Recommendations for free class/audience response platform
August 8, 2017 3:28 AM   Subscribe

I've been using mQlicker very happily in my university philosophy courses but they've decided to shut it down. I'd like to hear from the hive about alternatives that they use or know about. Example use and desirable / essential features inside...

A bit of background: I'm a university lecturer, I teach a big entry-level course to my subject, and I've been using mQlicker to get students to deal with a wide range of different types of interrogatives.

Here's one example of how I use it: I ask students a fairly open-ended question, like "What concepts or ideas do you think are importantly related to the concept 'Virginity'?", and the word 'VIRGINITY' gets projected to the centre of the screen with a massive QR-code and a 6-digit 'session key' (and the address: RESPOND.CC) underneath it. I tell students to open up their browsers on their laptops/smartphones (and that if they don't have either they should just pair up with anyone nearby). They navigate to and enter the key or scan the QR-code and their window just says "What concepts or ideas do you think are importantly related to the concept 'Virginity'?" followed by a text box and 'submit'. They can type in single words as many times as they like. I display the mQlicker results page as a wordcloud, and as they submit more and more terms, the wordcloud reshapes and grows in front of them, with words that are mentioned more times growing larger and larger. Here's a completed example.

[3 things of note in that example:
one: there's loads to talk about here, and loads of good teachable things to take from the results, and we do a lot of 'meta-' reflection on what, if anything, this all shows
two: multi-word phrases got broken up in to constituent words, hence 'ever' by itself etc
three: no-one wrote offensive or irrelevant things!]

I use it in other ways – I use it to demonstrate to the class the extent to which they (as a cohort) have or have not understood a target position or analysis, by mapping yes/no or multiple-choice responses to an interrogative on graphs. mQlicker processes all the results as they come in, so I can pepper lectures with these 1 or 2 minute exercises and move quite quickly. It gets people talking, it stops it being all about me at the front saying stuff etc etc. All I have to do is set-up the software in advance – I had a login with saved banks/sets of questions - and it's all surprisingly fluid.

I've dug around a bit, but while I've found quite a lot of things that pitch themselves as being the thing that I need, they tend to be expensive and also don't really show you what's they're actually like to use before you buy. I know Powerpoint supports 'Personal Response Systems', and my university has a bunch of old clickers around, but I don't use Powerpoint and I'd want to use students' smartphones and laptops instead of having to check-out and check-in those clickers. I'd like to hear from MeFites about any positive experiences you've had with any mQlicker-alternative platforms that you've used.

Here's my 'essential features' list:
• free - I have no budget (money? AHhahahah it's a UK Russell Group university)
• runs in a browser
• smartphone friendly – mQlicker worked on android & osx
• quick to use, no complicated log-ins for audience/students, just a QR-code and/or a session key
• supports a 'presentation mode' that is able to turn incoming responses into graphs live / on the fly
• able to store and organise groups / banks of questions

• able to turn incoming responses into wordclouds live / on the fly
• supports multiple-choice questions AND questions with free text answers

A wish too far?
• superfriendly, useable and nice UI - frontend for students AND backend (for instructors). mQlicker ran in JAVA, it had kinda clunky menus and navigation but ultimately it was very well thought out, it was easy to get the hang of it.

Does anything like this exist? Unicorn-hunting and philosophy go well together...
posted by Joeruckus to Education (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Take a look at Poll Everywhere. They run on a freemium model, so you'll be limited in class size and number of classes, but I think it hits all your must-haves.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:38 AM on August 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm a university professor and use Mentimeter. It fulfills all of your essential features + desirable criteria (not sure about storing groups or banks of questions, I've never needed to, but the rest I'm 100% sure of). It's free and easy and my students like it.
posted by forza at 4:46 AM on August 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks! Both look interesting, haven't seen either before.
posted by Joeruckus at 12:47 PM on August 9, 2017

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