From student research UCLan conducted using Vevox, we know that all students said they enjoyed using Vevox in class with 92% feeling their understanding of the lecture improved with the use of Vevox. These stats combined with comments including, “brilliant app – I love it – use it every lecture” and “It makes lectures so fun!!” is fantastic to hear, but I wondered what the deeper benefits to students were from tools like Vevox…
1. Feeling included
The ‘What works?’ reports showed that the human side of higher education is critical in retaining students. Finding friends, feeling confident and above all, feeling a part of your course of study and the institution is the necessary starting point for academic success. Isolation is a problem for students and Vevox can help create a friendly, collaborative atmosphere in class, allowing students to realise that their peers struggle with the same things as them which creates a feeling of unity. Welcome sessions can particularly benefit from Vevox interaction, allowing students to get to know the group through fun polling questions, fostering a positive bond and allowing them to find common ground, sparking conversation.
2. Staff and student interaction
Research funded by the HE Academy into retention of first year students in HE gathered feedback, such as below, from students:
“I felt quite isolated in terms of studying. Lecturers spoke during lectures and then would leave the room, with no time for questions. During my entire first year I never once met my personal tutor”.
“Felt that lectures were far too impersonal for my liking. There were too many students and you felt that you couldn’t ask questions. If you missed something there was nothing you could do about it. Seminars did not summarise lectures and topics discussed did not seem relevant to them”.
Tools like Vevox can help lessen these negative feelings, by allowing students to ask questions in lectures in a controlled and anonymous manner. It’s a simple, cost effective solution towards improving a wide spread and costly issue that affects students, lecturers and the university. Lecturers often have to spread themselves thinly when classes are large and demands are high. By using Vevox, students feel they have direct dialog with their lecturers, whether it be through using features such as live polling assessment, Q&A or discussion. This positive interaction directly improves student satisfaction and NSS survey results, proving that services like Vevox offer advantages beyond retention and belonging.
3. Continued engagement
The ‘What works?’ report also recommends that one-off activities are insufficient: improving engagement and belonging should extend throughout the first year student experience and beyond. Through our research we found that 67% of students felt Vevox would be useful to use in every or most lectures. Where relevant, some lectures could incorporate a Vevox discussion to introduce a new topic, use anonymous Q&A to survey opinions or facilitate a revision or assessment quiz.
4. Feedback and evaluation
The HE Academy report previously sited the below student quote:
“The main reason for leaving … was the vast contrast of teaching styles between university and college. At university, I felt there was little concern as to whether or not I understood the lectures as well as a presumption I had a substantial understanding of the course matter before I began. I failed to see how I needed to pay over one thousand pounds for a few hours listening to lecturers doing little more than read aloud”.
Students often struggle in adapting to the HE learning environment. Monitoring of progress and learning in HE puts more emphasis on the student and often they don’t have a realistic measure of their understanding. Quick, regular live polls to assess understanding, Q&A to allow students to ask for clarification all helps to ensure that the lecture meets the learning objectives but also for students to recognise what they have learned.
Research Vevox conducted also showed that only 11% of 500 UK students we surveyed felt the traditional lecture format (where a lecturer talks for the whole session with limited interaction with students) worked well. We found that:
- • 56% of students left lectures with a lack of understanding in terms of what the lecture was about
- • 64% of students left lectures wishing certain topics had been more fully explained
- • 53% of students left lectures wondering if everyone else was as confused as you
In that same research, we found that only 37% of students used app or web based tools for live polling and discussion during lectures, so we know there’s a huge opportunity for lecturers and teachers to take advantage of the benefits of Vevox, especially as its free!