Possible Questions for Student Feedback on a Course’s Use of Polling Systems and Engagement

Note to faculty: This is NOT a survey. It’s a list of questions from which you can choose in creating a short feedback form.  The goal of the feedback form is to help you figure out what’s working as hoped, what needs to be fixed, and how to fix it.  The topic: your course’s use of polling systems (e.g., cell phones, clickers, or computers used for student response to course questions; display of those responses back to students; associated course activities such as peer consultation between responses and giving credit for responses)

Once you’ve picked your questions, replace the green bracketed phrases with appropriate terminology for your course (e.g., “clickers”). Feel free to rewrite these questions and add your own questions, too. No official approval of this form is needed, so long as you don’t intend to publish your results.  Rules of thumb for creating your form:

  1. Assuming that some student answers might surprise you, which of the questions below might create feedback you can use?  Those are the questions you need to ask.
  2. To increase the quantity and quality of student responses, make sure it’s obvious to students why you’re asking and how you’ll use their thoughts.
  3. Keep it short.  A form like this should normally take only 1-3 minutes to complete.

Instructions for Students: I'd like your help to figure out whether, and how, we should use [your name for this technique or polling system] in this course. After you respond to this survey, I will share the data with you and let you know how your responses and advice have influenced what we'll be doing next in this course.

1. How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about your reaction to [your name for this technique or polling system] in this course?  

The ways that we use [your name for this technique or polling system] in this course...

Encourage me to pay attention to what's going on in class.

Have made it less likely that I attend meetings of the class.

Have made it more likely that I do my homework before the class meets.

Make me take a fresh look at my ideas when I see that some students responded differently than I did.

Motivates me to work each day because I can see more frequently how I'm doing in the course

Make it easier for me to say what I really think because other students don’t know how I responded.

Make the class more fun.

2. Here are a few more questions about [your name for this technique or polling system].  To what extent do you agree or disagree:

Using the [your name for this technique or polling system] takes too much time away from time we should spend learning.

In at least one class session, I couldn't answer because of technical problems with the [polling system].

Memory isn’t enough to answer these questions; the questions force me to think about what we’ve been learning.

Often I don’t think; to show I’m participating, I push any button.

I'm more honest when I use [your name for polling system] than I would be if you called on me to answer the same question aloud.

After we use [your name for this technique], I feel more comfortable speaking about this topic in normal class discussion.

Your polling questions offer us several choices, but sometimes none of those options fit what I think


One feature of our use of [your name for this technique] is for me to ask a question and then, after you answer on your own, you talk with a partner before answering the same question again. I have a few questions about your discussions with a partner.

If a sentence below describes what you see and feel, please mark it "strongly agree." If the sentence is a poor description of your situation, or if it just doesn't make sense to you, mark "strongly disagree."

Explaining my view to my partner often helps me learn.

Listening to what my partner says often helps me learn.

When I discuss a question with my partner, our discussion usually stays on topic.

After I've seen how others responded, I feel more comfortable talking about my opinions and reasoning in the whole class.

This approach doesn’t help me. You should just ask us questions for individual response with the [polling system].

This approach doesn’t help me. Stop using the [polling system] but continue to ask us to discuss questions in groups.

This approach doesn’t help me. Just ask the whole class a question and ask volunteers to answer.


Grades for your responses?

Some faculty assign fractions of a point toward the final grade if students answer a polling question correctly.  What do you think about this practice?  

Please read all the following points of view before responding to any of them. Then come back to the beginning of the question and indicate how strong you agree or disagree with each of them.

Students will think harder about the questions, and learn more, if their answers counted a little toward the final grade.

In a course like this, students are more honest if the instructor doesn’t know how we answered.

If even a fraction of a point is at stake, I just switch to my partner’s answer. My partner is usually doing better than I am.

Next time this course is taught, student responses to questions should be graded  - a little credit if you end up with a right answer, no credit if you finish with a wrong answer.

Final Comments

Anything else you can suggest, about [your name for this technique or polling system] or anything else, to help you get more from this course?

Thanks again for helping make this an effective course!