University of South Wales

Learn why staff at the University of South Wales are using Vevox within their Hydra simulation environment to increase student engagement and enhance discussions during their simulations.

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University of South Wales

The University of South Wales is a public University that has campuses in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd. The University was formed in April 2013 following a merger between the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport.
Home to over 20,000 students, the University has an institutional licence for Vevox meaning all teaching staff have access to the full feature set of Vevox, including Q&A, live polling, and word clouds. All of these features are at their disposal to use in any of their online, in-person or hybrid classes.
Dr Dean Whitcombe, Immersive Learning Lead and Hydra Manager at the University shared his experience using Vevox with us and outlined the positive impact Vevox has had on teaching and research.

Using Vevox allows student engagement to flourish.

Dr Dean Whitcombe Immersive Learning Lead and Hydra Manager
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Vevox launched in UK



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Polls created by users

Why does Dean use Vevox?

Dean’s role at the University involves him working in a simulation environment, called a ‘Hydra suite’. He works alongside a small team of technologists, and they help frontline teaching staff across the University to create simulated learning activities for students.

The ‘Hydra suite’ (pictured above) is an immersive learning environment which is primarily used to explore the decision making of students during simulated scenarios. From a control room, technologists and academics send information (video footage, images, audio clips and documents) into surrounding syndicate rooms (in line with a preconstructed storyboard) where students work in small groups to respond to problems/ issues in a simulation. Periodically, students enter plenary sessions where they will discuss their group-based decision making with subject matter experts.
Many simulations conducted at the University have a research focus. Dean and the team often use the survey feature of Vevox to provide participant information, obtain consent and collect individual opinions and actions during simulated scenarios. This feedback enables participants to see how their fellow classmates decided to respond in a specific scenario and provides subject matter experts with live data which can inform the nature of the discussions in plenary sessions.

In previous years, Dean had used an alternative polling tool which used clickers however he found that using clickers did slow down the class and interrupted the flow of a session. The technology used in the past was discontinued however and so Dean needed to search for a new, more intuitive polling solution. As a result, Vevox was discovered and the University of South Wales opted to acquire Vevox on an institution wide license. 

What does Dean like about Vevox?

Centrally approved

For Dean, the fact that Vevox is centrally acquired gives him an added confidence in the tool as it is approved by the University and clearly a good tool. Having that widespread endorsement of the tool is crucial.

Seamless PowerPoint integration

Dean really likes the ability to integrate Vevox into PowerPoint and finds it super useful. He has found it seamless when integrating Vevox into his PowerPoint slides and finds that being able to add a poll or a word cloud into his PowerPoint presentations adds another level of interactivity.
Ease of use

Dean is a big fan of how simple Vevox is to use and to run during sessions. He can simply show the Vevox QR code on the screen and students scan the code, and login straight away. This means that teaching sessions run smoothly and efficiently – Dean can barely remember a handful of times in the last 3 or 4 years where a student has had an issue logging into Vevox – highlighting Vevox’s reliability.

Anonymity allowing engagement to flourish

Dean and the team work with subject matter experts to deliver simulations which are of a sensitive nature. Some students may at times be reluctant to speak up during particular scenarios and this is where Dean will run a word cloud poll to help students anonymously express their thoughts and feelings.

For Dean, using Vevox in these situations allows engagement to flourish and the anonymity functionality is a huge feature for staff using Vevox across the University. 

Want to learn more about how you could use Vevox in your teaching to increase engagement? Have a read through our other Education Stories here

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