Classroom Response/Audience Polling Systems


Classroom response or audience polling systems (e.g. "clickers") allow speakers to solicit anonymous or identified feedback from an audience in real time. They can be useful for:

  • In-class comprehension assessments
  • Exam review sessions
  • Soliciting anonymous feedback from an audience
  • "Taking the temperature of the room"

The earliest systems required advanced planning, since they required specialized hardware devices (aka "clickers"), which wirelessly transmitted responses to a central base station attached to the speaker's computer. 

"Modern" systems are web-based and allow the speaker and audience members to participate with their own laptops or mobile devices, and require much less lead time.

Getting Started

  • There are many web-based classroom response tools. Most have free options, although modest subscriptions may be required for large courses. Most support a range of question types (e.g., short answer, numerical reponse, multiple choice, etc.), can display results on screen, and exported them an Excel-compatible format. We recommend:

    • Microsoft Forms (free) can be used as a simple polling system with answers recorded directly in an online Excel file. BMC faculty, students and staff can create polls (log into Bryn Mawr webmail/Office 365, click the App Launcher (i.e., "waffle" icon) and choose Forms). Anyone can respond (they do NOT need an O365 account) and responses are encrypted in transit and at rest.
    • Poll Everywhere (some free options) provides a very diverse range of question types, with the option to submit answers offline via text.
    • Piazza (some free options) offers only multiple choice and short answer questions for real-time polling, but adds a web-based interface for class discussion. Bryn Mawr College has a Piazza site license that is integrated with Moodle
    • For online meetings: Zoom polling.
  • All can be accessed from any device with a web browser (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop). Over 90% of Bryn Mawr students report owning a smart phone and over 95% report owning a laptop

  • Tips for making sure all of your audience members can participate:
    • Ask participants in advance to bring a laptop, tablet or smart phone to the class/meeting if at all possible.
    • If the audience includes on-campus guests, they will need to set up visitor accounts in advance to access wifi or use devices with cellular data plans.
    • If you can't be certain everyone will have a device or you are hosting a very large (100+) meeting, ask participants pair up or get in small groups and submit responses as a pair/group. (Pairing people halves the number of responses and wireless and network bandwidth demands.)
    • Have an analogue back-up plan, such as raising hands or moving to a spot in the room to indicate answer choices or the 1-2-4 All technique from Liberating Structures β€‹β€‹β€‹to generate responses to open-ended questions.   


  • If you need help choosing or setting up a polling solution, click Request a Consultation or book an appointment with one of our educational technology specialists.
  • If you are running poll and you notice repeated or multiple people having wireless/Internet connectivity problems in a particular room, please report this to the Help Desk so we can investigate.   
  • Individuals having trouble connecting to the College's wireless network or to the Internet while on wireless network should contact the Help Desk (610-526-7440, or stop by 1st floor in Canaday Library. 
  • For help troubleshooting issues with the polling software itself, please consult the company's support resources. LITS staff do not necessarily have the resources, expertise or power to fix problems with third-party software.

What happened to the iClickers? LITS no longer maintains a loan pool of iClicker base stations and response units for classroom use. Faculty or departments who want to use iClickers will need to purchase their own base stations and arrange for students to rent or buy response units through the Campus Bookstore. Contact Jim Huang ( for more information.

Request a Consultation


Service ID: 267
Mon 9/26/16 1:34 PM
Tue 1/10/23 5:55 PM