Since grades are almost entirely determined through final exams or papers, class participation is an important way to assess learning throughout the semester. Listed below are tools for tracking student responses and evaluating student learning.

Tracking Student Responses: Classroom Seating Chart Tool

The Seating Chart Tool is a great way to learn student names, but it also has a feature that lets you keep track of student responses. By clicking on the icons of students in the seating chart, you can specify what kind of question you asked and how that student responded. Throughout the semester these responses are tracked so you can quickly view the quantity and quality of answers from students. Visit Classroom Seating Chart

For more information of how to use the Seating Chart Tool to track student answers contact, John-Mark Ikeda at,

Polling Students in Class: Clickers and Student Response Tools

Clickers are widely used in academia. Looking similar to a remote control, they allow teachers to quickly collect information from students using multiple choice questions. You can ask questions about the readings to see how much students have retained from the material, or poll students on their responses to lecture topics. During presentations, poll students to find out if you need to cover certain topics or portions of your lecture more thoroughly. Since Clickers are generally used anonymously, students can be honest about what they know or might need more help with. With a clicker in the hand of each of your students, you also get an idea of how the entire class is learning the materials. Clickers can also improve class participation, because they are great at starting class discussions.

Since almost all students have laptops or mobile devices, polling can also be taken without the need for clickers. Using online polling tools like Poll Everywhere, you can ask questions to students and let them respond using a website, text message, or by using a mobile app. Students can also give short text responses to questions and the service is free for up to 30 responses.

Polling tools are also great at evaluating your own teaching style and methods. By understanding how students are learning and what they might be struggling with, you can improve your teaching materials and style. Polling students can also help you to tailor your teaching topics for that specific group of students, since each class will have different topics of interest and/or need extra time on certain material.

Quizzes and polls can also be posted in bSpace, allowing students to respond outside of class. For more information about bSpace, Clickers or Poll Everywhere contact John-Mark Ikeda at,

To reserve Clickers for your class email Media Services at,

To learn more about Poll Everywhere visit,

Student Journals as Assessment Tools: Blogs

Blogs provide a great way to track student responses online. Each student can be given a blog to write about class topics, readings or lectures. It gives students that may not talk in class a great way to share their thoughts with you online. Students that do speak often in class will be able to think through the reading materials and write a response to them before they go to class, so they have a refined point of view. By the end of the semester, you can easily track the learning of your students, since all of their writing will be in one location. While some faculty might dislike that blogs are public, it discourage students from writing in a casual voice. It also allows students to easily read each others work.

For more information about using blogs in your course or to find an alternative student journal method, contact John-Mark Ikeda at,