Teaching Resources

Polling: Overview

Resource Overview

An introductory guide to active learning with polling.

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Sally Wu

Assistant Director, Educational Technology



Polling in the classroom describes a tool that instructors can use to anonymously or semi-anonymously gather information from students. Polls can be both high tech (PollEverywhere, iClicker, Socrative, Participatr) and low tech (having students raise colored pieces of paper or their hands). Instructors can use polls for many different pedagogical reasons such as to ask students about their background knowledge, personal opinions or experiences; to predict the outcome of an experimental demonstration, or to test their understanding of course material. The anonymity of these tools allows students to feel more comfortable participating in classroom discussion and answering honestly in medium to large classes. As such, polls can be utilized as an important formative assessment tool. Formative assessments are used to gauge where students are in their learning at different points during a course. These types of assessments also allow instructors to respond more directly and efficiently to student needs.

Please explore our resources for more pedagogical information on best practices, kinds of questions and activities to use with clickers, how to integrate polling into your teaching, and disciplinary resources.

See our site’s special section for polling resources for more information.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss specific pedagogical questions about using polling in your course, please contact Sally Wu.

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.