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Getting Students to Connect with Lecture and Each Other Using Poll Everywhere

Spring 2022
Facilitated by Jeff Saven, Chemistry, and Alex Weisiger, Political Science


Alex Weisiger, Poli Sci

  • Large class
  • Student didn’t have to log in and he didn’t integrate it with his gradebook; ungraded assignment
    • Typically gets at least half the students participating, and typically more
  • Sticks with mostly MC questions; found click-able images “funky”
  • “Why are you here” poll to understand students’ goals 
  • Used a question to gauge student views on international grade before discussions and recitations
  • Used show/signal what might be on the midterm and help students be prepared
  • Help students understand what they do and do not know and weigh different views before discussing it in class
  • Chooses to suppress answers until students vote or leaves up for students to vote while they are settling in
  • Things from the polls tend to be retained by students

Jeff Saven, Chemistry

  • Used in a yearlong seminar that supports students engaged in their own research
  • Goals: 
    • Giving students feedback from their class on their presentations on their research meant for a broad audience and whether they use visuals effectively
    • Help audience members pay closer attention/listen actively
    • Promote peer review
  • Uses Poll Everywhere surveys to gauge the feedback and gives 3-5 minutes for students to complete their feedback after the fact
  • Reports are generated at the end as a PDF and shared with presenters
  • Issue with students misrepresenting being in class and participating in the polls/surveys even if they were not there


  • Some reported issues with students insisting they participated even if it wasn’t recorded, when they used it for grading 
  • Some find that MC questions work the best; word clouds can be hard to manage in real time, though coaching students to use one word (or if they use phrases putting a hyphen between the words) or designing particular activities meant for this format worked better
  • Question about Jeff’s choice to share feedback that students get publicly; has there ever been questionable comments? Not yet, but scans the reports before posting them
    • Can be a teachable moment that Jeff would bring up in class if that does happen
  • Looking for better tools for peer review in Canvas, but Poll Everywhere feels very immediate, which is good; reporting functionality also works well for this purpose

Shared Resources

Closing Thoughts

  • We’ve seen two different uses of Poll Everywhere
  • How to set student expectations and help them understand how different types of activities contribute to their learning; is not necessarily busy work but meaningful work