Improving student engagement through regular anonymous feedback: MicroCPD

Dr Sam Cruchley discusses use of online surveys to gauge student satisfaction and engagement. (Video transcript)

In this MicroCPD, Dr Sam Cruchley discusses use of online surveys to gauge student satisfaction and engagement.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) such as MCQs are generally simple, non-graded, anonymous, in-class activities designed to give you and your students useful feedback on the teaching-learning process as it is happening. However, there are range of techniques that can assess multiple cognitive skills from understanding through to analysis, all of which can be operationalised using learning technologies. To get started with CATs consider the following:

  • Decide what you want to assess about your students’ learning from a CAT.
  • Choose a CAT that provides this feedback, is consistent with your teaching style, and can be implemented easily in your class.
  • Explain the purpose of the activity to students, and then conduct it.
  • After a session, review the results, determine what they tell you about your students’ learning, and decide what changes to make, if any.

Dr Cruchley says, "I used TurningPoint to administer the MCQ’s quizzes last year and this is something that the students engaged with well. This year I am planning on using Zoom polling to this instead, as most of the live content will be delivered via Zoom. I have only used this to a limited degree so far this year, as most of my teaching is in the second semester."  

Zoom polling works well when you are already teaching in Zoom, as there is no need for students to navigate to another window to engage with the questions on a different app. Zoom polls can seem daunting at first and do require preparation. It is possible to pre-set the poll questions in Zoom, and indeed this is ideal as creating them ‘on-the-fly’ in a session is difficult. Questions can be preloaded into each Zoom meeting through the meeting details in the web interface or through Zoom in Canvas via a CSV upload. Questions are then controlled during the meeting, with options to share and save the responses. Polling is anonymous within the session. You have a choice of Multiple Choice or Multiple Answer questions. Rather than writing specific questions, some colleagues write and re-use the same generic questions. This allows for speedier set-up and more opportunity for off-the-cuff polling. For example, a generic ‘I understood this topic: A. Well, B. Reasonably, C. Not really’ question type can be used in any session. Zoom FAQs 

TurningPoint is a standalone polling platform which can be accessed by students anywhere, and across devices, using a dedicated app or via a web browser. It can be integrated with PowerPoint or used on its own and is equally well suited to the bi-modal environment as the face to face environment. Unlike Zoom, TurningPoint can be used with a range of question types and free text responses, if you want to ask more open questions. Find out more about TurningPoint Polling

  • Let your students know what you learned from the CAT and how you will use this information.

To take a look at the range of CATs, take a look at HEFi’s Classroom Assessment Techniques page on the Remote Teaching Resource. For more examples of CATs that aren’t explored in the RTR, take a look at the ‘Further Reading Tab’, which contains links to additional resources.

Further Reading

See this relevant section in the RTR on Classroom Assessment Techniques:

There is also a section on using the Canvas Quiz as formative feedback. This focuses on feedback to students on their learning, rather than on students giving feedback to the lecturer, but is still relevant for developing a culture of better communication between staff and students on progress, and mutual understanding