Adding excitement to university lectures

Adding excitement to university lectures
University of Derby
Use case
Higher education

In class, there’s nothing worse than asking a question and getting deafening silence in response. Poll Everywhere breaks that down.

David Bryson, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology and Photography at the University of Derby, uses Poll Everywhere to connect with students in class and remotely. “Because of our university-wide Poll Everywhere account, I can hear from everyone in the classroom, even if there are over a hundred students participating.”

Encouraging thoughtful engagement

Since Poll Everywhere was introduced to the University of Derby, David has become a champion of the tool and even created his own resource guide. “After the university established Poll Everywhere as our main student engagement platform, faculty members have been sharing their best practices with each other. Learning how to apply the software in your own lectures makes a big difference.”

For example, David encourages faculty to use a variety of visual Poll Everywhere activities for a more dynamic and interesting way of presenting content. “We’re always advised to make our online lectures social, but it’s usually up to the students to contribute to the ongoing chat. With a Poll Everywhere question, students can participate in a group activity that rounds out the lecture.”

One of David’s favorite activity types is the word cloud. “I like using word clouds for quick knowledge checks and risk assessments. With concepts that are harder to apply to everyday life, I pose questions that give students a chance to visualize them in simpler terms.”

Another helpful activity is the Q&A.

If you simply ask a question and have students respond in the chat, you can have hundreds of responses without any specific order. The beauty of the Q&A activity is that the most popular submissions rise to the top based on peers’ upvotes. As the instructor, you can start at the top and work your way down the list.

Creating a student-centered approach

From the student perspective, Poll Everywhere gives everyone a chance to speak up without turning on their cameras and microphones. “They become more engaged because they can gauge their own knowledge before being formally tested on it. Sometimes, I use similar questions to those in my Poll Everywhere activities in formal assessments to reinforce the concepts.”

David’s lectures come full circle with the results from his live activities. “At the end of a practical session where each student has created their own data, I can collect all the responses using Poll Everywhere and send it to students as a summary. After presenting word clouds, I can download all the screenshots and create a mini slideshow in the Learning Management System. Students can click through to review the results.”

Poll Everywhere has been a blessing in the classroom. At the end of my lectures, running a quick Competition gives students a chance to test their knowledge in a low-stakes environment. You can instantly hear the excitement in person or see their chat messages coming in during virtual classes.

Poll Everywhere for universities

Have meaningful conversations with your students in a virtual world.

Learn more