burst the old bubble with Akindi

CofC Officially Launches a New Scantron Alternative

akindi is the new scantron alternative. the existing scantron machines will be decommissioned may, 2020

Akindi will allow you to:

  • have multiple versions of a test
  • print bubble sheets directly from your department printer
  • grade bubble sheets from any networked scanner
  • grade bubble sheets using your iPhone
  • immediately get your test results and test reports
  • use it as a standalone application or integrate it with OAKS and the OAKS Grade book

Uses for bubble sheets in the classroom:

While bubble sheets are normally used to give quizzes or tests there are other ways to use it.
  • formative group assessment: have the student complete the answers together as a team then go to their table and scan their bubble sheet using your phone to tell them where there are misunderstandings.
  • reading quizzes: have student take a short quiz on the readings or homework at the beginning of the class then use your phone to quickly grade them to help guide your lectures.  Also serves double-duty to take attendance and uploads the grade into the OAKS Grade item.
  • post class test for understanding: give a quiz the last 5 minutes of the class to test for understanding.
  • rubrics: use them to score a rubric
  • evaluation: use them as a likert scale to do a mid-semester student evaluation of the class.
I know you may be thinking, “Can’t I do all this in OAKS?”  Well, yes you can but that requires all of your students to have and bring a laptop to class daily.  Also, when taking an in-class quiz or test in OAKS students can see each others’ screens.

Learn more about Akindi and tutorials on how to use it

Small teaching tip number 8: incorporate informal early feedback rather than rely solely on end-of-semester course evaluations
Small Teaching Tip, Teaching Advice

Small Teaching Tip #8: The Problem with Student Course Evaluations

We are rapidly approaching the end of the semester.  Soon, faculty will receive the results of their course and teaching evaluations. . . Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say some will receive evaluations of their teaching.  Many more will receive evaluations of their personality, wardrobe, voice, sense of humor, and physical attractiveness. . .

When I first began teaching, I agonized over my students’ evaluations.  I can still quote some of their comments five years later.  Some evaluations made me feel like I could soar while others crushed me.  I’ve since learned to take student course evaluations with a grain of salt.  There are simply too many flaws that make these evaluations an unreliable measurement, including that they are administered at the very end of the semester.

This is problematic for numerous reasons:  First, human memory is notoriously unreliable so student recollections may not be accurate.  Second, the end of the semester is when student stress peaks, which could result in venting negative feelings about their professors.  Finally, students’ opinions can only be used to change future courses rather than being used to improve the course during the semester.

Despite these weaknesses, student perceptions matter and it’s important to provide a platform for their voices to be heard.  What can we do as individual instructors to better assess student learning and satisfaction?  I believe the simplest and most effective solution is to administer student evaluations throughout the semester.  This is sometimes called “Informal Early Feedback.”

How to Incorporate Informal Early Feedback

Gathering students’ opinions multiple times during the semester solves many of the problems associated with end-of-term evaluations.  Also, responding to students’ comments by discussing them in class and making changes as appropriate can have a powerful and positive impact on the classroom culture.  Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your classes:

Exit Tickets:  These are quick formative assessments that allow instructors to check students’ understanding and identify areas of struggle.  They’re called exit tickets because they are typically administered at the end of each class period.  They can take any form and ask any question.  For example, some instructors simply ask students to write responses on scrap paper.  Others incorporate instructional technologies, such as Poll Everywhere, Socrative, Plickers, or Google Forms.  These are two of my favorite exit ticket prompts:

  • 3-2-1:  Ask students to list three concepts they learned, two ways they contributed to today’s class, and one question they still have about the material. This allows the instructor to compare the learning outcomes he/she set for that class with what students are actually retaining.  It also provides insight into how students perceive their participation as well as identifies concepts that students may need further help understanding.
  • Muddiest point: Ask students to identify the most challenging concept discussed in class or in the readings.  This provides a safe way for students to communicate what they’re struggling with so you can determine if additional class time is warranted or if individual interventions are needed.

Keep, Stop, Start:  Ask students to write on a Post-It note one thing they wish would remain the same, one thing they wish would stop, and one thing they wish would start happening.  For example, a student may comment that they like the flipped classroom structure, but they wish the weekly quizzes would be eliminated, and instead be replaced with journaling.  I ask students to not write their names on the Post-It and to stick them to the wall on their way out.  This helps to ensure anonymity and, therefore, more honest feedback.

Post-it notes with students' feedback about the class stuck to the wall outside the classroom door.

Describe Our Class:  Around midterm time, I ask students to compose a letter to a friend who is interested in taking the course.  I ask them to describe the class, including how each class period is typically structured, how I interact with students, what types of readings are assigned, what types of assignments are completed, what he/she is learning, and whether or not he/she is enjoying the experience.  This exercise gives me fantastic insight into how students’ perceptions compare to my own.

It’s easy to allow student course evaluations to distress us.  When so much of our identities is connected to teaching, it’s painful to be criticized or even attacked.  If you receive negative evaluations, seek out the counsel of your Department Chair or ask a colleague to observe your teaching.  And instead of relying only on this one snapshot to assess your teaching, consider implementing informal early feedback throughout the semester.  I’ve found that these exercises have actually improved the quality of my end-of-semester evaluations.

This post is part of a series which presents low risk, high reward teaching ideas, inspired by James Lang’s book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning.

Easier Paper Grading with Google Classroom
Assessment, Collaboration, Google, Google Apps

Easier Paper Grading with Google Classroom

Hurricane Matthew forced TLT to cancel our session on “Easier Paper Grading with Google Classroom.”  We had several people ask if we could reschedule, so to meet the needs of more faculty we decided to do a recorded version of the class.  Check out the playlist to view the entire session, or click on the three lines in the upper right corner to view specific videos in the series.


Create Polls and Quizzes with Riddle
Assessment, Innovative Instruction, Web 2.0

Create Fun Polls and Quizzes with Riddle

Riddle is a FREE web-based tool that allows users to create opinion polls, lists, quizzes, and personality tests.  If you’re familiar with Buzzfeed (your students will be), Riddle allows you to create similar quizzes.  It’s a fun and simple formative assessment tool to engage students, gather their opinions, and gauge their understanding.

Create Polls and Quizzes with Riddle

Cool features of Riddle:

  • Templates to help you create quickly
  • Embed Youtube videos, and trim them to only the parts you want
  • Mobile-friendly, so students can use their smartphones.
  • 30 languages available
  • Have option to reveal responses immediately or hide them until you’re ready
  • Share via hyperlink, social media, or embed into a website

Ideas for using Riddle:

  • Create a syllabus quiz or a “getting to know you” survey at the beginning of the semester.
  • Have students create lists, such as “Top 10 contributors to global warming,” to help them synthesize content or review for exams.
  • Incorporate a poll during class to gauge students’ comprehension of the material so you can adapt your lecture.
  • Ask students to create polls or quizzes to engage their classmates during presentations or discussion facilitation.
  • Use a quiz at the end of class as an “exit ticket”

Create Polls and Quizzes with Riddle

Example Riddles:

  • Tufts University created a great quiz called “What Major Are You?
  • This University of Texas professor created a top ten list of things students should know about her and her section of the university’s freshmen book club.
  • This quiz is about the “Space Race” between the US and the USSR during the Cold War.
Assessment, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Pedagogy, TLT, Web 2.0

Get Geddit to track understanding in your classroom

UPDATE: On 3/14/15, we received an email from Geddit notifying us that their servers will be shutdown on July 1, 2015. Contact your instructional technologist to review possible alternatives.


What is Geddit?

Geddit is an online tool that enables instructors to track understanding, instantly and privately, in their classrooms. Geddit is easy for students to use during class, and it can be viewed on any device with an internet browser. It takes just a moment for instructors to invite students to join a class and set up a lesson. There are many benefits to using Geddit in your courses, such as incorporating Just-in-Time Teaching, and we will touch on just a few of advantages and features in this overview.

Geddit Check-ins Overview
Geddit Check-ins Overview


How does it work?

During class, students can “check in” by self-assessing their understanding of the current topic being covered in class. Instructors can launch poll, multiple-choice, short answer (140 characters), long answer (unlimited characters), and math questions and view results in real-time.

Student Check-in View
Student Check-in View


Why should you try it?

The information tracked by Geddit makes it possible for instructors to adapt their teaching and the amount of time spent on certain topics to meet students’ needs. A quick glance at Geddit during class provides valuable information as challenging concepts are introduced and discussed.

Student reported understanding on the cell cycle. Green and blue colors indicate that most students indicate understanding.
Student reported understanding on the cell cycle. Green and blue colors indicate that most students responded with “I’ve got this!” or “I’m OK with this.”


The real benefit and strength of this web-based app is the variety of information both instructors and students can review after class. Instructors can view class understanding as a whole, along with responses from individual students. It is easy to view trends and fluctuations in class understanding by topic over the length of the class period. Students indicating confusion on certain topics are flagged allowing instructors to easily follow-up and manage struggling students. It is also possible to review responses to any questions asked through Geddit. Importantly, instructors can export all check-in information and question responses to a CSV file for sorting and grading purposes.

Geddit Check-ins Over time
Geddit Check-ins Over time


A further advantage of using Geddit is that students can revisit their own reports from a lesson and quickly see which topics they flagged as not being very clear. The report highlights topics students should study.


Students can easily find out which topics they need to review after class and before exams.
Students can easily find out which topics they need to review after class and before exams.


Where can you get Geddit?

Visit http://letsgeddit.com and sign up for a free account. Try Geddit on your most challenging classes.