Polling enables virtual instructors to ensure students are paying attention and remain engaged during teaching. Polls are brief survey questions asked in real time to students. They can be single answer, multiple choice or open ended. I might use a poll question in the middle of a lecture to check in with students. When in a face-to-face classroom, I can see how students are taking in the information I am providing; I can’t do so in a virtual classroom. However, with polls I can ask questions about the lecture to ensure understanding of the material.
For example, I might be delivering a lecture on virtual team best practices and ask the following poll question of students:
“Of the best practices discussed, which one do you think would be the easiest to implement in your next virtual team meeting?
- Best practice 1
- Best practice 2
- Best practice 3
- Best practice 4”
“What is your own best practice for managing a virtual team meeting? (please type your response in the box below and click “submit” when done.)”
I may also use polling to ask students where they would like to focus a discussion; for example I might tell students that over the next two sessions we’ll be discussing two topics from the chapter: Topic A and Topic B. I want them to choose the order of discussion. My poll question will be this:
“Which topic would you like to discuss this session? The majority vote will be the focus of this session’s discussion:
Poll questions may also be used to quiz students on reading assignments or a previous session’s lecture.
Use poll questions frequently to engage students (and ensure they are paying attention!)