Teaching Resources

Poll Everywhere

Resource Overview

Guide to using Poll Everywhere

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Poll Everywhere is a web-based student response system. It provides powerful tools for live polling and works well with all mobile devices (laptops, tablets, phones). See below for an overview and tutorials on how to use it for your class. 

For more ideas and technical support, email us or schedule a consult with a CTL staff member. 


  • Free to use with WashU Institutional License  
  • Easy to create and customize poll questions in the web or via an add-on for PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides 
  • Flexible options for students to participate using any mobile-enabled devices (computers, tablets, and phones) through the web or SMS texting 
  • Many poll options, including multiple choice, open response, live word clouds, clickable images, up- and down-voting for Q&A, or rank order 
  • Display real-time results from any web browser or embed in a PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides deck 
  • Write questions in almost any language, or include images, LaTeX syntax, and emojis 
  • Easily share poll questions and slides across instructors with the Teams feature
  • Administered and supported by WashU CTL 
  • Can be integrated into Canvas (this feature being piloted for select cases) 
  • Grade for participation or correct responses (the set up for this feature is supported on a case-by-case basis. If you are interested in this feature, please contact ctl@wustl.edu)
Reasons to use Poll Everywhere

The features of Poll Everywhere help engage your students with the content, each other, and you as the instructor. Here are just a few pedagogical benefits: 

  • Active learning: Polls foster engagement in the classroom by asking all students to respond to questions and discuss the responses in real time. This hands-on and minds-on activity prompts students to engage with the course material and each other.  
  • Retrieval practice: Students often follow along with lecture and feel they have a clear understanding of a topic but have trouble when tested on their knowledge. Help students test themselves and practice retrieving their knowledge with a poll. 
  • Anonymity: Questions may ask students to assess their own understanding, reveal misconceptions, reflect on their own perspectives, or share feedback. Anonymous polls allow students to freely share their thinking and be vulnerable in their response.  
  • Quick check for understanding: Use live responses to adjust your teaching and start dialogues with students. You can easily run and rerun your poll to help students resolve debates or clear up confusion (see Easy idea for teaching below).  
Ideas for Teaching with Poll Everywhere


  • Create a multiple-choice question to assess student thinking. If the poll shows divergent range of responses, ask students to turn to a neighbor and discuss/debate. Re-run the poll and see how student responses changed. For questions where students do not converge on a correct answer, consider holding a mini-lecture or Q&A to address student confusions. 
  • Review the best practices for polling and develop a few poll questions for use throughout the semester. Make sure to pick polling activities that align with your course goals and explain to students why you use polling in the classroom! 


  • Incorporate more poll questions throughout the class period to better understand student thinking. Be ready to address how student respond – what they are confused about may surprise you!  
  • Try out different types of polls such as live word clouds, clickable images, up- and down-voting for Q&A, or rank order. These can be used to find out more about student attitudes, what they are interested in, and where they stand on an issue. Note that some of these options are difficult to respond to on mobile devices. 


  • Consider different types of polling activities that you can incorporate into your class. You can use Poll Everywhere to engage students in a conceptual question, gather feedback, and share their ideas. Use the questions to build on course content and revise them in future courses. 
  • Build conceptual understanding by writing a poll question with response options that align with common misconceptions. These can reveal to students how they and their peers think about an idea, providing the space for them to debate and reconsider their misconceptions. Use student discussions to continually improve the response options to bring out further misconceptions. 

Have suggestions?

If you have suggestions of resources we might add to these pages, please contact us:

ctl@wustl.edu(314) 935-6810Mon - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.