Facilitating interaction:  Using digital tools to enhance student engagement in lectures and seminars

Turning Technologies

Image from Turning Technologies


Laura Stiefenhöfer – PhD Applied Linguistics

Everybody who has watched “Who wants to be a millionaire” has witnessed the moment when the audience gets to directly participate in the candidate’s quest for the prize money by helping them through polling the correct answer to one of the questions. This is done via a Personal Response System (PRS). These systems are not only used in quiz shows, but have also found wide use in classrooms.

The Linguistics and English Language Department is exploring ways to increase interaction and engagement in seminars and lectures through the Personal Response System TurningPoint. With TurningPoint, students can answer and vote on questions from the lecturer, using their own personal mobile devices. The results are then immediately displayed, generating quick feedback. By using anonymous polling students can participate in class without peer pressure. In addition, TurningPoint can also be used to initiate further discussions among students and foster critical thinking. Results of the polls taken in each class can be stored and used for course evaluation or diagnostic testing.

The enormous variety of features offered by TurningPoint presents a big advantage as well as a potential challenge. Therefore, in this project we aim to identify the features of TurningPoint which are likely to be most relevant for contents taught in the department. Based on staff feedback we’ll create several example activities which cater to the different needs of the people involved in the department’s teaching. Together with suggestions for the integration in teaching practice, these activities will then be disseminated through a series of workshops for the department’s teaching staff.

This project is now complete. The case study is available: Case Study: Digital Tools to Enhance Student Engagement in Lectures and Seminars

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