Checking Students' Understanding with Polls
Christof is a Professor for Cell Biology at the German University, LMU Munich.
During his weekly lectures, Christof wanted to check that his students had not only memorized but also understood the presented material.
I wanted to make my students think about the content and engage with it, not just to listen passively, he shares.
During a faculty discussion about how to improve teaching, Christof came across Slido.
The University encourages digital learning. They like it when we make our classes interactive with technology, smiles Christof.
So I gave it a go.
Using live polls to check students’ understanding
At the start of each lecture, Christof runs a few Slido polls displayed on the screen to recap the previous class. This helps him to find out whether the students understand the material.
The poll questions cover the most important points I want students to remember, he adds.
For example, How do mitochondria look in a cell? or Why do proteins travel to the + pole?
He gives students a couple of minutes to post answers.
When I get a reasonable number of votes, I display the results and comment on each option before revealing the correct answer.
Overall, 90% of his students participate in the polls.
It’s great feedback for me. The results show what’s getting to students and what’s unclear. If the students should know it by now, but most don’t get it, I can re-explain it.
An interactive way to make students think
In addition to checking students’ comprehension, Christof also uses polls to get their thinking caps on throughout the class.
I use poll questions that don’t purely ask what they've memorized. I want them to think about it and gain transferable knowledge which they can apply in other areas, Christof explains.
To achieve this, Christof shares information in parts. After each part, he runs a poll and asks students to reflect on it and give an answer before he continues with the lecture.
At the end of the term, Christof uses some of the poll questions in the final exam.
I give them a feel for the questions and if I need to, I can just copy them from Slido into the paper.
Students really enjoy using Slido, too.
Slido is fun. It gives them something different to do, instead of just sitting there passively.
The result: A better learning experience for students
Slido helps Christof identify knowledge gaps and the points that need clarification. He also uses poll questions to get students to think about, and engage with, the presented material in more depth. As a result, it helps Christof enhance his students’ learning and prepare them for tests.