. a spreadsheet last allows for fast analysis and number crunching. Instead Response creates an export in a strange RTF format that only Word can convert and that is composed of table cells / text boxes rather than text. PDF export is also possible but similarly inconvenient.
- Clicker IDs are not ordered in Response exports which makes them hard to compare.
- Points are not counted in the data output despite the ratio of correct answers being listed.