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I would like to choose some random students in class to answer questions.

I don't want to make some students feel that they are targeted. So I used to use a software to choose random student name.

But the problem is that who comes to class is a bit random. Many registered students do not show up. So the software often chooses name of student who is not there, which wastes a bit of time.

How do you choose students to answer questions?

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    $\begingroup$ I have them fill out 3x5 cards on the first day, which I use for other purposes too. I shuffle and call from those. It's very quick to skip those absent. $\endgroup$ – Sue VanHattum Sep 8 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ Is this a school classroom or a mass lecture at a university? $\endgroup$ – Tommi Sep 9 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ It's university class. About 30-40 students usually come. $\endgroup$ – ablmf Sep 9 at 12:53
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One of the classes I took that I remember most fondly was a Differential Equations class, in which the number of assigned homework problems equaled the number of students in the class. (Granted, there were only 18 students in the class.)

The assigned classroom had blackboards on three sides of the room. Typically, the classes would begin with the professor randomly assigning one assigned problems to each student in the class, after which we would all go to the board and write our solution to the assigned problem. No one was to "sign" their name to their solution, and if they had gotten stuck trying to complete the assigned problem, they could show their work, and write questions about how to proceed. After doing so, the class would discuss the solutions and problem-solve any unsolved problems.

Everyone, in other words, was targeted every class period, though, in fact, everyone felt responsible to come to class prepared.

This is not feasible in a lecture hall, of course. In such large lectures, you can use your computer program, or preferably, Sue's suggestion of using $3\times 5$ index cards for each student in the class. Proceed during lectures, using only the index cards not previously naming someone who was called upon. Then, if time allows, start from the beginning.

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When facing hard problems, use easy solutions!

Step 1: Assign a number to each student in a systematic way (for example, from -ront-to-back, from-left-to-right attending to their seats)

Step 2: Generate a random number between $1$ and the number of people in your class

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly what I do. Just assign each seat a number and open up Random.org at the beginning of each class! $\endgroup$ – ruferd Sep 12 at 12:17
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Here are some options that might be feasible:

Use a deck of cards

You'll need two identical decks of cards to do this. At the beginning of each class, hand out a card to each student from Deck 1. Then, when you want to choose a student, shuffle Deck 2 and pick a random card.

You can either use a standard deck of playing cards, or make two sets of your own with just numbers on them. The second option means you can have any number you like, and also you can just hand them out in order and so know exactly how many people are there to choose from each time.

Get them to log into a system/fill out a form

If they have devices with them, you could get them to log into a computer system (eg a Desmos activity or Kahoot) or fill out a form (eg a Google form) each class. Then you can take the list of people logged in and choose from those names randomly each time.

One advantage of this is that you could make the filling out of the form part of the class. For example, you could ask them a formative question and collect responses from everyone, thus increasing participation from everyone. It could even make choosing a random student unnecessary, because you could choose from the several responses you have which you think the rest of the class needs to hear more about.

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