Grace College

Learn more about how Grace College have transitioned from using student response ‘clickers’ to Vevox, and how this has led to an increase in student engagement.

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Grace College  

Grace College Logo
Founded in 1948, Grace College is a Christian College in the USA that’s home to over 1,200 students.
Situated in the historic lakeside town of Winona Lake, the college has six different schools for varying subjects, and boasts an impressive 70% graduation rate.  

Rick Roberts, an Associate Professor of Biology at Grace College has been teaching at collegiate level for 12 years. He recently presented on one of our Education Pedagogy Webinars, discussing the transition Grace College made during and after the pandemic from using clickers, to using Vevox. Rick uses an individual Vevox license, however the College are hoping to implement Vevox institution wide soon.  

This story will highlight the best bits from the presentation; however, you can watch the webinar in full by clicking below: 

I really like Vevox - the platform is professional and easy to use.

Rick Roberts Associate Professor of Biology

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Using clickers pre-pandemic 

Before using Vevox Rick used clickers, which are small, physical handsets that have various buttons, allowing for multiple choice questions to be answered. Grace College implemented clickers from Mimio around 7 years ago, and they found that using the clickers did increase class engagement.
Image of a Mimio student response clicker handset
The benefits of clickers, according to Rick, were that they could be assigned to students for accountability and were extremely useful for asking multiple choice questions. What’s more, these clickers also recorded data for class contests and were very popular with students. Rick believes the popularity may have been because the clickers became a norm in his classes and so this familiarity was appreciated.  

Despite being popular within classes and useful in some situations, he also outlined the drawbacks of using clickers, and the limitations they had. The clickers only allowed multiple choice and true or false questions, which meant that within a classroom they provided limited interaction. Furthermore, he was not able to tell which member of the class got the first vote in. He also mentioned that the clickers could at times be ‘glitchy’ which interrupted the flow of teaching.  

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Like the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected teaching and Grace College went to remote teaching. In Autumn 2020 however, the college chose to return to in person classes with lots of protective measures in place. As such, shared devices such as clickers were no longer allowed, meaning Rick needed to find a new polling solution that would help to boost student engagement within classes. 

Why was Vevox chosen? 

Rick reviewed several different phone polling packages before the decision was made to opt for Vevox. He liked Vevox as it was web based and accessible on a phone, tablet, or a computer, in addition to being clear and easy to navigate. What's more, he liked the ability to integrate Vevox within PowerPoint, something which was also mentioned as a well-loved feature by Alice Luby, a lecturer in Accounting at Technological University Dublin in our previous pedagogy webinar. 

To watch Alice’s webinar in full and hear her top tips on how to keep students engaged using Vevox, just click below!  

How does Rick use Vevox? 

Many lecturers use Vevox for both in person and remote teaching, however Rick only uses Vevox for in-person classes, where he feels Vevox is, for his style of teaching, more effective. He frequently uses multiple choice polling, both regular and timed. At times he’ll run a rapid-fire poll where students will only have a short amount of time to respond with an answer, to see who can get the answer first. This instils a small amount of competitiveness to the classroom which he feels at times is beneficial. Other features that he uses in class regularly are word cloud polling and data collection

What’s more, Rick also uses Vevox to run a comparison of answers to questions both pre and post-test. This is so that he can understand whether knowledge has been retained. The leader board is also used in lessons to add a competitive edge – something that some lecturers have refrained from using due to a fear that some students will become disheartened by seeing where they are on a leader board of the whole class if they’re struggling with a particular topic. To negate this issue, when using the leader board, he will only show the top two in the class. 

What do Grace College students think of Vevox? 

Overall, Rick feels that most students really do appreciate the change of pace in a lecture when Vevox is used. He has received countless positive comments about how easy it is to use, and through using it in class, student engagement has improved. Although students could theoretically use their phone for other means than Vevox when he uses it in class, Rick has so far had no issues and all students engage and interact with Vevox when it is used.  

Interested in learning more about how Vevox can help improve teaching and increase student engagement? Check out this episode of our Pedagogy Webinar series, where Rob Lowney, a Learning technologist from Dublin City University shared his top tips for success using quizzing in Vevox. 

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