Candace Glendening | Poll Everywhere

Case Study in Brief

Courses: CHEM-101: Mother Earth Chemistry, CHEM-104: Whodunit! A Course in Forensic Science, BIOL-103: Issues and Techniques in Genetic Engineering and BIOL-107: Concepts of Biology

Instructor: Candace Glendening

Semester: Fall 2017, Spring 2018, and May 2018

Number of Students: 20 per class

Instructional Designer/Consult: Ryan Glidden


Students in Dr. Glendening's courses will remark that learning checks are nothing new. Glendening has been using clickers in her presentations for years. She finds resources such as PowerPoint to be helpful tools for staying on track, and clickers help students engage. Low-stakes quizzing (or learning checks) is a great way for students to provide professors with live feedback on the difficulty and ability to master subject matter. This year, Glendening decided to take clickers to the next level by having a few questions at the start of each class that were higher stakes – points towards their final grade. These questions reviewed concepts students had covered in the previous class and asked questions in a similar format to what would be found on an exam. This helped prepare the students who spend most of their time writing papers and discussing issues in class, for a more concrete form of assessment. Using Poll Everywhere, Glendening integrated student responses into her Moodle gradebook, where she could better review data on how well each student was performing. Poll Everywhere also makes use of the new age Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, which is great for schools with limited budgets. With a BYOD model, every student can access Poll Everywhere, without placing a financial burden on the school to maintain physical clickers.


  • Poll Everywhere
  • Mobile device, laptop or tablet. 

Target Skills

  • Critical Thinking: Students analyzed and applied chemistry and biology concepts.

    Engagement: Learners actively engaged with the instructor, solidifying knowledge.

Instructor’s Perspective

A proponent of clickers, Glendening integrated learning checks into her teaching long before it was cool. She found that survey tools wake up her students and make them participate. "It's a really good way to check in with your students," she noted. "I think it's a great way to keep them involved". With two classes each term, meeting twice a week in a 3 hour integrated lecture/lab format, Glendening goes through about 240 learning checks each term. No small feat! Glendening found, at least anecdotally, that when she started having the review questions count for actual points, student’s exam scores went up by 3%-6%. While the improved exam scores is a definite plus, Glendening notes that one downside is when students sometimes pause to write down the learning check questions because it takes them out of the moment.

Recipe for Success 

  1. 1. Implement soft learning checks to provide you with feedback and get students actively participating.
  2. 2. Use Poll Everywhere in every session.
  3. 3. Engage with your students. Don't just read off slides.
  4. 4. Be fun and flexible with the questions. Include a silly question at the start of the session will remind the students that the points at the beginning of class aren’t a huge portion of their grade. If the bulk of the students get a particular question wrong, be prepared to re-poll so they all answer it properly, it’s not about them losing the point, it’s about them learning a particular concept.