simple browser-based polls as student response systems?

handheld-srsI’ve been looking at various options for student response systems – primarily clickers – and have been quite frustrated at how that market is set up. I wouldn’t be able to recommend use of those, in good conscience, given the recurring costs. It also seems a little strange to compel students to buy a specific piece of hardware to perform the task, when they (almost) all have laptops and/or smartphones in their hands anyway.

Why not just use a browser-based polling system to solicit and collect student responses during class? Ideally, it should be easy for the prof/instructor/TA/teacher to add new questions on the fly, which appears to be a weakness in the current web-based polling systems. But it feels like a much more productive approach, rather than sinking money into vendor-locked hardware that students have to pay to unlock each semester.

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at web based systems to handle student responses and feedback. Last summer I was looking for something to fit the bill, and didn’t find anything that really did what is needed – a simple, frictionless, flexible app that lets profs (or anyone else) ask a question (or a series of questions) and gather responses in realtime, and also allow on-the-fly modification and posting of new questions.

It seems to me that something like PollDaddy, TooFast or PollEverywhere (which allows response via SMS and the web) may be more appropriate, but even these aren’t quite what’s needed.

Web-based student response systems (ala clicker?)

I’ve been looking for something to fill this need for awhile now, but haven’t found a decent solution.

We’ve got students coming to class with web-enabled devices (laptops, iPod Touch, iPhone, smart phones, etc…) and it makes sense to take advantage of this stuff wherever possible. Instead of making students buy and lug around yet another piece of gear, I’m looking for an effective way to provide assessment and response functionality via a web browser.

I don’t care if it’s a custom app that needs to be installed on a server, or a third party thingamawacky. Just that it’s accessible by a browser, and can be used in the context of a class (so, One Big Shared App would need to have rooms or classes or something to help organize the communication). The web interface for the student responses needs to be lightweight – no java, no flash – so that it can run anywhere (or as close to anywhere as is physically possible) and must be easy to use.

Ideally, the web app should do handy things like collecting stats from responses, charting the breakdown of the responses, letting people ask questions to be answered by the class, etc… It should be displayable on The Big Screen from a computer so the class can see the results in a presentation format. Bonus points for storing the responses for later use as well, and providing a downloadable dump of the data for crunching if needed.

Has anyone found anything that serves this purpose?