EPIC Innovations: Real-Time Polling

Instructor Name: Bonnie Goff

Course Title: Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Department: Psychology
Enrollment: 300
Level: Undergraduate

General Category of Innovation: Engaging Students During Large Lectures

Description: The instructor punctuates 75-minute lectures with 6-8 points at which students engage in a class poll by selecting their response to a multiple-choice question. This can be done with technology (e.g., an online polling app, iClickers) or a structured show of hands (as in the video). The instructor pivots instructionally, based on the poll results.

Rationale for Innovation

One observation that led to this innovation was that sitting through 75 uninterrupted minutes of me talking is not the best way for students to learn. I also noticed that during long lectures where students weren’t actively engaged, I had no information about how their learning was unfolding in real time: did I need to slow down, speed up, provide another example, etc.? Also, after teaching this class multiple times, I began to notice key points where lots of students struggled, so I was on the lookout for ways to support them at those tricky points.

Intended Effect of Innovation

One goal of this innovation was to get better, more frequent information (for both me and the students, themselves) about how well they were following along. I wanted there to be regular points when I could say, “great – now I know what you know and you know what you know” and we could use that information to move forward in the lesson.

Resources for Faculty Considering this Innovation

Research that Supports this Innovation