Information Services

What can you achieve with in class voting?

There is a wide range of possible uses of polling your students that you might want to consider.

Peer instruction

The rationale for peer instruction is that true learning is always an active process in which learners build personal understanding by comparing and connecting new information with their current understanding. It is easier for this to happen if the learner has their current understanding activated (e.g. through answering a Top Hat question) and then has to compare their understanding with other possible conceptualisations.

Formative feedback

Any questions which help learners and/or staff judge how well students are learning and what they need to do to improve. As well as the learning benefits, students appreciate knowing how well they are doing relative to the rest of the class.

Testing students' preparation for classes

Some lecturers have used electronic voting systems to test whether students have completed pre class reading or other homework.

Contingent teaching

Where the direction and content of the lecture is made more heavily dependent on the students’ responses to Top Hat questions, rather than following a predetermined sequence.

Experiments using humans responses

Perhaps most useful in psychology but there may be possibilities in other subject areas. In genetics, for example, it might be possible to poll students on whether they have a particular trait, such as the capacity to curl their tongue.

Ongoing course evaluation

Students can get tired of filling in lots of similar end of course questionnaires which will not have an impact for them as they have finished the course. Evaluation questions can be asked using Top Hat as a course is running and, if you pick options that can realistically be implemented quickly, then students will really see the benefit of the feedback they have given.

Giving students a stronger sense of the subject area

Many students start university with fairly vague ideas about how knowledge is generated in their subject area and what it would be like to work in that area. You could poll your colleagues for answers to questions like 'What is the most important attribute of a good chemist/biologist etc.?' and then ask students to vote for one of the options.

Please get in touch, via IS Helpline, if you would like to discuss ways in which to use electronic voting systems in your teaching.