student using a smartphone in class

Combining Poll Everywhere with Pedagogy

Looking for inspiration on how to use Poll Everywhere in your course? Associate Professor Salman Durrani from the Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering first presented on his use of this software in 2018 at ANU Telfest and has kindly shared some tips on how to use it effectively for student engagement and learning.

Salman’s inspiration came from observing his students using their smart phones in his lectures, and the realisation that he could combine this with their learning. He states, the “software is very user friendly and intuitive to use”, and it’s “a great way to engage students in large or small groups, on campus or in online teaching.”

In using the Poll Everywhere software during the last four years, Salman has explored many of the activities and options, including multiple choice, word clouds, Q & As, clickable images, surveys and open-ended questions in lectures and teaching.

In this recent overview video, Using Poll Everywhere in Electronics Courses (2017-2020), Salman shares with us a couple of different models he applies in his teaching.

Model 1:

Used by Salman to teach students at both first year (ENGN1218 Introduction to Electronics) and second year (ENGN 2218 Electronic Systems and Design).

  1. Students work through a problem in their small groups or Zoom breakout rooms. Students then vote on the appropriate response using Poll Everywhere.
  2. Students re-join in the main room and are shown the voting results for the entire cohort.
  3. Salman then uses the whiteboard to work through not only the correct answer, but also the misconceptions and incorrect answers, effectively working through all the answers.

Students’ reaction to Salman’s method is very positive, “The live problem solving done by Salman was highly helpful and interesting to watch.” (ENGN1218, Sem 2, 2019, SELT comment).

Model 2:

An innovative technique where Salman ties a Netflix show, You vs. Wild into his course by placing himself in the role of Bear Grylls ‘Wild’ and his students as ‘You’. During 2019 and 2020 Salman has applied this model to his first year course with the aim of including it in his second year course from 2021.

This semester he dubbed this model ‘You vs. Circuits’. The model works by students voting for how Salman completes his mission (problem) through a series of “events”. In his video example, seven options are presented for students to vote on. The top two or three options with the highest percentage of student votes are the ones that Salman works through. This leads to a critical discussion about theory and how it can be used to solve complex problems, and how choosing different options can lead to different complexities when problem solving.

For other responses where Salman is unable to work through the response live, he provides material, additional solutions or an explanation that may be posted after the class. He is currently trialling the hosting of short videos of his worked solutions on his YouTube channel Electric Circuits.

The student response to Model 2 is also very positive: “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the effort you put into making a good student experience (I loved the Bear Grylls Masterclass!)” (ENGN1218 Sem 2 2020, student email).

Further information about Poll Everywhere can be seen in another recent post on this blog.
Information about Zoom breakout rooms can be seen in our Zoom series:

Additional resources can also be found on the CLT Teaching Remotely Wattle site in the section Further Resources and Tools for Running Remote lectures and Tutorials.

October 2020


Dr Scott Rickard is an Education Designer in the Education Design team – one of three teams within the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) 

Associate Professor Salman Durrani is from the Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering, in the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

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