iClicker Frequency Shifts

How do you prevent nearby receivers and clickers from interfering with each other?

The iClicker base units can be set to any of 16 different sub-frequencies to prevent interference with nearby classrooms if two instructors are using iClicker in close proximity. The default frequency is set to AA for both the base and the student remotes. If a sub-frequency (e.g. BA) is needed to avoid interference, instructors can change their sub-frequency via iClicker's Settings/Preferences. If they do select a different frequency, a message with instructions for students will appear on the screen when they begin polling. Instructors can also disable this frequency alert via Settings and Preferences. For more information and instructions, consult the User Guide, available in the Downloads area of our website at www.iclicker.com.

For administrators in institutional/centralized adoptions, iClicker can also deliver “fixed frequency” bases that prevent individual instructors from changing the sub-frequency themselves. This solution is attractive to schools interested in installing the bases into set classrooms and coordinating sub-frequency channels institutionally. The fixed frequency bases are slightly different in firmware and we provide administrators with a small executable for “hard-coding” the sub-frequency. The process is quite trivial. Contact sales@iclicker.com for more information about this option.

How do students change their remote frequency?

If you (or an instructor) has chosen a non-standard frequency (e.g. BA), iClicker will alert students to this change when the instructor begins polling. Students will be instructed to:

  1. Press the On/Off (power) button on their iClicker remote until the blue Power light begins flashing (about 2 seconds).
  2. Press the new two-letter code (as designated by either the instructor or you, the administrator). A green Vote Status light will indicate students have successfully reset their remote frequency.

The entire process takes about 3 seconds. This code will remain in place for the duration of the lecture/session (as long as the remote is on). Students will need to repeat this procedure for every lecture, which is why setting one code for the entire term will be easier to administer and communicate. Directions for changing a remote’s frequency are on the back of every remote. Instructors may also adjust or disable the frequency change alert preferences via Settings/Preferences.

Changing the remote frequency seems like a hassle. Why can’t the receiver “find” the remotes automatically?

The iClicker system has a unique protocol—that is, a unique way for the receiver and remotes communicate with each other. We considered adopting a protocol similar to competing systems, where the receiver would automatically find the frequency for the students. But our preliminary research directed us to rethink the approach. Our initial reviewer board (users of competing systems) all complained about students being required to register before voting could occur—they felt they lost 2-3 classes just trying to get students registered. So, we wanted to make sure i>clicker could collect and record votes regardless of whether the students were registered or not. Another aggravation consistently voiced by the reviewer board was the daily log-in procedure in which remotes must be “acknowledged” by the receiver before the remote can vote in the session. So, like the forced registration, we wanted to eliminate the daily log-in. Why do we explain all of this? Because these are the reasons we chose a protocol that requires students to change the remote frequency. We feel that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks because today’s students are generally very tech savvy, and even those who are not can easily find the directions to change their frequency on the back of their remotes.

Why would students need to bother with changing frequencies at all?

Changing the operating frequency prevents interference with nearby classrooms. All radio frequency response systems must offer varying frequencies in order to keep votes contained in the intended classroom. But faculty only need to change the frequency if another iClicker user is in a nearby room.