Over the past several years, there has been a call in higher education to move from traditional lecturing to a more active classroom. However, many faculty members face multiple challenges when attempting to make a large lecture (over 100 students) an active learning environment. One way researchers have suggested engaging a large lecture is through Concept Tests and Peer Instruction, which can require additional resources to be purchased by students, such as electronic response systems or "clickers." This study will investigate the applicability of utilizing the free software PollEverywhere, which can be accessed using student cell phones (Text messages and Twitter) or personal laptop computers (www.pollev.com), as a potential method to improve student engagement by open-ended, reflective, multiple-choice, and content specific questions in a more efficient manner as perceived by students in a large-lecture classroom.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of implementing polling software (PollEverywhere) on student engagement in an introductory computer science large lecture classroom (n = 291). The ease of use of this technology can help with the adoption of this active learning strategy. Research needs to be done to measure the impact of this software. During the fall semester of 2013, a pilot study was completed in an introductory computing course for non-computer science majors. During lecture, students were regularly asked to use the PollEverywhere software to respond to open-ended, reflective, multiple-choice, and content specific questions. At the end of the semester, students were asked to complete the survey to gauge if using the PollEverywhere software specifically changed their views of the course or about using response systems int he class.
The results were generally positive with many of the students stating they enjoyed using PollEverywhere and felt more engaged when PollEverywhere was used. More students felt more engaged with the open-ended questions than with multiple choice questions. Being able to ask open-ended questions is a benefit of using PollEverywhere over a traditional clicker system as well. The pilot study results uncovered a number of supportive elements for using PollEverywhere which will be investigated further in the next stage of the study.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/Wendi_M_Kappers/2/