Polling tools are a great way to break up a lecture and to get students thinking and interacting, while enabling you to more effectively support their learning through gaining valuable information on their understanding (Trumbull and Lash, 2013).
The use of polling tools typically involves the teacher asking questions for which immediate feedback is provided. Initially, students response systems used dedicated devices or 'clickers', but today they increasingly make use of students' smartphones. There are now a large number of web services that allow teachers to ask multiple-choice questions to their students, collect the responses anonymously in real time and display a summary of the results.
Vevox has a lot of functionalities and it combines multiple choice, free text and word cloud polls with end-of-event feedback surveys.
The University has an unlimited number of licences for Vevox, so there is no cost.
Please note that Vevox currently provide a plugin for Mac PowerPoint (or Keynote). The Vevox add-in is available for PowerPoint version 16.62 onward. There is a Mac plugin in alternative web-based polling systems such as Participoll and Poll Everywhere, but these are not centrally supported by Oxford University. In particular, you should not share or ask for any personal data if using those polling tools. You can download and install the Vevox plugin for Microsoft PowerPoint, but this requires administrator rights to install software on your machine.
Benefits for teaching and learning
- Polling tools help students participate and focus in lectures.
- They give all students a voice. Even in large lecture theatres, audience response encourages everyone to participate and contribute. It can give those who might otherwise feel too intimidated a chance to get involved (Farrow, 2017).
- Polling tools instantly identify any gaps in your students' knowledge and track how their understanding changes during a lecture or over a whole course. You could even use it to collect feedback on your lecture.
Teachers using software, clickers, and related technology should be aware of student accessibility concerns. Consider alternative provision or additional support for those who are technologically inexperienced or barred from maintaining their own electronic devices.