Polls are a simple tool that can be used for teaching in an online, hybrid, or face-to-face class. Many educational platforms offer a poll tool of some sort, from Zoom to UMMoodle. At an online meet-up on 19 August, Prof. Mingming Zhou and I offered practical tips and shared examples of different ways to use polls for teaching. In the meet-up, colleagues who are new to polls, which are called “questionnaires” in UMMoodle, were walked through the process of setting up an activity in UMMoodle.
There are three tips from this third meet-up in the series “Tech-Enhanced Teaching and Learning Meet-ups: Enhancing In-Class and Online Learning” that I would like to share in this post.
The first essential point made at the meet-up has to be that for polls to have a positive impact on student learning, a poll needs to have an educational purpose. When the purpose of a poll is to engage students in course content and or identify misconceptions in students’ understanding of key ideas, the question prompts need to be relevant to course material. For instance, the first question of a poll might require students to answer a topical or easy question. An initial easy question can help focus students’ attention on a topic, especially when a poll reveals divergent views. It should be noted that polls on topical issues may be more effective when the polls are anonymous. A more challenging follow-up question can be used to stimulate thinking or discussion. Well-designed questions which reveal a range of views can help serve as a catalyst for more meaningful discussions in which deeper learning can take place.
One more thing UM colleagues should know about polls, that is “questionnaires” in UMMoodle, is that there are a few ways to save time. First, we quickly make polls by reusing questions that have been created. Setting up one’s first poll with two multiple-choice questions might take a few minutes but the second poll can be created and revised quickly using a few shortcuts. It is not widely known that in UMMoodle every questionnaire a teacher makes can be used as a template for another questionnaire, including a student feedback survey.
The last thing you should know is that students seem to benefit from reminders and notifications for upcoming polls. In fact, an instructor can create an automatic reminder for every student in a UMMoodle course with a few clicks in the settings of a questionnaire. Then, when the due date for an activity has been set, students in a course will receive a notification or email one day before the activity is due. To set this up for a questionnaire, go to the settings. When the completion tracking is enabled and a due date is set, a reminder will be created on the course calendar and students will be notified one day before the activity is to be completed.
For colleagues who would like more practical teaching ideas for instructors in the humanities and sciences are described in greater detail in articles and books by Dr. Derek Bok.
A video recording of the online meet-up on 19 August is here. (Login Required)
Resources and links:
If you have questions about designing educational activities in UMMoodle and would like an appointment, please contact Chris Fulton at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 4574. For technical assistance with UMMoodle or IT systems at UM, please contact the ICTO Help Desk at 8822-8600.
Colleagues are invited to register for upcoming online meet-ups. More information is available at ctle.um.edu.mo/events.