We are now collecting case studies on our University of Leeds dedicated website: the Casebook. Search for e-voting if you would like to see the current submissions, but it is a good idea to have a look at other uses of technology for Learning and Teaching by browsing the other case studies, too. If you have a new case study to submit, please fill in this online form.
- Why use e-voting? (video training)
- Dr. David Lewis' presentation on his own use of e-voting (given at Hands on the Future, 2011)
- Paul Arnold and Dragos Ciobanu's ALT-C 2010 presentation on embedding e-voting into the design of the face-to-face element of a module
- Using e-voting with interactive tablets in face-to-face sessions (video)
Used in the first lecture of a module with 1st year students to survey their prior knowledge.
Used in the last lecture of the same module to assess how well the students had grasped the main concepts
In each case the use of the system occupied the whole hour, with a set of about 12 questions used each time. Since students had not used the system before, the workings were explained and a simple test question like ‘what is the title of this module’ was used to give practice.
MCQ questions were then posed on the screen and students voted with their choice of answer. Once the students had finished voting, I showed them the distribution of answers, before revealing the correct answer. Sometimes I asked them to justify /explain their answer before revealing the right answer.
If time had permitted, on some questions where the students’ response was split between 2 main answers, I would like to have asked the students to discuss further with their neighbour, and take the vote again. (A bit like doing a 50:50). This would help them focus on the real crux of the issue and attempt to dispel common misunderstandings.
In all questions I allowed the students to look at their notes and discuss with each other, to give them confidence and to aid learning (as the more they talk about the subject the more they refine their thinking). Once the answer of each question was revealed I gave a brief explanation to ensure key learning was consolidated.
Handsets were given out as students entered the room and collected by passing forwards in the lecture theatre, with the students on the front row packing them back in the cases.
The students seemed to enjoy the novelty of the situation. They definitely like it when the answer is revealed, to see if they got it right. Allowing students to discuss the answers ensures all can get started.
With 100 students it seemed to take a minute or more for everyone to vote, so if the question is too easy they can get bored. For difficult questions I set the time counter to 10 mins to let the students think, and then vote when ready. I could then stop the timer when all (or enough) had voted.
In the revision session I handed out the questions on paper, as well as displaying the current question on screen for voting. This allowed students who found it easy to move on to later questions.
Getting the level of the question right is crucial, so as not to be delayed by students solving / discussing the problem if it is difficult, or not to be delayed by the voting system if the question is easy.
For 100 students I needed 4 boxes of handsets and a laptop, and an extension lead to enable everything to be plugged in. This is a lot of equipment to carry and I needed help. As more lecture theatres have the PRS software installed, this will reduce the need for a laptop. Also if we find more uses for the system within the school, we will purchase our own handsets. All of this will make managing and carrying equipment easier, and would make it worthwhile for shorter sessions, or short bursts in more sessions.
Enterprise and Innovation Day – Gala Dinner. Voting for the 10 ways the University of Leeds changed the world.
There were 250 dinner guests.
There was a presentation of the 10 Ways the University had changed the world and then guests were asked to interactively vote for their favourite nominee.
We then invited the guests to vote group by group, to ensure that all clicks were recognised and counted.
I thought the whole experience was excellent. The only other thing I would like to express is that it took me a great deal of time to actually establish that we had this system in-house within the University. I am afraid that it really isn’t that well advertised at all which is a shame as there must be the scope for a great deal of use within the University throughout the year.
We don’t have any future plans to use the system again but should we need something like this again we would definitely get in touch.
Computer Networking Malware
Essentially, the students were asked questions about malware. They were given official notes from CAIDA and asked to look up the answers in these notes then vote using the voting machines.
Feedback was not as good as expected though the class seemed to enjoy the experience
May be used further though with an introduction lecture to malware brought in.
‘Your Second Year’ – advice for first year History students about choosing modules & career-related opportunities in their second year
Approximately 250 first year students
Briefly, it comprised two parts.
The session started with a presentation about what modules the students have to take in their second year, what to consider when choosing them, and how they go about enrolling for them.
The second section was about careers, firstly on what careers they think you can do with a History degree, where graduates have gone, and opportunities in the School to gain experience and get careers advice.
The system was used in each of the two parts.
In part one, to ask the students what factors would influence their choice of module. The result of this was then used to elaborate on where they could get information relating to that factor, and the strengths & weaknesses of considering that factor alone.
In part two, it was used to ask the students what career a History degree could lead to. This was followed up by a presentation of the career destinations of History graduates. In this case most felt that it didn’t lead to a career, and so we were able to challenge this with the data that followed.
Deciding what range of answers to give students proved to be a key factor in the success of e-voting in the lecture. In the first instance it was used, one of the options provided was too generic and nearly all the students chose it, which made the follow up elaboration seem a bit contrived.
In the second instance, the choices were more distinct and proved a very useful poll to then follow up with real data, highlighting the differences between their current opinion about careers for History students and the reality.
We’d definitely use this again, as it provided useful refreshers in a 90 minute lecture.
We’d tweak the questions so that the students are required to make slightly harder choices.
Library session with third-year Design undergraduates on the subject of their dissertation
I covered the following issues:
Overall the voting met with an enthusiastic response. The students had to sit still for 30-40 mins, with their lecturer providing information on what was expected of a dissertation. To then have a librarian with zappers to play with provided a bit of light relief.
I have to say that a number of students did not know how to search for a journal article using the library catalogue - most thought that you should search by author or article title, rather than journal title.
The question about Boolean logic also met with a mixed response, but I think that the question was not very clear, and will therefore try to revise this next time.
It was interesting to note the dynamics of the second group, which had a higher proportion of males than in the first group (almost entirely female). The males would murmur "Yes" every time I asked for audience participation, and a further "Yes" if they had then got that question correct.
I will certainly use this method again with large groups as it does encourage interaction and makes students pay attention. It also enables me to have knowledge of what they do know, and what they don't, which can be incorporated into future training sessions.
Learning in Psychology
It was the final lecture in the module and mainly focused on revision of major topic areas.
Used it as a mock exam with formative feedback
The students liked it as it makes the lecture more interactive.
No plans yet but may and also use it for another mock exam.
Approx 100 students in total – mixture of undergraduates and postgraduates
I would certainly use e-voting again, it's a great way of encouraging student participation in a lecture and checking that you have been understood.
Russian parliamentary elections 2007
Mock election debate between candidates followed by use of PRS
Candidates made speeches followed by the first round of voting. The subsequent debate between candidates was then followed by the second round of voting.
Very worthwhile. Debate and voting posted on You Tube with lots of subsequent hits. Students enjoyed using the equipment.
Will recommend to other staff for their use. Will use again during Russian election cycle.
Mid Semester Formative Quiz
A quiz consisting of 25 questions was delivered using PRS via PowerPoint. Multiple choice questions were used. The timing of the quiz was chosen to be week 8 of semester 2, as this was the final session before the Easter break. The session was planned to provide students with an awareness of their learning at this point in the module and to help them focus on areas requiring further work.
Following each question, the answer was discussed to provide feedback to all students.
The students clearly enjoyed the session as it provided a fun way to assess their knowledge and understanding at this particular stage in the module. It raised the awareness for some students that they hadn’t understood everything as well as they had thought.
I intend to use the quiz format in future academic sessions and may use the PRS system in session 1 of the module to assess the knowledge and understanding of key issues required for this module.
Course: Post graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
Module : Essentials of Learning and Assessment
Session: Integrating Technology into to your Teaching : Using web resources.
Two groups of 25
The PRS is used to challenge participants' assumptions and to survey and explore existing behaviours.
The content of the session covers the use of web resources in teaching. The PRS system is used when focusing on the copyright issues surrounding using, copying, distributing and republishing material and images found on the web.
Participants are offered a number of teaching scenarios to consider and asked to decide whether the protagonist is contravening copyright law. Participants consider all the scenarios for about ten minutes on their own, and are then asked to vote publicly on each.
The topic 'copyright' has, in the past, been greeted without enthusiasm by the group. The use of the PRS resulted in a lively (and lengthy) discussion around the scenarios and exploration amongst the group of shared assumptions and knowledge of licences and law. The session was mentioned specifically by participants in the module feedback.
An additional outcome is that participants of the group expressed interest in using the system in their own teaching.
The system will definitely be used again to liven up sessions on this topic.
Statistics for Biosciences
Up to 180
Overview of the statistical techniques covered in the practical session that week.
Demonstration of software.
Powerpoint description of method/technique in some sessions.
The system was used to test the response and question types that could be utilised in a large RSB lecture theatre.
Students would have an opportunity to test their understanding of the content / technique.
This was very much an experimental use.
This course may run differently next year but. I would like to try more formal use i.e. not simple test of technique, for future material for a formal lecture series or utilise in a tutorial scenario, possibly within a cluster practical.
Investigate the import / export of IMS QTI standard assessment questions.
Investigate confidence based responses with registered handsets to rank students in small tests.
Teaching large classes.
This session aims to stimulate participants to think of strategies for teaching large groups. Looking specifically at the nature of lecturing and explaining and touching on student motivation to learn, interactivity in classrooms, student attention spans and the feedback teachers can gather about how a large class is learning.
The system was used to gather and display participants' responses to five questions exploring their attitudes to the nature and purpose of lectures. The tool played a dual role in making the discussion interactive and modeling one possible approach.
Although the initial set up of the software and questions was time consuming the effect in the classroom was positive. Participants responded well to the use of the system and after initial instruction on how it worked answered the questions easily. The high and low confidence functionality was used for two of the questions and this provided insights for the group into the responses of their peers and points of discussion for the tutor.
The system should be seen as another tool to add to the range of ways in which we can make the most of the contact time we have with our students and appears to be scalable and flexible enough to provide a unique way to gather feedback from large groups.
Plan to use the system in this session again next year and recommending it to colleagues.
Electronic voting in lectures
A one hour lecture given to teaching staff describing the use of electronic voting equipment.
A variety of questions types and methods of delivery were used to demonstrate to the audience ideas for use. In particular three feedback questions were posed to the class at the end of the session to get their immediate feedback.
So what do you think of electronic voting in lectures?
Did this session fulfil its learning outcomes?
Feedback – this session was:
This session was probably the most enjoyable lecture I have ever given. The participants seem to really engage with materials and the questions posed and the group discussions generated were very lively.
Using this system to gather feedback puts the lecturer in a tricky position if the feedback is bad. When a bar chart displaying the audiences' opinions is displayed the lecturer feels obliged to respond in some way. Fortunately for myself, the news was good.
I intend to run a similar session in 6 months or so, and would look to use the technology in other presentations where appropriate.
The evolution of the French language: French in the 20th century
The session was an interactive lecture delivered to Level One students; it was the penultimate lecture of the series. The course is a 10 credit module; most single honours students take it, but it is also attended by joint honours students and some students taking options in French in their first year. The lecture, as per French Department policy, is delivered in French.
The voting system was used at the end of the session. As in previous weeks, I delivered the lecture in French, using PowerPoint as support, and then got students to do an interactive exercise in English to reinforce what had been covered. In this case, the interactive exercise was a series of multiple choice questions on topics mentioned in the lecture. Students were put into groups of 2 or 3 and asked to discuss their answer before voting. Once the results had been displayed, I asked them further questions on the topic they had voted on, to help them justify their answers and clarify why certain answers were incorrect.
Students seemed to find the exercise helpful and said almost unanimously in feedback that they thought the session should be kept in. Many of them, however, said that the main draw for them was the novelty of using the technology; the session was felt to be as useful, although not necessarily more useful, than the other interactive exercises. My own feeling about the session was that the students’ excitement at using the zappers made them a little more ready to talk in front of others, so, even if the pedagogical value of using the technology was on a par with other exercises, it may have been more useful in helping me to ascertain how much students had taken in. If I were to use it again, I might introduce the zappers earlier in the lecture series, to help students to break the ice at the very beginning of the course.
If I were teaching the course again, I would definitely keep the session in.
Music Study Skills
Final session of a 2-semester, weekly Study Skills course, getting feedback from the students on various aspects of the course and their perception of it.
Fairly basic usage, with a series of multiple choice questions to ask them (a few silly ones to start off, of course), to get their opinions.
Students loved it, and generally took it seriously once novelty wore off. It’s best to have a separate “further comments” sheet for them to fill in to give more details. Very useful indeed.
Will definitely use it again, though probably only for end-of-semester feedback as above.
Music and Theatre
The session was used to review the module and to gather student feedback for the purpose of module review.
After an initial discussion regarding module review, students were introduced to the system. They were talked through the handsets and receivers and were given the opportunity to get the inevitable excitement of using “new toys” out of their systems. The first few questions were not related to module review (“Can you use the handset?”, “What is your favourite colour?”, etc.) so that they could get used to submitting their votes before the important questions started. The results of each vote were kept hidden until all voting had been completed, at which time the results graphs were shown to the class and each was briefly analysed.
The responses were far more complete than paper-based answers often are, and there was none of the usual confusion over whether 1 or 5 meant excellent, as the words were shown on the screen where appropriate. It did not take long to set up or write the questions.
I intend to use the system again to collect feedback from students. It does not have as much use in general teaching in music as it may in other subject areas, but when planning a course I always bear it in mind as a possible teaching method.
Academic writing and plagiarism.
An hour lecture in the induction programme for postgraduate students in the School of Computing.
About 10 voting activities incorporated into the lecture to emphasize key points and check understanding of important issues such as referencing, identifying plagiarism, the use of detection systems etc.
The voting helped gain and keep the students' attention for what is otherwise quite an uninspiring topic. All the students participated and the voting led to some interesting questions and discussions. The results of the votes made it clear that a significant proportion of the class did not understand referencing and key factors in quality of academic writing. This clarity was good in that it made me go over these issues repeatedly to try to address the misapprehensions. I was surprised on a couple of occasions at the number of votes for options that seemed obviously incorrect. I had to assume the misunderstanding was genuine and go over the issues in each case. Without voting I would have been completely unaware of these problems and not done as thorough a job in explaining things.
I have 3 similar lectures to make this year for which I will use this approach (for Medical Physics and Sports Science students).
End of module revision lecture for “The Senses” - Level 1 core psychology module.
About 200 – 250.
An end of module quiz used as a performance based revision lecture.
10 questions were presented through PowerPoint in a quiz style (each question had 4 possible answers, only one correct) with the PRS program linked into PowerPoint. There were more students than handsets in this group, so the students worked in small teams (2-4 people in each team). The questions were presented and they had 1 minute to discuss the question and to select an answer.
The instant graph option was used to see how many teams selected the correct answer. The questions that had a poor correct response rate (those under about 60 or 70%) were then explained in detail using PowerPoint hyperlinks, which brought up the relevant revision material for that topic.
The PRS system allows the lecturer to assess the students’ knowledge of a range of topics and to tailor the revision session towards the specific needs of the group. This means that time is not wasted going over material that a large proportion of the group already know. Another benefit of this system is that the students can instantly see where their weaknesses lie and can note the topic and references for revision purposes.
The PRS system makes a revision lecture interactive and managed to keep all 200 students engaged for the entire hour.
For the PRS system to be most beneficial you will need to prepare your lecture well in advance and ensure that you have enough material to be flexible based on the student responses. In addition to preparing your slides, it is essential for first time users to borrow the equipment well in advance of the lecture to play with the system and learn how it works (SDDU also run courses on using this system). PRS is easy to set up and links seamlessly into PowerPoint. Overall it is a reliable system once you have worked out its quirks.
When planning to use this system for lectures, expect to get through no more than 10 questions in an hour, if providing performance based revision. The system takes about 10 minutes to set up prior to the lecture and a good 5 to 10 minutes to pack away. I would recommend getting an assistant to help you carry the suitcases to the lecture theatre (there are 4 suitcases if you are using all 96 handsets), to help you set up the system, to hand out the handsets, to collect up, and pack away the equipment.
All responses from the interactive session are stored in a PRS workbook that allows you to review the session. You can use this to reflect on responses to each question or to make a report (handy if you use this to get end of module feedback as it does the descriptive data for you).
This was the first time that I have used PRS, the students really seemed to like the session, and the feedback was tailored to their learning needs. I will definitely use the system again for end of year revision and will consider other ways that it could enhance student learning.
Module: HIST 3718 The Second Hundred Years’ War: Britain vs. France, 1715-1815.
Lecture: Revision & feedback.
HIST3718 is a new module, and so on the first run-through I was particularly interested in students’ comments and suggestions for alterations to it.
Previous to the lecture, students had already provided paper feedback via the department’s standard questionnaires and these had highlighted some areas for further discussion on the module. To get better information than simply asking them, I decided to provide them with a series of questions with set responses for which they could then vote.
Having set these questions up, I decided to expand the use of the e-voting further in this session. Firstly, as an orientation exercise with the equipment I set up 5 revision questions. Secondly, I gathered more feedback from the students about the course, beyond what was asked on the paper questionnaires (for example, favourite lecture, was the Nathan Bodington material / discussions useful).
This gave me a much fuller understanding of the student experience of the course, and, in one case, specific approval for a suggestion that required their consent (using a sample of their NB posts as examples for next year’s students).
Having set questions and getting students to provide anonymous answers is a very powerful tool, much more so than standardised questionnaires, as it allow me to explore some module specific issues which otherwise would have been left to an ‘open’ discussion where I would most likely only get comments from the most vocal and confident (particularly as this was in a lecture).
It took some finding to get the data later (although I should confess that I could not attend the recent training session on it) and the only negative was that a small army of roadies is almost essential to set it up. The trails of wires are potentially quite dangerous to those of us who are prone to wander in a lecture. One student asked me why the receiver to PC link was not wireless, and I replied that it was very good question! Also, I think the line of sight technology could cause problems in a very large group, without some kind of orchestrated ‘sit – stand – shoot’ procedure, which would be entirely appropriate for a module on military history!
I will definitely use it again. The students were very enthusiastic about the gadget and, more importantly, it gave me some very useful information on their views of the course. It worked particularly well as a ‘second phase’ feedback mechanism as it continued to provide the all-important anonymity that is fundamental to eliciting genuine and representative responses. I was glad I had a set-up session of the 5 revision questions to introduce them to the system first, and would recommend providing some experience of e-voting to the students before using it for something very important, if only so the tutor knows how to work it.
Two groups of 120
Multiple choice revision questions. Handsets shared 1 between 2.
Because the handsets are shared, the exercise is purely for fun, but allows problem areas to be quickly identified. Questions that most people answer correctly are skipped over, while more time is spent explaining the solution when most get the question wrong.
Using the PowerPoint plug–in is simple as long as your questions are formatted as bullet points.
We had problems getting the software to work when trying to create a class on the M:/ drive. Using C:/ cured the issue.
Last year we tried 1 handset between 3 with a 240 class size and the receivers were jammed, resulting in an average of 40% actually managing to answer each question in time. Splitting into two separate groups worked a lot better. In order for evoting to be used seriously, a more expensive system that guarantees your vote is delivered would have to be purchased.
The system is always useful to liven up the occasional lecture and will be used again.
Phraseology in modern English language
This was part of a 1-day sixth-form conference on ‘Popular Culture’ held in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. This talk aimed to introduce students to an aspect of linguistics, with an emphasis on the analysis of everyday speech and writing.
The talk opened with a single yes/no question for voting on, to direct students towards consideration of how speech is produced. It ended with a multiple-choice quiz asking for their judgment on whether authentic examples of non-standard speech were produced by a native- or non-native speaker of English and whether they were slips or deliberate creative variation.
The system worked well, technically, and was easy to set up and author. The students were quite well motivated by the interaction it provided, and I think it helped them to overcome their natural reluctance to respond in public. The anonymity was a clear advantage.
There will be opportunities in the Language Centre to use the system for language quizzes of all kinds with international students, who are at times inhibited from speaking. The fun element will also be valuable with some of our younger students, who can be quite competitive.
Managing Information - Health Management Information Systems (Module - Foundations of International Health)
The session is an introduction of students to the Health Management Information Systems in a developing country context with the focus on key principles of HMIS, composite elements, and main stages in developing and evaluating the system.
A total of 10 questions were used during the session, which were integrated with the MS PowerPoint. The PRS was used at different times to:
Although time-consuming at the preparatory and set-up stages, the experience of using the PRS was generally positive.
The use of PRS saved some time in the classroom during the session. Students also appreciated an opportunity to instantly see results of their voting on the screen.
International students normally come from developing countries with the limited previous use of modern technology. A good feature of the system is that it did not involve any major learning from students themselves.
PRS certainly made the session more fun and enjoyable experience and thus helped with refreshing the interest and focus attention at various points of the session.
I will certainly use the system again and will recommend it to other colleagues in the Department.