Carlos Torres

  • Report for Socrative Project
  • Carlos D. Torres
  • Dept. of Anthropology, SSU
  • 9/2/14

Project Set Up

In late April of 2014, I overviewed the potential of socrative.com and created a room number for my course and for students to log in and reply to my questions or assignments. I looked over the three functions being offered for socrative, including “space race,” “quick questions,” and “quiz” functions. Week 13 of the semester I chose to use quick questions, and week 14 I used quiz functions to try out socrative technology.

Project Description and Course Objectives

For my large course of 120 students I have traditionally offered a grade for participation which has been notoriously hard to track at the individual level. In the last few years I have resorted to creating a printed sheet with student names and a number of blank boxes to mark in participation, which I then recopied to a master sheet to record participation. One of the enduring problems is that only a certain number of students raise their hands or speak in class, about 20%. I found that I needed a way to cross the gap and open up students who were shy too public address in a large course.

I know from my own pedagogical training that their are some good ways in a large class to acknowledge participation, such as holding up card colors for a particular answer, or simply answering multiple choice questions on the university learning space -- projected on a screen. What I really liked about the socrative technology was that students were able to simply log in to my course “space” with an id number, and I could get a direct typed short answer response from them via cell phone (no data rates) or computer online.

Week 13 - Quick Questions Function

On week 13, I prepared four participatory questions in advance on the “quick questions” function of socrative, and at a set point during the course while still lecturing, projected these questions one at a time via socrative. It was really advantageous to see responses come in real time projected in this function. One of the only disadvantages I observed was that responses posted from the top down, so to get to the older responses, I had to constantly scroll down (this could have been a simple settings option).

The advantages for participation in a large course for clear to me though:

  1.    the participation rates, because student could answer via text or web, was increased from 20% to 65%. 
  2.  I was able to “call students out” in class who were usually too shy to respond, and because they had already prepared a response, they were much more at ease talking about their own answers as texted.
  3. I could take the participation responses and download them into an Excel file by week to later record for a participation grade. (Working in Excel, I could also then add one file results to another throughout the semester for a semester participation grade.) 

The disadvantages

Using socrative.com as an “external to moodle” resource also presents some grade recording issues. I had to take all of this extra participation into account to re-record into moodle grading. This is an issue which may be resolved with greater integration of external Excel documents with moodle (see next section).

Week 14

On week 14 I decided to use the “quiz function” on socrative.com for participation.

Overall Advantages & Disadvantages

 Using the quiz function in class was very useful, though to review answers I had to end the quiz questions and download results. I also now had another external document to upload for grading. In a formal setting where assignments are regularly scheduled, the quiz function with timed responses, multiple choice options might be useful. 

For my purposes, the “quick questions function” was more readily useful: the ability to see responses to short questions in real time is incredibly valuable, and the potential for getting instant feedback from a large class by creating anonymous answers is also, I believe, really valuable. I also like the quiz function that socrative.com offers, but my questions is “why not just use the quiz function in moodle?” This is a question for me that still needs to be resolved. The quiz function on moodle works in a similar way: results from quizzes can be viewed on screen when needed, but results are automatically tabulated in moodle and go directly into the gradebook. This semester I am taking advantage of moodle’s quiz assignments for participation and reading responses for this reason.

Conclusion

Generally many of the Socrative Stipend Project members had problems with students getting “bumped out” out of the system because both cell phone and wireless connectivity are required in the classroom. I know that in Stevenson 2061, my cell phone reception wasn’t working.

  • Carmen Works (chemistry)reported on Karin Jaffe’s experience with students not being able to log onto socrative.com, or being summarily kicked off in short order. This is also part of the experience of Emily. Carmen also asked how “clickers” differ from some of the functions of Socrative in large classrooms, speaking to the quiz function in Socrative.com—namely multiple choice answers and T/F. Carlos commented that for his classes, short answers were more valuable in most cases and in the social sciences perhaps in general: a benefit in using Socrative.
  • Emily Acosta Lewis talked about using Padlet.com instead—another resource electronic blackboard resource (She recommended keeping your user name short.) She stated that she knew of a professor who used a “chat” forum function to discuss movies, which was successful surprisingly. She also spoke of slideshare.com, a resource for lectures and for “flipping” a course. Carlos went to Padlet.com, but would probably still use socrative.com for in-class participation because of the spontaneity of the resource, the immediacy of response.
  •  Carlos Torres (anthropology) suggested Socatrative.com could be applied to a flipped course. Also that the “Quick Question” function could be used for feedback at intervals during the semester for a large lecture course, doing so anonymously. Carlos also mentioned that for registering participation, the “Quick Question” function was useful because it could be downloaded into an Excel Spreadsheet for tracking participation.
  • Deb Kindy (nursing) hadn’t used socrative yet. We recommended she try something relatively basic. She was worried about connectivity in her classroom of 200 students. She will report on her progress later.