Polls and Surveys to Connect with Your Students

Online instructors, especially those teaching asynchronously without video or audio conferences, often express that they don’t know how their students are “feeling”, or if their students are confused, or frustrated with aspects of the course. Survey tools are plentiful and make surveys simple to deploy. Surveys may be one of the most powerful tools in your teaching arsenal, whether you are teaching online or face-to-face. A well-written survey can collect a wealth of information in a short time span. But surveys can do so much for your class.

  • Surveys can empower students. When you use a survey to find out what students want to learn or ask them to pinpoint areas that they still find confusing, you are asking them to help personalize their learning.
  • Surveys can also be used to compare different attitudes and showcase how different student views on various course topics might be.
  • Surveys can also let you know how effective different components of your course are. If you are spending hours on creating videos, are they effective? Are students watching? Do they have the technical skills to watch? Are your students getting out of your course what they need?
  • End-of-course surveys help us to determine which parts of the course should be kept and which parts need to be modified.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools that are free and easy to use.

Poll Everywhere: A survey service that lets you collect responses via the Internet, tablets, text messaging on phone, or by twitter. Survey results are instantly available. The free account plugs right into PPT so you can use it while lecturing. The free version limits you to 40 respondents. The responses can also be viewed as word clouds.

Google Forms: Free and easy to use you can easily create a form that feeds results into a spreadsheet. While the results may not be as pretty as some survey tools, Google forms are quick to create and easy to launch.

Socrative: Works on any device and operating system. Includes games, quiz questions, on-the-fly questioning and other easy to use features.

SurveyMonkey: The free version of survey monkey allows you to ask up to 10 questions and get 100 responses. You can gather responses from email, websites, Twitter, Facebook and more.

Blackboard has a survey tool built-in and Collaborate also permits polling with results hidden or visible to students. Collaborate has a Wizard Quick Guide Reference to help you get started. Both Blackboard tools are quick and easy to implement.

These are just a few examples. Common Sense Graphite posted their Top Tech Tools for Formative Assessment and there are many there (nicely rated and described) for you to explore.

Our upcoming “Share” or “Challenge” is on Polls and Surveys — did you guess that already? Be looking for more information in our next post!

Now it’s your turn to answer our quick poll so that you can help us pick some of the upcoming topics for future Faculty Challenges.


If you have another suggestion please leave us a comment below!

1 comment

    • mmpurvis on October 8, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Opinion Stage…hadn’t seen that one before. I like how you vote and get instant feedback about how the poll is shaping up.

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