Flipping and Polling Questions

Flipping and Polling Questions

Here is the link to my Echo 360 lecturecast on ‘Five Steps to Successful Flipping’, which I gave at the HEA assessment event in UCL on Feb 23.


Unlike other vlogs, I can’t post the image up here to click on directly because to get the video and the screenshots of lecturecast you need to have the video play out from the site. Hopefully one click can take you there and one click gets you back, though.

The part of the presentation that is new is the idea of polling questions. I hope to post a video + screen shots (in lecturecast style) of some versions of how to do this soon. I’m part of the pilot group for the VLE Moodle 2 at UCL and we are working towards some nice ways to do questions + polling, and formative assessment, which are efficient and interactive for students. We believe we already have ways to capture all the necessary data in Moodle 2 and it is a matter of just a few lines of code to make this available at the front end to give questions + polling lots of variety and options for students and lecturers. The bids are in! And we hope to have results in weeks rather than months.

In the meantime, however, there is a rough and ready – but still very doable – way to collate questions and poll in Moodle 1.9.

1. Open a communal doc/page in Moodle (you might use the Forum) – or, indeed, in googledocs/wherever – which all the class can access and feed into.

2. Have each member of the class upload 2,3 or 4 questions (with timings, as explained in the video) to this communal space. In this rough version you could have each member sign their name by the question they ask.

3. Once the whole class has submitted questions (and the teacher/lecturer can set a deadline for this), then the teacher can quickly select 15-20 questions – effectively selecting a shortlist from a longlist. Keep these 15-20 questions down on a doc somewhere. There could be 300-500 questions here in total, but when we select, we are talking scanning, not detailed analysis, so selecting should still not take more than a few minutes. Note that there may be an advantage in the lecturer having a say at this point, rather than simply allowing ALL the questions to be selected by the class (as suggested in the video), in that the lecturer can select some questions which they know are important/involve threshold concepts etc, but of which the class as a whole has not yet grasped the significance.

4. Then go to ‘Edit’ on Moodle.

5. Choose ‘Activity’.

6. Choose ‘Choice’.

7. Type in (or cut and paste), in each box, the shortlist of questions you have pre-selected from the longlist.

8. Set a deadline by when all the class will need to have looked at this list in the Choice section and made their selections.

9. Email/SMS/Facebook the class to send them to the Choice page for each student to choose their favourite question.

10. Once the activity has ‘closed’, you can ‘display’ the results in Moodle for an ‘at a glance’ view of the questions the students in your class want to talk about in the old lecture slot, and you can also see which students have engaged in the process.

Known glitches.

Apart from this being a little  clunky (see comments about Moodle 2 above) the worst glitch I know of here is that students can currently only choose 1 option from the short list of questions. This means your distribution might be skewed (Alternative Vote analysts – your feedback welcome here!) and there is a risk that students engage less in the selection process if they know they only have to pick one question. I think selecting 3 questions would be optimum. We are working on this, but this issue is likely to be superseded by the functionality of Moodle 2.

I plan to use these techniques in my teaching this September but I am not teaching until then, so I would be very interested to hear from anyone who tries out some of these ideas.

Photo under Creative Commons License by Terry Freedman


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