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Best Practices: Creating a Poll

Best Practice Scenarios

The Choice activity (poll), allows instructors to quickly assess student opinion about a single topic. There are some benefits and limitations to using this activity, for more information, jump to: Benefits and Limitations of the Choice Activity. The Group Choice activity allows students to enroll themselves in a group within a course on GauchoSpace. The teacher can select which groups students can choose from and the maximum number of students allowed in each group. If you want the students to give more detailed feedback, beyond asking one question, please use the Feedback tool: Best Practices: Creating a Survey.

The Choice Activity

The following are scenarios in which you would use the Choice activity:

  • You want students to select from a list of possible readings.
  • You want students to indicate the class session in which they will deliver oral presentations, facilitate in-class discussions, or take notes as class historian.
  • You want students to sign up for a meeting (office hours, instructor-student conferences, etc.).
  • You want to conduct a small, informal poll of student opinions.

How to set up a basic poll of the class (Choice tool):

  1. Log in to GauchoSpace and enter your course site. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Select the week/section block in which you would like the activity and click Add an activity or resource. Select Choice and click Add to create your poll.

  3. Edit the module settings by giving the choice a name, entering a description (e.g., instructions for students), indicating the display format, entering the options for the choice activity, and selecting the type, display, and anonymity of results.
  4. Click Save and return to course.

Viewing and downloading the results of your Choice activity:

  1. In your course's GauchoSpace site, look for the Activities block.
  2. Click on Choices and click the name of your Choice activity.
  3. In the Choice Administration block, select View Responses.
  4. From here you can download in ODS, Excel and a text format.

Benefits of the Choice Activity

  • As a formative assessment (assessment for learning), this tool can quickly assess students’ understanding of a topic.
  • As an anticipatory set, this tool can stimulate thinking about and generate interest in an upcoming topic or concept.
  • As a student-centered teaching strategy, this tool can facilitate student decision-making.
  • There are many options for the design of your Choice tool. The tool can allow students to change or view other responses, or the instructor can limit its function to a single attempt or private poll.
  • Online, organized record of responses. Rather than collect and later sort “exit tickets” at the end of a class session, or pass around a paper sign-up sheet for a meeting or presentation, instructors can have students indicate their responses online via the GauchoSpace course site. Whether or not the choice tool is set to allow students to see or change their responses, the instructor can view the record at any time.

Limitations of the Choice Activity

  • The choice tool is most appropriate for classes or groups of thirty (or fewer) students. If there are too many participants or too many options from which students can make their selections, the tool is visually cluttered and difficult to navigate.
  • The choice tool is not appropriate for soliciting longer feedback, as one might seek in a mid/end of term evaluation or survey/learning inventory. Instead use the Feedback Activity.
  • The choice tool is limited to a single question with multiple options (choices) for students to select. It is not appropriate for surveys or questionnaires that include more than a single question to poll the class.
  • Selections are not anonymous. Even if the tool is set to hide responses from students, the instructor can still view the results, which are directly linked to individual participants.
  • The choice tool does not currently have any other communication methods beyond the student action of making a selection. So, if the tool is used to form groups or indicate a desired conference time, for example, students and/or instructors must enter the tool to recall the responses.

The Group Choice Activity

The following is a scenario in which you would use the Group Choice Activity:

  • You want students to self-select into in-class groups for a project, in-class presentation, or other assignment.

Adding a Group Choice Activity

Prior to adding the Group Choice activity to your course site, you must first create the groups that students will self-select when they enter the Group Choice activity.

    1. Log in to GauchoSpace and enter your course site. Click Turn editing on.
    2. Select the week/section block in which you would like the activity and click Add an activity or resource.
    3. Select Group Choice and click Add.

    4. Give the Group Choice activity a name and description (provide clear instructions on selecting their groups).
    5. Edit the Miscellaneous Settings to create the results you want for your course and the choice the students will make in the activity.

    6. Click Save and return to course.


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