The traditional lecture (with an academic at the front and students in seats) continues to be the most commonly used format for teaching at the RAU and with an increase in the number of core modules being delivered we are seeing more large-group lectures. The biggest issues with this teaching approach includes:
- Keeping students engaged
- Ensuring students are paying attention
- Encouraging discussion and critical thinking
- Improving attendance
Student response systems (SRS, also known as classroom response systems or polling software) are software solutions that allow academic staff to ask students questions, students to answer the question using an electronic device (phone or laptop, online or using text) and the results to be shown in real time.
McGivern and Coxon (2015) argue that the use of online polling software as a partial solution to the afore mentioned issues is “is relatively easy to do, students generally like it, and it may well be good for them.” Sounds like an easy win!
Academics at the RAU have are already using SRS with some success (systems include Zeetings, Polleverywhere, Kahoot, Answergarden and Nearpod). However, the RAU does not currently pay for a SRS solution and free solutions have limitations in audience and question number. After some discussion a decision was made to go through the procurement process for a SRS and at the end of last year we looked at fours different systems.
We have now decided to participate in a semester long pilot of the polling and Q&A app Vevox. Our decision was based on the user and customer support (the team are very friendly and helpful!), the potential integration with Moodle and the usability (including the PowerPoint add in).
Over the next couple of months we will be exploring integrations, getting our pilot group of academics together and trying out the tool in the classroom.
At the end of last week I attended my first Vevox webinar entitled ‘Cooking-up good teaching with recipes for Vevox’. The session was delivered by Robert O’Toole, E-learning Advisor at the University of Warwick. Warwick have only just started using Vevox but already have a significant number of Vevox related recipes in their catalogue of recipes for excellent teaching.
- Crowdsource, reflect and select – students add ideas, ideas ordered by like, students vote
- Terminology word cloud – students add terminology, displayed as a word cloud
- Electronic Mood board – Students share thoughts feelings and sensations
Warwick already have 120+ academics signed up to use Vevox after one term, and they are rating the technology as 4/5 stars and rating their confidence in the technology as 4/5 stars.
Robert’s enthusiasm for the system was infectious and I’m really looking forward to getting started in using Vevox!