Do you Doodle? No, I am not referring to those silly drawings that start to appear on your notepad during long meetings. Have you ever found yourself sending a meeting request to a large group for the availability of each person and working diligently to find an overlapping time that will work for all? We all know this task is almost impossible and even if you can find a time, your inbox is now cluttered with the messages associated with the conversation among the group. Doodle makes this process so much easier and efficient. Doodle allows you to send a specific kind of poll to a group for the intended purpose of finding a common meeting time. Each person responds to the poll by selecting the options that will work for them. Based on the responses, you identify the preferred meeting time for the group. And best of all it’s free to use this tool! This tool is great when you need to schedule sessions with students, especially a group of students at once. Watch the below clip to get an idea of how it works.
The academic uses of this tool are endless. I have seen faculty use the tool most commonly for the scheduling of events that happen outside of the normally scheduled class period when the availability of each student is unknown and for academic advising sessions that are often difficult to schedule. The great thing about the tool is that you can provide the group with a variety of options that they must choose from, so their choices are already limited to options that you know will work for you. Also, there are some settings that are really useful for academic purposes, like confidential polls where the name of each participant in the poll is kept private. The names can still be seen by the originator of the poll, but not by others. You also have the ability to limit the number of people that sign up for each time slot and to restrict participants to only choose one of the available options. These settings are really useful when trying to schedule 1-1 sessions with students. This tool is also great for students who need to schedule times to meet outside of class for a group project or to study for an exam. Share the link with them and they can set up a Doodle on their own. Next time you think you have a scheduling nightmare ahead of you, give it a try.
Polling with Qualtrics in Blackboard
Qualtrics is the online survey tool used frequently on campus for a variety of purposes by faculty, staff and students (if you would like to know more about Qualtrics, start here). In addition to the survey functionality, Qualtrics also offers polling functionality. These polls are really easy to create and distribute to a class through Blackboard. You can create a poll on any topic, but the question must be in multiple choice format. They are great for quick questions in which you would like to gather a response anonymously from a group. These polls can be created and then embedded into your Blackboard course to allow responses to be collected over a period of time or live during class.
Follow these three quick steps below:
1. Log in to Qualtrics and create a poll using the Poll tab.
3. Within a Blackboard content item paste this code into the Text Editor in HTML mode (<>) and click submit (if you have not used the HTML model in Blackboard before, I would be happy to walk you through this step).
Below is a screenshot of what the poll will look like in Blackboard with results. Student can respond directly within the Blackboard course and the results will be shown to all immediately. As more students respond, the results will continue to update. The results could then be used in the following class session as a great discussion starter.
Are there other tools that save you time during the semester or just make life a little easier? Please feel free to share your tools and ideas with others by adding a comment to this post.