Frequently Asked Questions about Clickers (zappers)

What are the current known bugs?

The key problem now (2017) is not a bug, but an issue caused by changes to Turning Point’s business model. For the past few years the University has used Turning Point 5.2 with PowerPoint for Windows and clicker handsets. Turning Point 7/8 requires tutors to purchase an annual licence, create an instructor account and log in every time they use it. The key benefit is that this also enables students to vote online using ResponseWare on their own mobile devices – and this offers many practical and educational advantages compared with voting using clickers. But it does mean instructors will have to find funding for that licence.

We cannot continue Turning Point 5 indefinitely as it is not supported for use with Windows 10 and Office 2017. In addition, the clickers are aging and becoming less reliable, and several USB receivers have failed and cannot been replaced.

Hyperlinks cause issues

Here’s a nasty bug – if you have hyperlinks in your PowerPoint slides and use them to access websites or jump to other slides during your presentation, PowerPoint will always crash on the next voting slide. So, don’t use hyperlinks and voting in the same slideshow.

Slideshows with animated transitions

The next bug only affects people who use those cheesy PowerPoint template styles that have animation built-in: they may cause polling to close after a moment, before anyone gets a chance to vote. Use a non-animated template for teaching.

In general, don’t add any animated objects or text to voting slides as they will probably mess them up. It’s fine to have all the animation you want on other slides in that presentation. You should also avoid having fancy slide transitions on voting slides.

How do I use clickers (zappers) in a lecture?

You can install the Turning Point software on your office PC so that you can add the special question slides to a Powerpoint presentation. Save the file to your My Documents folder, which should be accessible from the PCs installed in Common learning Space lecture rooms. Alternatively, copy it to a USB flash drive and take it with you.

You will need to borrow the clicker system (USB receiver and handsets) from your academic unit, assuming they have some.

A PowerPoint tutorial is available that shows you how to use clickers in a Common Learning Space, from start to finish.

What if the lecture room does not have a PC?

You will have to install Turning Point on a laptop PC and take it with you.

What if I am an Apple Mac user?

The latest version of Turning Point (version 8) works with MacOS and Office 2017, but you will need to purchase an annual instructor licence.

None of the clickers work!

The most likely problem is that you opened your presentation using PowerPoint rather than Turning Point – for example by double-clicking on the .ppt file. Its an easy mistake to make!

Solution: close PowerPoint, start Turning Point and open your presentation again.

I did use Turning Point, but they still don’t work!

The problem is probably the USB receiver – Windows occasionally doesn’t recognise it when you plug it in. You should always plug it in first, before starting Turning Point.

Solution: unplug the USB receiver, wait a couple of seconds, plug it back in again and try again

The receiver won’t install!

In some rare circumstances we have found that the receiver will work in one of a laptop’s USB ports but not in another. In one instance we found that the plastic casing was preventing the receiver from plugging in correctly.

Solution: try another USB port or use a USB extension cable (now provided with all loan receivers)

Some handsets don’t seem to be working!

Normally, when a student votes the light on the clicker handset flashes green to indicate a successful vote. If it flashes red and green, then there is a problem. Usually this means that the clicker is not on the same ‘channel’ (frequency) as the receiver. The most likely cause is students fiddling with the handset buttons and accidentally changing the channel.

Solution: the easiest solution is to give the student another handset. Alternatively, they can reset their handset to channel 41 (the default).

Resetting the handset to channel 41

You can quickly reset the handset channel and get it working again.

Procedure: with the USB receiver plugged in and Turning Point active:

  1. press the GO button on the handset. Wait a moment and the light will flash red/green.
  2. Press 4 and then 1 (for channel 41) and then press GO again to confirm your selection. Don’t rush – make each button press firm and distinct.

How do I add equations to a question or its answers?

See this advice page: Adding equations to Turning Point quizzes