Polling to Increase Student Engagement Near the End of the Semester

Dear Engineering Faculty,

As we come to the end of a semester that has been very hard for students and faculty, consider some activities in class meetings  to increase student engagement, to help  students with processing the material in the class, and maybe even have some fun with the material.  Difficulty staying engaged during class was one of the concerns I saw the most this semester in the mid-semester feedback across many, many courses.  

One simple activity that can reach both sides of a hybrid class is adding some Poll Everywhere questions.  “Everywhere” includes your in-person and synchronous remote students.  It can even include many of the asynchronous students if you create a duplicate poll for them that you leave open (and ask them to vote in the duplicate poll before they see the answer in the video).

Poll Everywhere allows you to ask many different types of questions, not just multiple choice.  This includes hotspot questions (select a location on a figure) and short answer questions.  

Polling questions can also be used to make review sessions more engaging for students and lets them test their knowledge or reasoning in in a no stakes challenge.  You can ask questions to emphasize key points across the course or that will be used for the final.  You can ask whether an approach could be used for a sample problem and or under what condition it breaks.  The goals can be just review or connecting ideas across the course or building the mental connections to apply the material beyond the course, all of which add value at the end of a course.

If you are not familiar with Poll Everywhere or writing interesting polling questions I invite you to a  workshop on using Poll Everywhere in your classes.  Poll Everywhere is the new Cornell polling platform. The workshop will teach you enough to use Poll Everywhere and suggest ideas for future classes.  It will highlight the features and benefits of Poll Everywhere, how to set it up and launch interactive activities, how to integrate it in Canvas, and provide examples of where it can be deployed in your class.  The workshop will be led by Shivaun Archer, Sr. Lecturer in BME, Hadas Ritz, Sr. Lecturer in MAE, both MTEI Faculty Teaching Fellows, and Kathryn Dimiduk, MTEI.

A Cornell Poll Everywhere account can be requested at https://cornell.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3Qmr0bsnhijpxmR 

Poll Everywhere Workshop Date and Time: Thursday 4/22;  4 -5pm
Zoom Link:  https://cornell.zoom.us/j/96294170667?pwd=OFVMMjNCeFpWQ05EYUtDdUlnMGsrQT09

Please RSVP to klc78@cornell.edu if you would like to attend the workshop.