Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex

Student Response Systems (Poll Everywhere)

Students in lecture

Student response systems are classroom tools that allow you to quickly and easily pose question and polls to gather real-time feedback and answers from your students in order to encourage engagement and communication within teaching sessions. Anonymous voting can increase interactivity and engagement particularly in large group settings by letting everyone attempt a question without embarrassment - this can be particularly helpful for shy students and those for whom English is not their first language.

How can I use a student response systems to enhance engagement and learning?

A question at the beginning of a lecture - As an ‘ice-breaker’ or to establish pre-existing understanding or knowledge.

Questions during a lecture to check understanding - Enables you to to gauge students’ grasp of key concepts and highlight misconceptions or areas of misunderstanding that need to be readdressed. When the responses are displayed students can be reassured, either that they have the correct answer or that they are not alone in their misunderstanding.

Gathering feedback - Quickly and easily generate feedback from students ‘on-the-fly’, for example on the pace of a lecture or what topics students would like to revisit.

Think-pair-share activity - Students are shown a question, they answer it individually and are shown the results but not the answer. Students then discuss the question in small groups for 1-2 minutes then vote again. The new results are shown and the topic is opened up for discussion and if necessary the tutor explains the correct answer if there is one.

Picture questions - Using images can add some variety to a set of questions, and in some disciplines it is particularly useful to have students choose between graphic rather than textual answers to a question.

Students writing questions - Students can test out questions they have prepared for a research project or write their own multiple-choice questions to help them to think about the complexities of a topic.

Revision sessions - Firstly identify the areas that students would like to cover then create short quizzes around these topics so that students can test their knowledge and discover which areas they need to readdress.

Research into the use of polling systems

Hassanin, H et al. (2016), 'Enhancement of student learning and feedback of large group engineering lectures using audience response systems', Journal of Materials Education, 38 (5-6), pp. 175-190

Hooker, J.F. (2016), ‘The development and validation of the student response system benefit scale’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 32 (2), pp. 120-127

Walklet, E. (2016), ‘The Impact of Student Response Systems on the Learning Experience of Undergraduate Psychology Students’, Psychology Teaching Review, 22 (1), pp. 1-32

Voelkel, S. and Bennett, D. (2013) , 'New uses for a familiar technology: introducing mobile phone polling in large classes', Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51 (1), pp. 46-58

What technologies can I use for in-class polling and quizzes?

There are several mobile response systems that staff can make use of to encourage engagement during teaching sessions. The University of Sussex has an institutional licence for Poll Everywhere, the University’s recommended student response system. Poll Everywhere makes use of students' own devices (laptops,smartphones or tablets) for responding to questions and provides you with a range of question types to prompt discussion and engage students. Other free-to-use tools include Socrative and Plickers.


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