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Interaction During Lecture

There are many good reasons to add more interaction moments into your teaching and lectures. It is difficult for most people to stay focussed and alert for long periods of time while sitting and listening to someone speak, even if the speaker is highly engaging. Building in interactive moments every 15-20 minutes can help the audience stay focussed, give them a point to “rejoin” the lecture or talk if their mind has drifted, and most importantly, allow the instructor to check for understanding and feedback.

Feedback Tools in Collaborate

If teaching online in Blackboard Collaborate, there are status and feedback tools that can be very useful for quick check ins about pacing and content. In the bottom center area of the screen, students can click on their profile icon and open options to share 30 second status updates to indicate how they are feeling. These updates appear next to individual names in the attendee/participant panel, as well as in a tallied format at the top of the same panel.  

To the right of the profile icon, there is also a button that students can click to “raise their hand”. This allows them to notify the instructor that they would like to ask a question or make a comment without interrupting.

If using feedback tools in Collaborate, consider keeping the attendees/participant panel open at all times so that it is easier to see their status updates.

When teaching online, it can feel very lonely and isolating to not know who is in the “room” with you. Although encouraged to turn on their webcams, for a variety of reasons, many students may not feel comfortable doing this. Request that students at least upload a profile photo or avatar so you don’t feel like you are teaching to empty, black profile squares/bubbles.

Polls & Quizzes in Collaborate

If teaching online using Blackboard Collaborate, there are some options for quick polls and quizzes right within the session tools. Please note that with both of these options, questions cannot be created in advance (only immediately as you need them), and responses are not saved or downloadable.

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere is a robust polling tool with many features and functions. All instructors at the University of Groningen have access to premium Poll Everywhere accounts through our university-wide subscription. To activate your account, go to  and click Log In at the top right side of the page, Type in your email address, then click next. On the next screen, select, Login with University of Groningen.

There is a quick start pdf guide available online if you wish to quickly review some Poll Everywhere basics.

Questions and activities in Poll Everywhere can be created in advance, and then activated as you need them. Students can respond using their computer, phone, or other mobile device. You can launch the questions directly from your account on the Poll Everywhere site. Alternatively, to avoice switching between tabs, you can nicely embed your questions directly into Powerpoint slides, Google Slides, or Keynote presentations (Mac) - click on each for information about download, installation and use. The process is slightly more tricky on a Mac computer; if you are a Mac user, you may want to watch this video for a more complete explanation.

There are a number of different question types that you can create in Poll Everywhere. Expand the sections below to find out about some of the most common question types. You can also watch this short video for a quick overview.

 Multiple choice

Use this traditional question type for having students select one correct answer from several options given. Answer options can be created as either text or image-based. Find out more about creating multiple choice questions here.


Students can give a more extended written response in their own words. There are different visualization options for open ended questions, including word clouds, text walls, clusters, or spotlights. Find out more about using all types of open ended questions here.

 Clickable image

This is a unique question type which allows you to have students respond to a question by dropping a “pin” onto an image on the screen. You can use one of the images already found on Poll Everywhere, or you can upload an image of your choosing. (Please respect usage rights of images used). Find out more about clickable image questions here.

 Ranking questions

Ranking activities allow participants to move options into the desired order, and then submit the reordered list as one response. The responses are shown as an overall rank on a bar or column graph. Find out more about ranking questions here.

 Upvote (Q&A)

The Q&A activity lets the audience submit open-ended responses (questions or ideas), then upvote or downvote other submissions. This is a great question type for prioritizing questions, brainstorming, and more. Find out more about upvote questions here.


Have some fun with a series of questions where students are given a fixed amount of time to respond, and then given points for the correct answer, and how quickly they entered it. After each question, there is a “leaderboard” projected to show who is winning! Find out more about competitions here.


Surveys allow you to ask your participants multiple questions at once. Everyone can answer the questions privately at their own pace. They’re great for quizzes, pre- and post-class assessments, questionnaires, etc. Find out more about surveys here.


Jamboard is a free, collaborative whiteboard tool that is available as part of our RUG G Suite for Education tools. It can be accessed using any login. The background of the “Jam” can be changed to dots, lines, or graphs (helpful in STEM subjects), or a few colour options; even custom background images can be used. Jamboard can be used in both synchronous and asynchronous activities.

Jamboards are well-suited to a variety of different activities, and can be used for individual presentations, small group collaboration, or for larger group work with up to 50 people at one time. You can create or find Jamboard templates, and make multiple copies of them to share them with smaller groups for them to collaborate on in breakout groups or for other team-based learning.

Some of the basic tools that you can use in Jamboard are drawing/erasing/annotation tools, adding various colours of sticky notes, text boxes, shapes, images, and more. Each “Jam” supports up to 20 “frames” (individual canvases). You can assign individuals or groups to work on different frames, if desired. Frames can be previewed, added, deleted, duplicated, or dragged and dropped in whatever sequence you need. Individual frames can be downloaded as image files; entire Jams (including all frames) can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Some ideas for using Jamboard:

  • Brainstorming activities

  • Mindmapping, project planning, or graphic organizers

  • Dem

  • Shared folders of content for the whole class or smaller groups

  • Use Docs for peer feedback. Students can easily comment on each other’s work asynchronously; additionally, they can use the built in chat to talk to each other while they comment, if working together synchronously. 

  • Create sign-up sheets for presentations in Docs (hint: use a table for better organization).

  • Use docs to create a crowdsourced annotated bibliography! Each student contributes two or three sources, and by working together, they create a rich, useful document!

  • Students can collaborate on projects or essays in a Google Doc, using comments or chat to plan together as they write.

  • Students can collaborate on presentations, visual stories, and more in Google Slides.

  • Slides can be adjusted to be any size, making them useful canvases for graphic design projects, infographics, and more!

  • Each student or group can be assigned one slide to work on in a collaborative assignment (or even as an introduction activity).onstrations of how to solve equations and problems

  • Collaborative annotation of images

  • Digital posters

  • Collaborative labelling activities

  • Virtual gallery walks (comments are left on sticky notes or in text boxes)

  • Digital spaces for collaboration while working in breakout groups

You can find more ideas for using Jamboard on this page from Ditch that Textbook.

Whom to contact?

Contact EDU Support or your faculty's Embedded Expert from ESI for tailored didactic advice in using these suggestions in your teaching. For technical assistance please contact Nestorsupport.

More to Explore

Watch the recording of our webinar on the topic of Poll Everywhere.

Watch the recording of our webinar on the topic of Online Feedback and Assessment.

Visit the Poll Everywhere support center

Last modified: 22 December 10:28 AM
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