20 ways to use ResponseWare

The following activities may be conducted using ResponseWare:

1. Attendance registration – students, signed into the system using their username and password, indicate their presence in the room in response to an attendance poll, the teacher sees a list of students who are present and a list of those who are not, the data may then be analysed, downloaded, or uploaded through a VLE integration (e.g. Moodle).

2. Revision exercises – may occur towards the end of a module, near to exam time, or regularly throughout, often at the start of a lecture to revise what was covered in a previous lecture.

3. Introduction, ice-breaker, warm-up – an intensive series of questions at the start of a lecture, to get the students in the right frame of mind.

4. Maths and statistics – ResponseWare includes a ‘numeric response’ type of question, in which students must respond with the correct number, or within a specified range.

5. Enhancing student engagement by more frequently testing understanding and providing micro-feedback – the most common use of ResponseWare, the aim is to prevent teacher-actions and student-understanding disengaging, as the teacher is able to quickly judge if the students have understood a topic and are ready to move on, and the student is able to recognise their own understanding and progress.

6. Peer learning – the teacher asks the students to discuss a question before, or sometimes after, they answer it, perhaps asking them to discuss their response with someone who has a different response (the method pioneered by Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University).

7. Confidence-based testing – the teacher poses a question, does not immediately provide the answer, asks the students to state how confident they are (via a Likert scale question in ResponseWare), then reveals the answer and gets the students to reflect on the accuracy of their self-efficacy assessment (especially important in disciplines such as medical training, but also used in Economics – pioneered by Dr Fabio Arico of UEA to address the Dunning-Kruger effect amongst students).

8. Rhetorical questioning – the teacher poses a question that is deliberately designed to highlight misconceptions, contentions, false assumptions, leading to deeper investigation and discussion, and potentially to dispelling errors that prevent students from mastering threshold concepts.

9. Gathering creative responses – ResponseWare includes several mechanisms for gathering ideas from the audience, including a system that builds a word cloud from the responses.

10. Decision making – allow students to make choices, with straightforward voting on a list of options or arranging options into ‘priority rankings’.

11. Crowdsourcing choices and definitions – questions and answers can easily be added during a session, meaning that we can gather ideas from students (for example alternative definitions of a word), add them as questions, and get them to vote on them (this has been used at Warwick in medical research).

12. Working against the clock – the teacher is in control of how long students have to respond to a question, they can do this manually, or add a countdown timer, thus encouraging the students to think fast – this can be used within a rhetorical question to force students to respond intuitively or based on perhaps unsound assumptions.

13. Enhancing student engagement through competitions – competitions may be between individuals or the class may be divided (before or during the live session) into teams, points awarded for correct answers, and scores automatically compiled into a leader board.

14. Speed scoring – when the teacher records and tracks individual student performance, or polling is used within a competition, points scored may be adjusted for speed, so that faster responses gain higher grades.

15. Gathering instant student feedback – in addition to making inferences based upon responses to ordinary questions, the teacher may explicitly ask for feedback at any time during a lecture, simply by adding an anonymous feedback question.

16. Module evaluation – more comprehensive feedback surveys may be conducted quickly and efficiently at any time, combining the benefits of gathering feedback in-class (not later online) with the benefits gained by doing this in a digital (not paper) format.

17. Learner/learning analytics – with the ability to download data into Excel or Access (as csv files) or upload data into the VLE, we may easily apply sophisticated analysis algorithms to data from individual or multiple lectures, looking at learning gain and other dimensions from an individual student or group perspective.

18. Demographic learner/learning analytics – we can create demographic groupings before or during lectures, and analyse responses accordingly (for example, if we are teaching students from two different disciplines, we can analyse the differences between their responses).

19. Evaluating the impact of specific teaching and learning activities – using the learning analytics potential of ResponseWare to evaluate the efficacy of specific teaching techniques and activities, testing (for example) the constructive alignment (Biggs) between Intended Learning Outcomes, Learner Activities and Assessment Activities.

20. Social, outreach and fun uses – we have also seen ResponseWare used in many contexts beyond the conventional lecture, as it is an easy to use and fun set of tools.