Andrew Harkins used the online polling software, VeVox, to increase interactivity in both online and in-person lectures. As an interlude to lectures for a first year module on Microeconomics, students were asked to participate in polls using Vevox and Andrew then integrated the results of the polls into the lecture to help break it up. Andrew found that while students typically already had a very good understanding of the relevant maths concepts, VeVox provided a good way for students to think about how those concepts might be applied to real-word scenarios.
The mains aims of using VeVox in lectures were around interactivity and scalability. The number of students on the module had been increasing for years, which made it harder to introduce interactivity into lectures. VeVox helps to make Andrew’s lectures more interactive and engaging, while also encouraging students to attend lectures rather than just watching the recording at a later date.
- Students are introduced to VeVox software in the first-week of the module. They are shown how to use VeVox and are asked to answer some basic questions, such as where they’re from and why they’re studying Economics, in order to gain familiarity with the technology.
- Students are provided with a log-in.
- Andrew sets the questions for the online poll in advance of the lecture.
- Andrew sends a link to that week’s poll about 30 minutes before the lecture, with a reminder of how to access VeVox and that they will need to have a device with them.
- During the lecture, Andrew puts the log-in details on a slide.
- Students complete the poll on their own device.
- Andrew integrates the results of the VeVox poll into the lecture. For example, in a game where students have to set prices for goods which change over time, Andrew used a second device to export and tabulate the results on an Excel sheet while the students are completing the poll and then displayed these results in a graph during the lecture. More often, however, Andrew uses the VeVox platform itself to display the results during the lecture.
[VeVox] can go as far as you want to take it. It’s very user-friendly…for 95% of the use cases it’s easy for people to get to grips with. It’s only if you want to do something more advanced that isn’t done by VeVox itself that you might have more to get to grips with…it’s definitely easy to use.
Sometimes you have to be careful about how the formatting is going to work. If you want to have your data in an Excel sheet and then display a graph you have to check if I export the data what is it going to look like, what columns are there and that sort of thing. That takes a bit of preparation sometimes.
I really liked the interactive games in live lectures used by Mr Harkins. It was really fun to do and helped me understand concepts better.