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Introduction to Vevox

Vevox update: We have now reached the limit of our Vevox license allowance. However, we may still be able to accommodate a few more by removing inactive accounts.

Please read the information on this page (especially Section 2), and complete the request form to go onto the waiting list. We cannot guarantee a license for everyone who applies, but will try our best to prioritise. You can also get a free Vevox account for smaller groups or to try it out.

In December we will be asking current users if they wish to continue using it for the Spring term. This should free up some more licenses.

1. Introducing Vevox

Vevox is a personal response system (PRS) for enabling responsive teaching, peer learning and active learning in large-group teaching.

PRS allows individual students to respond to questions and make contributions, anonymously or not (the teacher decides), even when they are in large classes (Vevox has a theoretical limit of 1500 students).

By default, students respond anonymously. If you want to analyse the responses of individual students, switch on profiles in the meeting settings (but please clearly tell the students why you are doing this).

Vevox supports the following question types:

As well as a Q&A feedback channel, and surveys that students can complete in their own time.

 We use Vevox in our IATL module Introduction to Design Thinking. This is a very challenging, fast-moving, module in which students from many different disciplines must learn concepts and techniques fast. We add short peer-learning activities throughout the lectures, in which students work together to respond to questions or to analyse designs using new concepts. Q&A is used to open up dialogue, to encourage students to be creative and to contribute ideas anonymously even when they are not really that certain about them. We also use it in a simpler way, to poll opinions and to adjust teaching plans to suit the students.

Dr Robert O'Toole, National Teaching Fellow.

Vevox is primarily a browser-based tool, through which we can pose questions in lectures, get feedback and run surveys. There is also a PowerPoint add-in (Windows only), which allows us to add poll questions as special interactive slides in PowerPoint. Connect your slides to a Vevox meeting, and then when you get to an interactive slide in your presentation, the question will open for responses from the students. For most people, we recommend using the PowerPoint based approach.

Polls, Q&A and surveys are created within meetings. A meeting is a collection of questions, surveys and Q&A. The teacher might create a single meeting for a single session (e.g. a lecture), or reuse a meeting over many sessions. Each meeting has a unique identifier, used by the students to connect to it. Responses may be exported in Excel format. Meetings can be shared with other teachers, who are added as additional organisers. They may then be reused with more than one class. Sets of questions may also be downloaded as an open format called JSON.

Key facts
  1. When you start using Vevox with students, use the student information page to explain what it is and how their data will be used.
  2. Use Vevox when students can respond with their own phones, tablets or laptops in class.
  3. Use Turning Point clickers when students cannot use their own devices (e.g. for outreach sessions with school children). We will eventually phase out clickers completely.
  4. For more than 100 students in a Vevox class, and to use all of the question types, a teacher license is required.
  5. ITS provides teacher licenses for use in large-class teaching (conditions apply).
  6. Teachers dashboard: http://vevox.com
  7. Students access to sessions: http://vevox.app 

2. Is Vevox right for you?

We have a limited number of licenses for Vevox, with each teacher license costing the university £100 for a year, so we want to make sure that it is used effectively and appropriately for:

Large-group teaching: where the teacher spends a significant amount of time addressing the whole class, the size of which means that the teacher cannot easily hold discussions with each and every individual. Vevox overcomes some of the barriers that occur in these circumstances.

Use it if it will enable either of these pedagogic design aims:

Responsive teaching: where we actively respond to the needs and interests of the students as they develop during the learning process. In its simplest form, we get students to answer or ask questions, consider their responses, and we respond to their needs. This may also include engaging students in co-designing before, during and after they participate in modules and programmes, and using inputs from alumni. Responsive teaching requires a process of actively gathering feedback and data, reflecting and redesigning. By leaving space in the curriculum for flexible learning, and by changing the relationship we have with students (as partners), we can enable more responsive teaching.

Active learning: where students are actively involve in the learning process, rather than passively, thoughtlessly, present. Active learning may involve greater physical involvement, with students on their feet. It may involve students editing or creating digital artefacts. In either case, students actively co-construct knowledge, events, and objects, and have a higher degree of emotional, cognitive and behavioural engagement.

Peer learning: Where are get students to work together and learn from each other. This might involve team work on a challenge. Or we could get one student to teach the other student (taking turns). The act of teaching is a good way to develop and practice understanding. The physicist Eric Mazur documented many such techniques in his book Peer Instruction (1996).

Some ways in which Vevox is used at Warwick:

If you have covered potentially difficult content, and you need to check understanding before moving on, add an interactive question to your PowerPoint using the Vevox system. Students answer using their own devices (laptop, phone, tablet), and you can see the responses immediately. If necessary, do a follow up activity to address problems - you could use peer learning techniques to get the students to share their understanding. This is especially useful when you are teaching a sequence of concepts that build on each other, or when dealing with especially difficult threshold concepts.

A simple but effective technique for deepening student understanding by getting them to explain and explore topics together. Ask a reasonably difficult or provocative question (you can do this as an interactive Vevox slide in PowerPoint). Then get the students to discuss the reasons for their answers, preferably with a partner who disagrees. Ask them the same question again (re-poll in Vevox), and see how the response has changed. You could get students to share what they have learned with the whole class. Then tell them what you think the answer is, and explain it (perhaps addressing some of the misunderstandings that lead to people getting it wrong). By comparing before and after, you have a clear measure of learning gain.

You can keep a simple text feedback channel open during sessions, using the Q&A tool in Vevox. You can put this onto the main screen where everyone can view it, or keep it on your own screen.

Use Vevox to add simple welfare checks into you lectures, to get a sense of the overall state of the students. Questions to assess if they are: physically comfortable in the teaching space; happy with the social aspects of the group; emotionally engaged with learning; etc. You can add Vevox questions into a normal PowerPoint. Students respond anonymously using their own devices (phones, tablets, computers). You can hide the responses, or show them on the screen immediately.

Using Vevox we can add questions into a PowerPoint presentation. Students answer the questions as they appear, using their own devices (laptop, tablet, phone). The responses are recorded, and can be analysed after the session (using Vevox's built-in reporting tools, or by downloading the data to Excel). We usually use this anonymously, however if students identify themselves when connecting to Vevox, you can track and analyse the performance of individual students (but make sure they know that you are doing this beforehand).

Using Vevox, you can add a set of questions to a PowerPoint slide show. The students can answer them anonymously in class, using their own devices (phones, computers, tablets). You can choose whether you want the results to appear immediately on the screen (as a chart) or not (they are saved at the end, and you can review them in the reporting tool or export to Excel). You might also generate a word cloud of student responses. This is especially effective when used for fast, small, occasional feedback exercises throughout a module. Target the questions so that you can act upon them by modifying activities and tasks.

3. Using Vevox

The pages below contain information on how to download and/or install the Vevox powerpoint add-in.

Vevox may be used in three different ways during live teaching sessions. We suggest that you decide on the appropriate option for your needs, and learn how to do that first.

    1. Polling in PowerPoint using the Vevox add-in
    2. Polling in PowerPoint, plus Q&A through the Vevox dashboard in a web browser
    3. Polling and Q&A all running within the Vevox dashboard in a web browser 

As options 1 and 2 do not work on Apple computers (no add-in), Apple users should either use PowerPoint on the teaching room PC, or use option 3 (browser based).

4. Try Vevox

If you think you will use Vevox in the pedagogic and technical ways described above, you can try out the system for free using a free Education license. This is limited to 100 student responders in a session and allows Q&A and Multichoice Poll questions*. There are excellent videos on the Vevox.com web site demonstrating how to use it.

Create a free account on the Vevox.com website.

  1. Go to PRICING
  2. Select the EDUCATION tab
  3. SIGN UP FOR FREE.

From July 2019 we will be able to offer webinars and training sessions - contact us through the IT Services Help Desk at vevox@warwick.ac.uk

*It does not allow text, rating, numeric polls, word clouds or survey type questions.

5. Request a licensed account

If you need more than the free Education licence, you may be interested in a licensed account.

As of July 2019 we began requesting accounts for existing Turning Point users who our data shows have used the system extensively. We have now opened this up for another 20 users. Use this request form for to tell us why you need an account.

Here is a short video that explains all you need to know to get started with Vevox (note that you can ignore the section on upgrading to a paid account):

Thanks

Academic Technology Team, University of Warwick

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