Fabio Ambrosio, J.D./LL.M., C.P.A.
School of Business
Instant Feedback with Online Polls
Fabio Ambrosio, Assistant Professor of Accounting, is a self-proclaimed computer geek. Employment in the financial sector and government opened his eyes to the importance of technology in the workplace. His first experience with technology-based education occurred when the IRS asked him to develop national training courses to be delivered both live and virtually. He realized the challenges involved in developing engaging content and obtaining learning feedback. This opened the door to his exploration of many types of learning tools, including online polling.
What is one instructional technique or project that is particularly effective, innovative, or engaging?
“I encourage my students to bring their laptops, tablets, cell phones or anything else. I keep them technologically engaged in a way that they will not have the time or desire to do anything else on their machines during class. Students have cell phones and they will bring them to class. That is the reality of 2014. Why not put them to use? The students are intrigued by the idea of ‘texting for learning.’”
“Technology allows us to collect information about behavior. Information is just as precious to a company wishing to market a product as it is to an educator wishing to improve specific areas of performance at the class level or at the individual student level.”
What related tool or strategy do you use that other PLU faculty might like to try in their courses?
“Although I have many untested ideas, this semester I relied heavily on a neat PowerPoint plugin called Poll Everywhere. PollEv allows me to embed polls in my PowerPoint presentations. I can create multiple choice questions, T/F questions, or open ended questions and embed them by surprise in my presentation.
The students can answer polls though their phones, computers, or tablets. For open ended questions, they can type in their answers. The system tells me how many students are attending the poll and how many have cast their vote. The poll results are updated instantly on the class screen.”
What are the benefits, for you and your students, of utilizing this tool or strategy?
“My experience has been that quality decisions are made through quality information. Plenty of quality information is available to most of us if we only know how to reach it and use it. Businesses are well aware of this competitive advantage and employ technology to the fullest extent they can to maximize profits. I want to engage the students to get a taste of ‘reality sandwich’ before they enter the workplace by being comfortable with the use of technology.
PollEv allows me to obtain immediate feedback about my class without having to put the spotlight on one specific student. I noticed that students sometimes feel pressure to participate or not participate or to give a right or wrong answer. PollEv allows everyone to participate without fear and gives me the opportunity to reiterate a certain topic while the content is still fresh. I generally embed 1 poll every 5-6 slides.”
What advice would you have for someone interested in trying this tool or strategy?
“PollEv is very easy to use. You may simply visit their website, form an account, and give it a try immediately. While I enjoy embedding my polls into PowerPoint, that is not necessary. You could simply use their online portal to cast your poll.”