Date of Completion


Document Type

Campus Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Carol Ann Sharicz


Specific programs at UMass Lowell utilize a personal response system (PRS) to track attendance and informally and sporadically assess engagement. The same technology is used by other departments to perform formal and informal credit bearing assessments. The problem is the technology is paid for by the students, and many students complain about the cost, which includes all possible uses of the technology, that most students never need. The current technology used for student engagement, attendance and proctored online testing has required ongoing man-hours to provide support and disappointed the larger percentage of its users by being unreliable and costly to students. A needs assessment was conducted with a focus group of faculty who currently use the technology to provide feedback about their needs and wants, likes and dislikes about the technology. The results informed an interview survey for other instructors, technical support staff and students. Literature was reviewed to determine the current studies in the field to determine the best next steps to provide information about alternatives to the Academic Technology team, who may or may not decide to do further research before bringing the topic back to the Academic Technology Committee, a committee of the UMass Lowell 2020 Strategic Planning Commission. The results of this research paper indicate that the majority of instructors want to use the technology to engage students for better outcomes more often than to track attendance or to provide an easily tracked participation grade.


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