Stephanie Dyer

  • Socrative Evaluation
  • Stephanie Dyer
  • Hutchins School of Liberal Studies
  • Fall 2014

Project Set Up

 I experimented with using Socrative in LIBS 205, a brand new course I am teaching for the first time during the fall semester 2014 to 181 students in Warren Auditorium, Ives Hall. Over the first 6 weeks of class, I made use of the following functions in Socrative: Quick Question (2 times) and Quiz (3 times).

Project Description and Course Objectives

 Hutchins School of Liberal Studies courses are traditionally rooted in active learning pedagogy, primarily delivered in a small seminar format. However, in recent years LIBS has begun offering large lecture format classes that cover General Education Area C content and are open to non-majors. LIBS 205 is one of these new course offerings. I thought that in order to preserve the centerpiece of what makes Hutchins pedagogically unique, it would be important for me to integrate class participation into the large course as much as possible. Therefore I have a TA who is tracking students’ verbal participation in in-class discussion for me each week. I am awarding points for participating in those discussions, as well as using Moodle forums outside of class.

Above all, I wanted to break through the tendency for students to become passive audiences in large lectures and encourage them to think of themselves as a community of learners. I found Socrative appealing as adjunct tool for enhancing participation in in-class discussions. The ability to poll students anonymously, generate real time answers, and project visual tables of the results onto the screen in the auditorium could really break the ice and spur student engagement. I did not attempt to award points to students simply for participating in Socrative polling activities – only when they verbally participated in class in response to the poll did I award them points.

Quick Questions Function – Week 1 and Week 6

During lecture in the first week of class, I used the short answer mode of Quick Question to poll student opinion on a particular set of questions I asked them verbally. I then asked students to vote on which of the student responses to my initial questions they agreed with. Using this function in a class of 181 proved to be a bit chaotic. Because I allowed anonymous participation, I got a couple of joke answers. But more problematically, I tended to get repetitive or indecisive answers to my questions. Students would then have to vote on which of these 40+ answers they preferred. At least a half dozen or more of these responses got votes per question. So while the activity in class was very stimulating for the group, it did not yield clearly differentiated response choices from which to drive a particular message home to my students. On the last question I posed, my TA attempted to purge out some of the redundant responses to streamline the voting process and make the choices clearer; but trying to delete some student responses caused Socrative to bump us out of the Quick Question function altogether.

During the sixth week of class, I returned to using Quick Question again, but in the True/False answer mode. At the beginning of lecture, I posed a series of specific questions to students and polled the room anonymously for answers. The graphical representation of their real time True/False responses proved very effective in this case, and beautifully set up the lecture material that followed.