Creating a flexible learning environment

Creating a flexible learning environment
Bridgewater State University
Location
Massachusetts
Size
1000+
Use case
Higher education

Poll Everywhere has really stepped up student engagement for our institution.

Eric LePage, Executive Director of the Teaching and Technology Center at Bridgewater State University, has seen how Poll Everywhere powers classroom engagement over the last several years. “Poll Everywhere helps bring students with their devices back to being focused on the course content.”

Empowering faculty with tools for success

At the Teaching and Technology Center, Eric and team provide faculty support for various applications, such as the Blackboard learning management system and other tools like Poll Everywhere. “We’ve had faculty interest in polling for years now. We used to use clickers, but I thought there had to be a better way of going about it, especially with how prolific smartphones and other devices are in our students’ hands. When I came across Poll Everywhere, I thought it might be a good fit for us.”

After launching a pilot program about four years ago, Eric has seen significant, growing interest from faculty. “Our early adopters were those who are willing to try just about anything. One faculty member in particular has been our most prolific user. He has been using it for attendance purposes to touch base with his students, but also for low-stakes quizzing with the Blackboard LMS integration. Every few weeks, he’ll come to us with questions on new ways to use Poll Everywhere. He’s been great at pushing the envelope for us.”

To drive faculty adoption, Eric’s team leads trainings and workshops on different ways to use the tool. “We started by running a lot of our own training sessions and a Poll Everywhere representative did an on-campus training for us as well, which was very helpful. Since then, we’ve been consistently rolling out trainings to our faculty every semester.”

At these sessions, the team goes over Poll Everywhere basics and sets faculty members up for success.

We show off the most commonly used activity types, like multiple choice and word clouds, to whet their appetites. Then, we introduce other features that are available. Faculty just go off and implement it. It’s so easy to use that they pick it up quickly.

Promoting active learning

Based on attendance at these sessions, interest has been across the board, from business to science and math to humanities. “We have faculty who are using Poll Everywhere to make sure students are understanding the material as a quick check-in. If a strong majority of students understood a particular topic, they can move on to the next one. Poll Everywhere has been a quick way to engage.”

In terms of the student perspective, they can easily turn the devices they already have on hand into learning tools. “Students like that they can use their smartphones in their classes to interact with the instructor. It makes the class more engaging for them — rather than being passive participants, they feel like they can be more actively involved in class discussions.”

With the move to distance learning, Eric had to manage a drastic shift in workflows and the adoption of many new online tools. “My office was certainly hit hard by the pandemic because we do a lot of online faculty support, so it was a heavy challenge for us. Once we got past the spring semester, we could refocus and start actively promoting Poll Everywhere again. I’m super grateful to our Customer Success Manager for running three Poll Everywhere training sessions this summer, which has been really helpful for us.”

At the moment, there are a number of classes planned to have some on-campus presence, so Poll Everywhere might be of interest to those folks, but we also want to promote it as an online teaching tool. It’s a great way to engage students in an online setting too.

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