Quizzes and polls in class and online

Polls and quizzes can be great for increasing the interactivity of teaching sessions and encouraging student engagement. You might want to use a poll to kick off a discussion or a quiz to check students’ understanding of previous content before moving on. A quiz after a lecture can also be a great way for students to check their own learning and a poll could help identify topics for revision.

What’s the difference between a poll and a quiz?

Generally, a poll collects choices or opinions, with no ‘correct’ answers as such whereas a quiz has right and wrong answers. However, there is some crossover between the two in the way different tools use the terms as Canvas offers ‘ungraded survey’ as a quiz type and Poll Everywhere uses the term ‘poll’ for a question.

Polls and quizzes can be run ‘live’ in a session, either in-person or online or they can be made available for responses before or after a session, which can be particularly useful for gathering information ahead of teaching or allowing students to check their understanding. It can be useful to get students to discuss in pairs or groups before responding to a Quiz question and then have them respond either individually or together.

Live polling and quizzing

If your session is online via Zoom then the polls option within Zoom is the simplest option. Our post on Polling with Zoom looks at this option in more detail. You can of course use other tools in a Zoom meeting but generally it is better not to use any more tools than you need in any session.

When you are teaching on campus Poll Everywhere is the recommended option for live polling and/or quizzing. The range of question types means this is a great tool for anything from simple polling to team competitions. Our recent post on 5 top Poll Everywhere question types looks at some of the options you may not have seen. 

You may already be using Padlet in your session, in which case adding the reaction options for users to ‘like’ or ‘upvote/downvote’ posts provides a simple way to gather views. Although not a poll as such, it could be a quick and easy way to gather feedback or opinions.

Some colleagues have used Kahoot! in the past, but the current pricing model only allows 10 players with a free account, so it is only likely to be useful if you are teaching a small group or pairing students. Now that Poll Everywhere has a Competitions option that is a good alternative.

Asynchronous polling and quizzing

Quizzes before or after a session can be useful for establishing students’ existing understanding of a topic or checking learning from a lecture. Canvas quizzes offer a range of question types including multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, likert scale, matching, numerical and formula. A quiz can be ‘graded’ which provides a score, or an ‘ungraded survey’ if you want to use it as a poll with no right and wrong answers. You can see the options and how to create each in the Canvas guide What quiz types can I create in a course? Sussex staff can find guidance on creating quizzes on the Teaching Online Learning Anywhere site. There are also lots of Canvas Guides on quizzes to help you get started.

Poll Everywhere can also be used outside of sessions, but only one poll or survey is active at any given time, so if you have several modules only one can be running a Poll Everywhere activity at any time.  

Another great option is the quizzing feature in Panopto. This allows you to create quizzes which can be set to appear to viewers at predetermined points as they view a recording. Quizzes can include true/false, multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. Adding quizzes to Panopto recordings makes viewing them a more active and engaging activity for students. This Panopto guide will show you How to Add a Quiz to a Video.

Choosing a tool and getting help

Comparing polling and quizzing tools

University licenced

Live / synchronous

Asynchronous

Poll or quiz?

Zoom polls

Yes

Yes

No

Poll

Poll Everywhere

Yes

Yes

Yes, but only one activity is active at any given time. 

Both

Padlet

Yes

Yes

Yes

Like or upvote / downvote only

Panopto quizzes

Yes

No

Yes

Quiz

Canvas quizzes

Yes

Could be.

Yes

Both

Kahoot

No

Yes

Yes, student-paced games.

Quiz

Sussex staff can also contact a learning technologist by emailing tel@sussex.ac.uk and we will be happy to discuss options and help you get started with quizzing or polling.

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Posted in Apps and tools, Polling tools

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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