Gamifying Formative Assessment to Increase Engagement

This entry is part 1 of a 3 part series: The Power of Poll Everywhere.

Since the University of Delaware (UD) acquired a license for Poll Everywhere in 2020, this educational technology tool has become a catalyst for promoting active learning and enhancing engagement for multimodal teaching and learning. Poll Everywhere is an online polling platform that can be used to collect real-time responses from students, whether teaching in-person or remotely, synchronously or asynchronously. The only requirement for Poll Everywhere presenters and participants is a smart device with internet access. The UD community has quickly taken to incorporating Poll Everywhere since last year, with nearly 1,000 polling presenters that have collectively developed more than 20,000 polling activities for more than 13,000 UD registered users. As instructional designers that support those who teach at UD to utilize this technology, we have come to learn that the UD community is using Poll Everywhere in extremely creative ways.

In this blog series, we will share faculty perspectives about Poll Everywhere and current uses of Poll Everywhere across disciplines. Collectively, these faculty use Poll Everywhere to stay engaged with their course material; prepare for national licensure exams; collect evaluative feedback about their courses; and gauge their learning experiences and opportunities for continued learning mastery. As you read along in this series, imagine the possibilities of Poll Everywhere through various faculty perspectives.

In Part 1 of this series, we share the perspective of Max Dolinsky, Assistant Professor of Finance from the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. Imagine you’re teaching and want to assess how your students are interacting with the class readings in a fun and engaging way. Do you…

  1. rely on the outcome of summative learning assessments?
  2. rely on students coming to your office hours prepared to discuss reading materials?
  3. use Poll Everywhere competition question type to assess student learning?

If you chose A or B, this article will help you understand how Poll Everywhere provides alternatives for interacting with class readings in a fun and engaging way, complete with data collection and analysis.

If you chose C, Poll Everywhere should be helping to meet your needs for collecting student responses. The Poll Everywhere team in IT Academic Technology Services is available for those who want to explore additional activity types.

At a glance

Featured faculty Max Dolinsky, Assistant Professor of Finance

Max Dolinsky

Max Dolinsky

Classes sizes 18-40 students
Class format In the classroom, using case study and other approaches
Favorite Poll Everywhere activity Competitions for class readiness

Max Dolinsky, Assistant Professor of Finance in the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics, uses Poll Everywhere Competitions to ask multiple choice questions regarding current events and weekly readings. Professor Dolinsky has found that pairing Poll Everywhere with UD’s subscription to the Wall Street Journal is an excellent way to merge course topics with current events. In this course, students are directed to the business and finance section. However, there are a plethora of other topics to choose from, allowing this approach to be utilized with any discipline. In addition to current events, Professor Dolinsky includes questions about readings that students were expected to complete before class to ensure that students are engaging with course materials. Professor Dolinsky finds the Leaderboard aspect of the Competitions feature to be particularly useful. After each set of questions during a class session, the leaderboard shows the top 10 students. Students start fresh each class session with the opportunity to make it to the leaderboard. Professor Dolinsky uses the leaderboard in two ways, to become better acquainted with his students and to recognize students on the top of the leaderboard. As for grading poll questions, Professor Dolinsky uses Poll Everywhere participation as a small percentage of the overall grade in the course. He implements a threshold that students must meet in order to earn full credit so as not to affect their final grade if they do not answer 100% of Poll Everywhere questions. Whether students have already received their full credit or are still working towards obtaining points, Professor Dolinsky has found that “the gaming aspect of it keeps everyone engaged” and describes Poll Everywhere as a “playful engagement tool.”

Competition question about current event from the Wall Street Journal

There are many unique approaches to using Poll Everywhere at the University of Delaware. Regardless of approach or discipline, we have commonly found that incorporating Poll Everywhere helps instructors to improve student engagement, deliver authentic assessment, and gauge learning mastery. Our hope is that the strategies presented in this blog series will provide inspiration for how Poll Everywhere may be used in your course.

This is the first of three articles in this series. Keep an eye out for the next two articles (2) Fostering Critical Thinking for Licensure Exam Preparation and (3) Using Poll Everywhere Teams for Collaborative Peer Feedback, E-Journals and Discussion Starters.

If you’d like assistance implementing any of these approaches, or if you’d like to brainstorm an approach unique to your course and discipline, we’d be happy to help. Contact us at to schedule a consultation or visit the Poll Everywhere at UD website.